Sunday 16 August 2020

Last Leaps

Last night was the fortieth Leap in the Dark, and it was an absolute belter. Laura Waddell curated an evening of Tramp Press authors - Doireann Ní Ghríofa (who read from her debut novel A Ghost in the Throat, published next week), Ian Maleney, Sara Baume, Jack Fennell and Joanna Walsh. We also heard Doireann read some of her poetry in Irish and English - this was spellbinding. 

Ten more and I pull the plug. By then over 150 blazing talents will have contributed to this haphazard cultural gathering and every minute has been an unalloyed joy. 

On a purely selfish note, organising these shindigs has kept me on an even keel over the past six months - without them as a distraction I'd be a wobbling boneless mess of anger, anxiety and frustration. As it is I'm just a wobbling boneless mess, which is my natural setting.

We've raised a few quid for The Trussell Trust thanks to the generosity of contributors and audience; we've promoted good writing from indie presses and we've sold a few books. We have offered a convivial meeting-place place for the exchange of ideas and the cultivation of friendships. It's been a good run. But all good things come to an end, including runs.   

So, for the final stretch here's what you can expect (although programmes may well change)

Leap 41 Friday August 21st 

Spring Journal canto XXIII by Jonathan Gibbs, read by Michael Hughes
Amy McCauley (as Malady Nelson) reads part III of 24/7 Brexitland
New writing and performance with M. John Harrison, Jen Hodgson, Tim Etchells, Melanie Pappenheim, Giles Perring & Vlatka Horvat

Leap 42 Saturday August 22nd 

Buzzcocks night curated by C. D. Rose - a celebration of the life and music of Pete Shelley with Emma Bolland, Sarah-Claire Conlon, Cathleen Davies, Sharon Duggal, Maeve Haughey, Richard Hirst, Tom Jenks, Jonathan Kemp and Lee Rourke.   

Leap 43 Friday August 28th 

Spring Journal concluded - the whole poem, including the final canto (XXIV) read by Michael Hughes, Jonathan Gibbs and a company consisting of Kevin Boniface, Season Butler, Marie-Elsa Bragg, Susanna Crossman, Emma Devlin, Rónán Hession, Amy McCauley, J O Morgan, Aea Varfis-van Warmelo and Eley Williams, with music especially composed and performed for this Leap by Helen Ottaway. This event will be filmed for posterity. Details can be found here.

Leap 44 Saturday August 29th 

Essex Night with J O Morgan (reciting a section of 'At Maldon') Sarah Perry, Lee Rourke, Paul Stanbridge and others.

Leap 45 Friday September 4th 

Jonathan Gibbs on Louis MacNeice with readings by Michael Hughes,
Julian Stannard reads from his forthcoming collection Heat Wave (Salt), a panel of indie publishers look at what the future holds for small presses, and we celebrate the writer David Rudkin, “a cussed, confrontational, highly original voice” with contributions from Ross McFarlane, Chiara Ambrosio, Kevin Davey and others.

Leap 46 Saturday September 5th 

An evening with Boilerhouse Press: prose and poetry curated by Philip Langeskov

Leap 47 Friday September 11th  

A last Letter from Dinan by Susanna Crossman, new poetry by Sasha Dugdale, Linda Mannheim's close reading of Wendy Erskine; Kevin Davey on his forthcoming novel Radio Joan.

Leap 48 Saturday September 12th
A Leap of Faith with Marie-Elsa Bragg and guests.

Leap 49 Friday September 18th
Auden - a celebration, with special guests, looking at Auden the poet, the hack, the film-maker, the looming cultural presence and (best of all) the best of all possible human beings, saintly and flawed.

Leap 50 Saturday September 19th 

The Pale Usher takes a bow

And that's it, Leapwise. But keep watching the skies . . .

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