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Radio 2 Book Club - Leonard and Hungry Paul

The next book to be featured on the Jo Whiley Radio 2 Book Club will be Leonard and Hungry Paul, the brilliant debut novel by Rónán Hession. It is released on 20 March and Ronan will be on the show on Monday 18 March.

We have the chance for you to win 10 copies of this fantastic novel for your reading group! Please enter by Friday 22 March.

We have an exclusive extract for you to read, and a discussion guide for your reading group.

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Leonard and Hungry Paul

Leonard and Hungry Paul are two friends who see the world differently. They use humour, board games and silence to steer their way through the maelstrom that is the 21st century.

‘The figure in Munch’s painting isn’t actually screaming!’ Hungry Paul said. ‘Really, are you sure?’ Replied Leonard. ‘Absolutely. That’s the whole thing. The figure is actually closing his ears to block out a scream. Isn’t that amazing? A painting can be so misunderstood and still become so famous.’

Leonard and Hungry Paul is the story of two quiet friends trying to find their place in the world. It is about those uncelebrated people who have the ability to change the world, not by effort or force, but through their appreciation of all that is special and overlooked in life.

Selection panel review

The book was selected with the help of a panel of library staff from across the UK. Our readers loved Leonard and Hungry Paul – here are some of their comments:

“When I first picked up this book I found it to be very different. However, I soon became engrossed in the characters of Leonard and Hungry Paul, and couldn’t put it down. Such a lovely sweet, funny book with an important message to deliver.”

“Funniest book I’ve read in a long time. Full of wry wit, heart-breaking poignancy and laugh-out-loud moments. The characters are finely drawn and Hession manages to pick out the small details of an ordinary life and make them special. Anyone who likes Adrian Mole, Bridget Jones or a bit of Alan Bennett will love this.”

About the author

Rónán Hession is a writer based in Dublin. His short stories have been published in The Honest Ulsterman and The Bohemyth; his flash fiction has been published in Flash Fiction Magazine (US) and Brilliant Flash Fiction.

As Mumblin’ Deaf Ro, he has released three albums of storytelling songs. His third album Dictionary Crimes was chosen as Irish Independent album of the year and was nominated for the Choice Music Prize for Irish album of the year.

Leonard and Hungry Paul is his debut novel, published by Bluemoose Books.

A word from Rónán

“I am truly grateful that Leonard and Hungry Paul has been selected for the BBC Radio 2 Book Club: I feel particularly honoured that the book has connected with librarians and the book lovers at The Reading Agency; after all, this is a story about, and a tribute to, the specialness of quiet, gentle people.

I have had a library card all my life. The idea that my wallet contains a small rectangle of plastic that guarantees me a lifetime’s supply of free books from anywhere in the world is almost gameshow-like in its ostentation. And yet, these simple cards are available as a signal of encouragement to anyone who needs it; a statement – an understatement perhaps – that that there will always be a place reserved in the world for the imagination.”

Get involved

Tune in to Jo Whiley’s show on Monday 18 March to hear a live interview with Rónán.

Want to have your reading group featured on a future Book Club episode? Get in touch to find out more.

Have you read Leonard and Hungry Paul? You can share your thoughts with us on Twitter using #LeonardandHungryPaul, and you can also follow Rónán.

You can also see what other readers thought or add the book to your group’s reading list.

Planning to buy Leonard and Hungry Paul for your group? Buy books from Hive and support The Reading Agency and local bookshops at no extra cost to you.

Want to make sure you get the latest news? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

You can join the Radio 2 Book Club Facebook group, and also follow Jo Whiley on Twitter.


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