We’ve all got it

…so we thought we’d get in touch with authors around the world in order to share thoughts, some hope or despair, some insight or intrigue – anything but direct promotion of a book, essentially.




The recording of our first Desperate Literature Prize celebration, with readings from shortlisters Lorenzo Mandelli, Erica Van Horn, Suey Kweon, Mira Mattar, and winner Angela Finn.



The recording of our event with Okechukwu Nzelu and Paul Mendez, discussing their books The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney & Rainbow Milk, Black queer masculinities, kinship, the writing process, religion, (anti-)racism, exhaustion, JKR, and pretty much everything in between.

Our events normally last one hour but this was just so amazing that it sort of ran and that was better than ok, it was brilliant.



Clarissa Watson from the Unamuno Author Series speaks with poet, novelist and writing professor Joseph Fasano, looking at how he’s using poetry to overcome cabin fever.

Joseph Fasano is the author of four books of poetry–Fugue for Other Hands, Inheritance, Vincent, and The Crossing–and the novel The Dark Heart of Every Wild Thing, currently available for pre-order from Platypus Press. He serves on the Editorial Board of Alice James Books, and he teaches at Columbia University and Manhattanville College.

See more from Joseph here.

Clarissa Watson lives and works in Madrid, Spain. She is the Director of Communications for the IE School of Human Sciences & Technology, Editor-in-Chief of Rewire, a media arts and technology digital magazine and co-founder of the Unamuno Author Series.



Poet and essayist Joan Fleming has spent too much of the lockdown in Madrid on a roof terrace, and now believes herself to be a world-renowned art critic with a Byzantine vocabulary. Join us on the terrace for a taste of critical confusion.

Joan Fleming is the author of two collections of poetry, The Same as Yes and Failed Love Poems, both from Victoria University Press, and the pamphlets Two Dreams in Which Things Are Taken (Duets) and Some People’s Favourites (Desperate Literature). Recent nonfiction has been published in Meanjin, Westerley, and The Pantograph Punch. She holds a PhD in ethnopoetics from Monash University, and has recently completed a dystopian verse novel exploring ritual and the limits of language in the ruins of ecological collapse.



Dancer, writer and teacher Lucas Condró moves in confinement.

Dancing is, of course, a crucial part of the body’s potential not only for movement but also for understanding the spaces in which we live, and here Lucas turns his attention to what that means to us all now, confined as we are…

Lucas Condró (Buenos Aires, 1977), es bailarín, coreógrafo y docente. Desde hace 10 años desarrolla su investigación sobre el movimiento dentro del campo de la danza contemporánea.

To join his classes message through Twitter or Instagram.

A little story

One day our Terry was walking through the MACBA (weren’t those the days?) with a friend of his, talking about art and movement and what not, when they stumbled upon Lucas Condró’s book Asymmetrical Motion in the museum bookshop. The work fell into their conversation like a keystone.

Then, two months later and by an entirely haphazard email (mis)communication, Terry got news of a dance class in Madrid, ten minutes from his door, called ‘Asymmetrical Motion’. He went, he danced, he fell in love with it all and, so, he asked its teacher, Lucas Condro to make a video for Cabin Fever.

Here it is.

Texto y edición: Pablo Messiez
Voz: Carlota Gaviño
Movimiento: Lucas Condró



Artist and translator Layla Benitez-James sits us down for half an hour with Jason Statham, Marcel Proust and a recipe for madeleines!

Her poems and translations have appeared in The London Magazine, The Acentos Review, Guernica, Waxwing, Revista Kokoro, La Galla Ciencia, and elsewhere. Her audio essays about translation can be found at Asymptote Journal Podcast.



Freya Daly Sadgrove shares excerpts from a private diary, confessionals of an (isolated) writer chatting to her future and possibly past selves. Even though these were initially recorded as private entries, too many were too good not to share. As Freya put it: “…and now I’m like that guy who left his diary at his girlfriend’s house and is now demanding that she read it. You’re my girlfriend.”

Freya Daly Sadgrove is a writer, performer and theatre-maker from Pōneke, New Zealand. She has a Master of Arts from the International Institute of Modern Letters, and her work has appeared in various publications in Aotearoa, Australia and the US. Her first book, Head Girl, was published in February 2020.



Colin Walsh talks us through two of his recent reads under lockdown, the second of which is available at DL. YEY.

Colin Walsh is an award-winning Irish writer living in Belgium. His short stories have been published in numerous anthologies, the Irish Times, and broadcast on RTE Radio 1 and BBC Radio 4. His awards include the RTE Francis MacManus Short Story Award, the Doolin Flash Fiction Prize and the Hennessy Emerging Fiction award. In 2019 he was named the Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year. His first non-fiction will be published later in 2020. He is currently completing his first novel.



Poet James Womack gives us a slice of Thomas Dekker’s The Wonderfull Yeare, an account of 1603’s bubonic plague and the attendant political and economic insecurity. Plus ça change…

James Womack studied Russian, English and translation at university. After ten years in Madrid, he has recently returned to the UK, where he teaches Spanish and translation at Cambridge University. His debut collection of poems, Misprint, was published by Carcanet in 2012, and On Trust: A Book of Lies came out in December 2017. A third collection, Homunculus, is due out in August 2020.



Writer and critic Jennifer Hodgson delves into the archives of the ‘lost’ short stories and fragments by the radical 1960s writer, Ann Quin.

Editor of The Unmapped Country, published in 2018, Jennifer has had work in The Guardian, The New Statesman, The White Review (among others) and is currently working on a biography of Ann Quin. You can read her an interview with Jennifer here.



Orwell Prize-nominated Scottish writer Peter Ross, author of essay collections Daunderlust and The Passion Of Harry Bingo, recounts his daily walk in the Glasgow spring, and god did we need to hear this over in Spain.

Ross’s forthcoming work, all about graveyards, is titled A Tomb With A View and is set for release in September with Headline.


Cabin Fever is edited by Desperate Literature co-founder Terry Craven and writer Stephen Phelan. Audio is edited by Verity de Cala, co-producer of our Pop-Up Podcast, currently in session.
Verity de Cala is a student of English Literature and Ancient History, a part time writer, singer and podcast enthusiast who co-founded TGOS podcast series.
Terry Craven is a writer, painter and co-founder of Desperate Literature.
Stephen Phelan is an Irish writer living in Madrid, and a loyal customer of Desperate Literature. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Guardian and The Dublin Review.