About this Event
Inspired by the family story of the parents of the author’s Aunt Nina Friedberg Uchida, who formerly lived in Patchogue, Make the Dark Night Shine is a love letter from a father to the daughter he never met.
In 1920, Kenzo Uchida and his partner Mitsu arrive in Constantinople to open the new Japanese Consulate. Kenzo meets Elisa, a feisty Ukrainian cigarette girl in a nightclub and she becomes his consort to hide his gay relationship while in Europe. The unlikely trio begin an adventure in the decadence of post-war Paris until disaster strikes. Returning to the growing militarism in Japan, Kenzo finds an unexpected path inZen Buddhism. Yet no teachings prepare him for the revelations to come — abouthis life, his loves, and the events around him.
On the eve of WWII, he discovers that he has a daughter living with Elisa in New York. He leaves the monastery on a perilous mission to promote peace with a secret plan to reunite with hisdaughter Nina.
Cinematic in scope, this novel lyrically captures the world on the brink of war. As Kenzo builds — and fights for — his chosen family, larger forces threaten all. Sweeping, meditative, and achingly beautiful, Make the Dark Night Shine explores the many worlds a life can inhabit, and the hidden worlds we find in ourselves.
Based in Berlin, Alan Lessik is a novelist and writer, Zen practitioner, amateur figure skater, and Queer activist. He is a member of the Berlin Queer Writers Circle.
His second novel, Make the Dark Night Shine, will be published by Rebel Satori Press in October 2023.
His debut novel, The Troubleseeker (Chelsea Station Editions), was short-listed for the Publishing Triangle’s 2017 Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBTQ Fiction. Alan’s non-fiction works and essays have been published by Lambda Literary, the Bay Area Reporter, KQED Perspectives, the Advocate, San Francisco Bay Guardian, and Frontiers Newsmagazine. He has participated on panels at the 2018, 2019 and 2020 Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conferences, as well as at Litquake in 2017. He was chosen to tell his story on the theme of Endings at The Moth, Berkeley Story Slam and his KQED Radio Perspective, “Judge Not His Death” was one of the most commented on in 2014. He was a member of the Board of the LGBTQ Caucus of AWP from 2017-2021.
While he is working on his next novel in Berlin, he is available as a writer and copy-editor.
Event Venue & Nearby Stays
Fabulosa Books, 489 Castro Street, San Francisco, United States