Friday 17 July 2020

A Leap in the Dark 31

A Leap in the Dark 31   8pm  Friday 17th July 2020

New writing: Fragments of My FatherSeen From Here and A Liar’s Dictionary 

Joining our Friday regulars Jonathan GibbsMichael Hughes and Yoga Dave are author Sam Mills in conversation with Susanna CrossmanVlatka Horvat and Tim Etchells reading their own work as featured in the anthology Seen From Here; a first Letter from Paris by Gerry Feehily, and Eley Williams on her new novel A Liar’s Dictionary. Plus the second round of Ping Henningham’s Tyrannosaurus rex, the online game that’s taking the world by storm!

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

Spring Journal canto XVIII by Jonathan Gibbs, read by Michael Hughes

3 Yoga with David ’Guru Dave’ Holzer

4 Sam Mills, author of The Fragments of my Father in conversation with 
  Susanna Crossman

Seen From Here: Vlatka Horvat and Tim Etchells read from this 

Seen from Here: Writing in the Lockdown is a collection of stories, flash fiction, poems, autofiction and conceptual writing gathered during the April and May Covid-19 lockdown, bringing together UK-based writers, poets, performance makers and artists.

Published in a PDF format by Unstable Object, an imprint launched by Tim and Vlatka, the book is available to buy on a pay-what-you-choose basis, with 100% of proceeds to be donated to the Trussell Trust. Here’s the link:



6 A Letter from Paris by Gerry Feehily

7 Ping Henningham’s Tyranosaurus rex (2nd round)

8 Eley Williams on her new novel A Liar’s Dictionary

9 The Pale Usher signs off 

The Company

Susanna Crossman is an award-winning Anglo-French fiction writer and essayist. She has recent/upcoming work in Trauma, Dodo Ink (2020), Neue Rundschau, (2019) S. Fischer (translated into German), We’ll Never Have Paris, Repeater Books (2019), The Creative Review3:AM JournalThe Lonely CrowdBerfrois and more… Co-author of the French book, L'Hôpital Le Dessous des Cartes (LEH 2015), she regularly collaborates on international hybrid arts projects. Her debut novel Dark Island will be published in 2021. For more: @crossmansusanna 

Tim Etchells is an artist, writer and performance maker, author of Endland (published by And Other Stories) and a founder member and artistic director of the performance ensemble Forced Entertainment.

Gerry Feehily is a London-born, Ireland-raised author and journalist based in Paris. An arts critic on national French radio station France Culture, he is also the English site editor at and looks after the Ireland desk at Paris weekly Courrier International. He frequently appears on French television and radio to talk of Irish and European issues. His first novel, Fever, was published in 2007.

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 Booksand 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.

Ping Henningham is an artist, performer and co-founder of Henningham Family Press.

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.

Vlatka Horvat is an artist working across a range of forms, including sculpture, installation, drawing, performance, photography and writing. She teaches in the Fine Art department at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. 

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

Sam Mills studied English Language and Literature at Oxford University, then worked as a journalist and publicist before giving it all up to write full time.

She is the author of two young adult novels, A Nicer Way to Die and The Boys Who Saved the World. Her adult fiction debut was The Quiddity of Will Self (2012). The Fragments of My Father is published this week by Faber and Faber.

Eley Williams is a poet and author of the prize-winning short story collection Attrib. (Influx Press). Her forthcoming novel A Liar’s Dictionary is published this week by William Heinemann. She lectures at Royal Holloway, University of London.

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

On tomorrow night's Leap we’ll have (surely a world first) live conceptual ceramics with the artist Laura Hopkins, three occasional poems by The Pale Usher, and Roland Bates on the German novelist Uwe Johnsson’s links to a Kentish seaside town. We welcome back the Settee Salon with Amy McCauley, Rónán Hession and (subject to her availability) Susanna Crossman, who will together be looking at empathy in literature. Followed by a new and no doubt short-lived feature we call ”What’s That On Your Walls?”, which doesn’t need much by way of explanation.

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