A Leap in the Dark 23 8pm Friday 19th June 2020
New fiction from Montenegro
The launch of Catherine the Great and the Small with author Olja Knežević in conversation with her publisher Susan Curtis of Istros Books; the latest canto of Spring Journal by Jonathan Gibbs, read by Michael Hughes; groovy yoga with David ‘Guru Dave’ Holzer; powerful new prose from Paulette Jonguitud and 19th century poetry by Rimbaud and Verlaine read in French and English by Aea Varfis-van Warmelo.
There's no charge for taking part so please make a donation, no matter how large, to The Trussell Trust.
1 The Pale Usher welcomes you
2 Spring Journal canto XIV by Jonathan Gibbs read by Michael Hughes
3 David ‘Guru Dave’ Holzer with more stretchy breathy ommy fol-de-rol
4 Catherine the Great and the Small. Susan Curtis of Istros Books in
conversation with Montenegrin author Olja Knežević
“Communism was the crown of all philosophies. And I wanted
to be like someone called Patti Smith and live in the
Chelsea Hotel in New York.”
5 Paulette Jonguitud’s Letter from Mexico City (part II)
6 Oscar Mardell reads from his debut collection
7 Aea Varfis-van Warmelo reads les poètes maudits
8 The Pale Usher signs off
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.
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.
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.
Paulette Jonguitud lives in Mexico City. She is the author of Mildew (CB editions) and Algunas margaritas y sus fantasmas. https://paulettejonguitud.com
Olja Knežević was born in Montenegro, graduated from high school in California, has a BA in English Language from Belgrade University and an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck College, London. She currently resides in Zagreb, Croatia.
Her books include Milena & Other Social Reforms (2011); London & Stories of the South (2013); Mrs Black (2015) and Catherine, The Great and the Small, (recipient of 2019 VBZ Literary Award for the best novel written in the Croatian, Montenegrin, Serbian or Bosnian language). The English version, translated by Paula Gordon and Ellen Elias Bursać, is published this month by Istros Books.
Oscar Mardell is a teacher and writer - originally from South Wales, but currently living in Auckland, New Zealand. He is a frequent contributor to 3:AM Magazine, and poet of the month at The Inquisitive Eater. He is the author of Rex Tremendae - a ghost story set in the rubble of the Blitz, and Housing Haunted Housing - a collection of poems about Brutalist architecture published June 2020 by the Manchester indie press deathsofworkerswhilstbuildingskscrapers.
Aea Varfis-van Warmelo is a trilingual actor and writer.
The Pale Usher is David Collard, who organises these gatherings.
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
The next Leap in the Dark will be tomorrow (Saturday 20th June and will celebrate the summer solstice with ‘A Night in the Light’
- James Wheeler on The Perito Prize with a reading from last year’s winner
- Alex Pheby introduces his forthcoming novel Mordew
- The Settee Salon with Neil Griffiths, Marie-Elsa Bragg and Leigh Wilson
- Letter from Auckland by Oscar Mardell
- Toby Litt reads ‘The Retreat’, which this week won the 2020 Short
Fiction/University of Essex Prize.
The Pale Usher