Jeremy spins his ghostly tales for festival audience

Thursday 16 January 2014

WEB Jeremy-Dyson

League of Gentlemen writer and acclaimed author Jeremy Dyson (OL84) sent shivers down the spine when he appeared at Ilkley Literature Festival to read from his latest work The Haunted Book.

The former Leeds Grammar School pupil entertained his audience at Ilkley Playhouse with excerpts from the book alongside insights into how he came to pen the 10 supernatural tales.

The idea for the book came from a journalist, Aiden Fox, who had come across some modern ghost stories and wanted an author to create fictional accounts for a book. Jeremy, who had loved spooky stories as a boy, accepted the challenge.

He has lived in Ilkley for the last seven years and set some of the stories in and around the town.

He said: “The book comes from my childhood love of ghost stories and it’s been inspired by visiting supposedly real-life haunted places. Ilkley is a very evocative landscape and each story is built around a truth.”

Ghost stories were very much in vogue when Jeremy was growing up in Leeds in the 1970s and he was a big fan of the genre.

He recalled his own youthful experience of the paranormal in a Leeds library. His mother used to drop him off at the library in Commercial Street for a couple of hours on a Saturday so that she could go shopping.

He said: “There was a room called the Smoking Room and I had taken a book there one day when I was suddenly overcome by the sense of a malign presence. I fled! I found out later that it was a building with a reputation.”

Jeremy admitted though, that he had become a sceptic in the ensuing years.

“The book is about my personal journey of starting out as a complete sceptic to see what happens. The journey was not the one I expected. A lot of the places have a powerful effect on you.”

The supernatural will continue to play a big part in his life as Ghost Stories, a play he co-wrote with Andy Nyman three years ago, is returning to London’s West End in February. The ‘scary’ show previews from February 13 and runs until May 24 at the Arts Theatre in Leicester Square.

After leaving LGS Jeremy studied philosophy at Leeds University, and later completed an MA in screenwriting at the Northern School of Film and Television. He was a member of the comedy sketch team The League of Gentlemen along with fellow performers Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, all of whom he met while they were studying at Bretton Hall drama school. He has written several books and two collections of short stories.

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