Pride Month Reading: Make the Dark Night Shine with Alan Lessik

Project Number:



Alan Lessik


Thursday, 27 June 2024, 7 p.m.


Erlesenes & Büchergilde
Neubrunnenstr. 17
55116 Mainz


Admission is free. Please register via e-mail at post(at)



In cooperation with:

Erlesenes & Büchergilde Mainz


This event is kindly supported by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Inspired by the author’s family history, Make the Dark Night Shine (Rebel Satori Press 2023) is a love letter from a father to the daughter he never met.

In 1919, Kenzo Uchida and his same-sex 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 in Zen Buddhism. Yet no teachings prepare him for the revelations to come — about his 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 his daughter 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.

Celebrating Pride Month, U.S. author Alan Lessik will present his novel and discuss its central topics with the audience.


Alan Lessik

is a member of the Berlin Queer Writers Circle, Zen practitioner, amateur figure skater, and LGBTQ+ activist. His debut novel The Troubleseeker was short-listed for the Publishing Triangle’s 2017 Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBTQ Fiction. His non-fiction works and essays have been published by Lambda Literary (The Importance of Novels in Preserving Queer History), the Bay Area Reporter (Sex in the Time of Covid-19), Advocate (Marching to Pretoria), and San Francisco Bay Guardian. Recently, he was a guest on Andrew. G. Marshall’s Podcast, The Meaningful Life,  and previously had radio essays on KQED Radio and performed as a storyteller at the Moth. For three years, he moderated or participated in panels on queer fiction at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conferences and served on the Board of the AWP LGBTQ+ Writers Caucus. He leads Queer Mediation at the Village in Berlin and has written on Zen topics at his blog: