Friday 1 May 2020

A Leap in the Dark Friday 1st May

Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!

A Leap in the Dark 9      8pm Friday 1st May

In the first of this week’s two Leaps in the Dark, we’ll enjoy a conversation with Irish author Rónán Hession, whose debut comic novel Leonard and Hungry Paul has met with huge critical and popular acclaim. He’ll be joined by his publisher Kevin Duffy of Bluemoose Books. 

We’ll have the latest canto of Spring Journal by Jonathan Gibbs read by Michael Hughes; a second Letter from Dinan by Susan Crossman (who will also open the programme with her daughter Liliane performing a classic French chanson); a bespoke yoga class live from Hungary with David Holzer; a 100-word prose piece by Declan O’Driscoll and (if there's time) another extract from All Along the Watchtower by The Pale Usher's alter ego David Collard.

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

The Programme

1 The Pale Usher welcomes you

2 Rónán Hession joins us to discuss his debut novel Leonard and Hungry 
  Paul with Bluemoose Books publisher Kevin Duffy

  “Leonard and Hungry Paul is a story about gentle people. It's about 
   people trying to work out how to engage with the world without getting 
   swallowed up by it […] It's a book about people who often get 
   overlooked, and also about human traits that are everywhere but 
   perhaps under-appreciated. Kindness seems invisible because it's so 
   often expressed in private, but those who have received it understand 
   its value.” - Rónán Hession

3 Spring Journal Canto VII by Jonathan Gibbs, read by Michael Hughes

4 Letter from Dinan by Susan Crossman


5 Mayday quiz

6 David Holzer’s Yoga Class (please see disclaimer below)

7 100 words of solitude by Declan O’Driscoll  

8 All Along the Watchtower - read by David Collard

9 The Pale Usher signs off

Susanna Crossman is an Anglo-French writer. She writes fiction and non-fiction, and is winner of the LoveReading Short Story Award(2019). Nominated for Best of The Net (2018) for her non-fiction, she has recent/upcoming work in We’ll Never Have Paris (Repeater Books, 2019), The Lonely Crowd (2019), Felt, ZenoPress (2018), 3:AM Magazine, The Creative Review, Burning House Press, Dodo Ink (2020) and elsewhere. 

Kevin Duffy runs Bluemoose Books is an independent publisher based in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Kevin and Hetha Duffy re-mortgaged their house to start Bluemoose in 2006 and are today among the leading indie publishers in Britain.

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.

Rónán Hession is a writer musician and civil servant from Dublin. His debut novel Leonard and Hungry Paul (published by Bluemoose Books) has been nominated for the Irish Book Awards, British Book Awards, the BAMB awards, and long listed for the Republic of Consciousness prize. His third album Dictionary Crimes was nominated for the Choice Music Prize for Irish Album of the Year. He is currently completing work on his second novel Panenka, which will be published by Bluemoose in 2021.A third novel, Ghost Mountain, will appear in 2023.

David Holzer is a dedicated yogi, author, blogger and journalist. He founded YogaWriters and has taught workshops in yoga for writers in Mallorca, where he lives. Hundreds of people have taken his Yoga for Writers course on the DailyOm platform. His writing appears regularly in Om yoga and lifestyle magazine. 

David will be explaining why yoga is so beneficial for writers and taking us through a simple yoga sequence that can be done by anyone of any age in the comfort of a favourite chair.


Please take care when practicing yoga. Should a pose feel that it could be harmful to you, do not attempt it or come gently out of the pose.

Breathing is a key part of yoga. Please breathe comfortably and naturally through your nose at all times. If your breath becomes forced, slow down the speed of your practice.

If you feel any kind of sharp, sudden pain anywhere in your body stop practicing right away. Be especially aware of your joints, particularly your knees.

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. 

Declan O'Driscoll regularly reviews fiction (mostly in translation) for The Irish Times and The Dublin Review of Books and recently made his debut in the TLS. In the past, he wrote about jazz and improvised music for a number of publications, most of which no longer exist (but that's not his fault).

The Pale Usher is David Collard, who 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 is very special: a one-off gathering organised by the poet, novelist and publisher Charles Boyle who, as The Absent Therapist, will introduce a spectacular roster of poets and novelists, all of whom have been published by CB editions.

Joining Charles will be: Alba Arikha, Nina Bogin, Beverley Bie Brahic, Will Eaves, Phil Hancock, Paulette Jonguitud, Todd McEwen, Dan O’Brien, Julian Stannard and Natalia Zagorska-Thomas.

This sensational line-up features live contributions from Los Angeles, Mexico City, France and all parts of the UK.

Thank you, and stay well!

The Pale Usher 

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