An evening celebrating a new collection of stories by David Constantine, the author of the short story behind the Oscar-nominated film 45 YEARS, who has been hailed as one of the greatest writers of the short story form. David has previously been awarded the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize and the BBC National Short Story Award.
The stories in David Constantine’s fifth collection all orbit around a moment of personal crisis, a pressure point where the weight of the past or the present becomes unbearable. These crises may be brought on by a bereavement, a personal failure or trauma, or a crisis of identity. But in all cases, what’s at stake is a life worth living, a space that tolerates us as humans, regardless of how intolerant we’ve been towards it of late: that is to say, a hospitable, rather than a hostile environment. Many of the protagonists in these stories are children: loved, abused, in danger, they represent the fragile, threatened hope for a better future. In other stories, children appear as an encouragement in an adult world that appears to be drifting inexorably towards ignorance and isolation. Whether set in Paris in the early 19th Century, on the Pennine moors, these stories remind us that even in the darkest of times new germs of hope are quietly taking root.
Hosted by writer and Leeds-based arts organiser SJ Bradley