Friday 24 April 2020

A Leap in the Dark 7 - tonight!

A Leap in the Dark tonight at 8pm (BST) features a Letter from Belfast from, and a conversation with, Sweet Home author Wendy Erskine; Michael Hughes reading the latest canto of Jonathan Gibbs’s Spring Journal; publisher Susan Curtis and translator Celia Hawkesworth recalling their friend Daša Drndić and her great novel Doppelgänger; a Letter from Huddersfield by Kevin Boniface and answers to The Pale Usher’s Unusual Literary Quiz with Nemo's Almanac editor Ian Patterson.

There's no charge for taking part but please make a donation, no matter how large, to The Trussell Trust.

The Programme

1 The Pale Usher welcomes you

2 Author Wendy Erskine joins us from Belfast

3 Michael Hughes reads Canto VI of Spring Journal by Jonathan Gibbs

4 Publisher Susan Curtis and translator Celia Hawkesworth on Doppelgänger by Daša Drndić


5 Letter from Huddersfield by Kevin Boniface

The Pale Usher writes: Round About Town is hard too classify - imagine a commonplace book written by the offspring of W G Sebald and Cold War Steve, a stream of deadpan observations made on the early morning streets of Huddersfield over the best part of a decade. All human life is here, and more, and it's been my  beside reading for over a year (DC) Read extracts and buy it here

Kevin's blog is here

100 words of solitude: lockdown poetry from Celia and Susan, and an invitation

The Pale Usher’s Unusual Literary Quiz - answers, scores and prizes with Ian Patterson 

The Company

Kevin Boniface is an artist, writer and postman based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. Over the years his work has taken the form of zines, exhibitions, artists’ books, short films and live performances. He is the author of Round About Town, published by Uniformbooks.

Susan Curtis is the Founding Director of Istros Books, an independent publisher of contemporary literature from South East Europe, based in Bloomsbury, London. Istros Books was set up in 2011 to showcase the very best fiction and non-fiction from the Balkan region to a new audience of English speakers. Its authors include European prize winners, polemic journalists-turned-crime writers and social philosophers-turned-poets. Susan is also a sometime writer and translator from BCMS.

Wendy Erskine works as a secondary school teacher in Belfast. Her debut short story collection, Sweet Home, was published in 2018 by Stinging Fly and in 2019 by Picador. Her work has been published in The Stinging Fly, Stinging Fly Stories and Female Lines: New Writing by Women from Northern Ireland. She also features in Being Various: New Irish Short Stories (Faber and Faber), Winter Papers and on BBC Radio 4

Jonathan Gibbs is a writer and critic. His first novel, Randall, was published in 2014 by Galley Beggar, and his second, The Large Door, by Boiler House Press last year. He has written on books for various places including the TLS, Brixton Review of Books and The Guardian. He curates the online short story project A Personal Anthology, in which writers, critics and others are invited to 'dream-edit' an anthology of their favourite short fiction. Spring Journal is a response to the current coronavirus pandemic taking its cue very directly from Louis MacNeice's Autumn Journal.

Celia Hawkesworth worked for many years as Senior Lecturer in Serbian and Croatian at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College, London. She has published numerous articles and several books on Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian literature, including the studies Ivo Andric: Bridge between East and West (Athlone Press, 1984); Voices in the Shadows: Women and Verbal Art in Serbia and Bosnia (CEU Press, 2000); and Zagreb: A Cultural History (Oxford University Press, 2007). Her translation of Belladonna by Daša Drndić was the 2018 winner of the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation and in 2019 she was awarded the Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize for Literary Translation for her translation of Omer Pasha Latas by the Nobel Laureate Ivo Andrić (published by New York Review Books). 

Michael Hughes is the author of two acclaimed novels: Countenance Divine (2016) and Country (2018) both published by John Murray, the latter winning the 2018 Hellenic Prize. Under his stage name Michael Colgan he recently appeared in the acclaimed HBO television drama Chernobyl.

Dr Ian Patterson is a writer and poet, retired academic, translator, former second-hand bookseller, and the editor of Nemo's Almanac. He translated Proust's Finding Time Again (Le temps retrouvé) for Penguin. Guernica and Total War was published by Profile in 2007. His most recent book of poetry is Bound to Be (Equipage, 2017). Marsh Air is forthcoming. His elegy for Jenny Diski, 'The Plenty of Nothing', won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem, 2017. At the moment he's writing a book about books.

The Pale Usher (David Collard) organises these gigs.

The pale Usher—threadbare in coat, heart, body, and brain; I see him now. He was ever dusting his old lexicons and grammars, with a queer handkerchief, mockingly embellished with all the gay flags of all the known nations of the world. He loved to dust his old grammars; it somehow mildly reminded him of his mortality.
  Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Tomorrow’s Leap in the Dark features:

- A performance by Anglo-Welsh poet Rhys Trimble 

- A new piece written and performed by Amy McCauley

- Flash Fiction: Pharricide by Vincent de Swarte, with translator Nicholas Royle 

- Letter from Auckland by our New Zealand correspondent Oscar Mardell 

All Along the Watchtower (extract) by The Pale Usher

- another mind-bending literary quiz, this time set by a Distinguished British Novelist Who Wishes to Remain Anonymous

Stay well!

The Pale Usher 

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