Meet the rising stars of 2017's Young Adult Literature Weekender

The final weekend of the London Literature Festival is taken over by the Young Adult Literature Weekender. It features the most exciting YA novelists, poets, bloggers, illustrators and spoken word artists, with chances to hear what they have to say on issues young people deal with, from sexuality and gender identity, to the representation of minorities in modern culture.

Along with starts of YA literature, our weekender gives you the chance to hear from loads of emerging writers working across a number of genres – find out about just a few of these writers here.

Rachel Long, appearing at the Young Producers Showcase

Rachel is a poet and teacher whose work has been published in anthologies and magazines including Magma, The London Magazine and The Honest Ulsterman. In 2015 she was awarded a Jerwood/Arvon mentorship. At Southbank Centre she has run two sell-out series of workshops for women of colour, under the title Telling her Story, and she is the founder of Octavia, a poetry collective for women of colour hosted here. She has also appeared at Oxford University, the Serpentine Galleries and on the BBC World Service.

Rachel led workshops for young poets and the results of their time together can be heard at the Young Producers Showcase, as part of the Young Adult Literature Weekender.

find out more

Alwyn Hamilton, appearing at World on the Brink

Alwyn’s second novel, Traitor to the Throne, came out in February this year. It follows Amani, a young woman and rebel fighter from the desert who is betrayed and brutally kidnapped. She must then survive life in a sultan’s palace that is rife with intrigue and danger.

This is part two of Alwyn’s trilogy, and it takes place a year after the end of the first instalment, Rebel of the Sands.

Alwyn was born in Toronto and from the age of three grew up with her family in the small French town of Beaune. She studied History of Art at King’s College, Cambridge and lives in London. Alwyn appears at World on the Brink, discussing the parallels between revolutions in fiction and in reality, along with Samantha Shannon and Sif Sigmarsdóttir.

find out more

Mary Bello, appearing at A Change is Gonna Come

A Change is Gonna Come is a new anthology of young adult writing, featuring contributions by established and up-and-coming Black and minority ethnic writers in the UK.

One of those up-and-comers is Mary Bello. Her story is called ‘Dear Asha’, about a young woman who has just lost her mother and who sets out on a journey to find out who her family really is.

 

#ChangeBook - Introducing Mary Bello

Mary is a published journalist and writer of poetry, prose poetry as well as short stories. She appears with Aisha Bushby, Yasmin Rahman and Phoebe Roy at a Young Adult Literature Weekender event celebrating A Change Is Gonna Come’s publication, where the authors read from their work and discuss their future hopes.

find out more

Lydia Ruffles, appearing at What is Truth?

Lydia’s first novel, The Taste of Blue Light, was published last month. It tells the story of a young woman called Lux, who wakes up in hospital with no idea how she got there. What follows is a soul-searching story about mental illness, trauma, love and art, as Lux desperately tries to uncover the truth about what happened that summer and piece together her fractured mind.

Lydia spent 10 years working in the corporate world and travelling, before signing up to the Faber Academy to focus on writing. She appears at Southbank Centre’s Young Adult Literature Weekender in the session What is Truth, along with Irfan Masters and Patrice Lawrence.

find out more

The Young Adult Literature Weekender takes place on Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 October and entry is by day or weekend pass.

#YALW #LondonLitFest

10 children's book recommendations from Room for Children

Looking for new reading suggestions for your children? You’re in luck. In association with Nordic Matters, here ten traditional and much-loved children’s books from each of the countries celebrated in our year-long dedication to Nordic culture. Each of these books, recommended by the Nordic embasies in London, can be enjoyed in our Room for Children - a comfy space inspired by Stockholm’s Rum för Barn in Kulturhuset Stadsteatern, in which children can read or listen to stories.

Room for Children - recommended reading part one

Karius and Bactus, by Thorbjørn Egner

Norway

Karius and Bactus is a 1949 children’s book by the celebrated Norwegian author and illustrator Thorbjørn Egner. Karius and Bactus are ‘tooth trolls’ who live in the teeth cavities of a boy named Jens. The two live a happy life, as Jens only eats white bread with syrup and doesn’t brush his teeth. However, one day a dentist treating Jens teeth, rinses out Karius and Bactus destroying their homes. With its amusing illustrations and important message Egner’s book has become a classic of Norwegian children’s literature.

Santa Claus, by Mauri Kunnas

Finland

Born in in 1950, Mauri Kunnas is undoubtedly Finland’s most successful author of children’s books, having published over forty books, in thirty-five languages. With brilliantly coloured illustrations rich in humourous details, he has an unrivalled gift for taking history and casting it in a new and hilarious way. Santa Claus is Kunnas’ best-known book internationally, in which the author and illustrator allows us to accompany Santa’s elves as they prepare for his Christmas gift-giving.

Enginn Sà Hundinn by Hafsteinn Hafsteinsson

Iceland

Another book with a Christmas theme, Enginn Sà Hundin (No One Saw the Dog) was nominated for The Nordic Council Literary Prize for Children‘s and Young People‘s Books 2017. Hafsteinsson’s book tells of a group of children, who are delighted to discover a frisky puppy among their Christmas presents. But the following year, their gifts are even more exciting, and when all the presents have been opened, the dog appears to have been forgotten. And so, he has to take matters into his own paws!

Room for Children - recommended

A Dog, a Cat and a Mouse by Bárður Oskarsson

Faroe Islands

The first work Bárður Oskarsson illustrated was one of his grandfather’s, Under the Trollmountains, but the Faroese author writes his own stories, accompanied by his special cartoon-like illustrations. In this book, a dog, a cat and a mouse live together in peace and harmony, but they are all bored. They try to remember the good old days when they had much more fun. Then one day the mouse hits the dog´s tail with a hammer and suddenly things take a turn!

Wildwitch by Lene Kaaberbøl

Denmark

The award winning and highly acclaimed writer of fantasy, Lene Kaaberbøl has written more than 30 books for children and young adults, having published her first at the age of 15. Wildwitch is the story of Clara, a normal 12-year old girl, until a scary encounter with an unusually large black cat changes her life forever. Now, a Wildwitch she is forced to grow up fast as she must get to grips with her new found powers whilst also facing a powerful enemy.

Little Frog by Jakob Martin Strid

Denmark

Jakob Martin Strid is a Danish cartoonist who has written a number of comics and books for children. Full of Strid’s idiosyncratic illustrations Little Frog is a witty story about trying not to be bad. Little Frog arrives in a meteor, fallen from the sky, and though Father and Mother Frog think he’s cute, he soon turns out to be very naughty. After storming out Little Frog gains advice from an ancient Old Man, but just as he feels it’s too late and he’s been left all alone, Little Frog receives a surprising rescue.

Kaassassuk - Iliarsuk, by Christian Fleischer Rex

Greenland

Christian Fleischer Rex is an animator and illustrator who in 2008, published a version of Kaassassuk is one of the most known and loved Greenlandic legends. An orphaned boy, Kaassassuk seeks help from the Lord of Power after being teased and bullied in his village. The Lord bestows supernatural powers on the boy, prompting the villagers to instead treat him with fear and respect. But it is too late, and Kaassassuk takes revenge on his tormentors.

Room for Children - recommended reading part three

Findus Goes Fishing, by Sven Nordqvist

Sweden

The writer and illustrator Sven Nordqvist is one of Sweden’s most loved authors, and has sold over six million copies of his Findus series, worldwide. In this tale, Findus’ friend Petsson is feeling really grumpy - he doesn’t feel like doing anything, and besides, he has chores he must do. But Findus is in a really good mood and wants to cheer Pettson up, suggests they go out fishing together. Pettson, takes a lot of persuading, but eventually Findus’ reasoning pays off.

Goodbye Mr Muffin, by Ulf Nilsson and Anna-Clara Tidholm

Sweden

Ulf Nilsson is a celebrated Swedish author, and for this book has teamed up with award-winning illustrator Anna-Clara Tidholm to deliver a tender and powerful story about a sensitive subject often seen as taboo for children. Mr Muffin, a family’s guinea pig, is getting old and his health is failing. He is looking back on his life, thinking back to when he was young and strong. Now he’s old, grey and tired. As the story progresses the reader witnesses his decline in health, his death and the preparations for his funeral.

The Sand Wolf by Åsa Lind and Kristina Digman

Åland Islands

Åsa Lind’s read-aloud books aim to inspire both children and adults to take part in philosophical discussion, and are complemented by Kristina Digman’s black-and-white illustrations. The Sand Wolf unexpectedly appears when Zackarina, angry at her dad, digs a hole in the sand. The two become friends and meet on the beach every day where he patiently listens to Zackarina’s thoughts on all kinds of subjects which can occupy an imaginative child’s mind.

the Room for Children

Find out more, and get reading at Room for Children, which can be found in Royal Festival Hall, outside The National Poetry Library on Level 5, Blue Side.

It's Summertime at Southbank Centre

Summertime at Southbank Centre

Join us at Southbank Centre for six weeks of summer fun in the heart of the city. With free family friendly activities on weekends throughout the holidays, you’re sure to find the perfect way to while away the summer with us.

 

Whether you’re basking on our beach, or relaxing on our roof garden, frolicking in our fountain, or sampling street-food, get your summer on with Southbank Centre.

9 reasons to visit Southbank Centre this summer

Youth Ambassadors’ WOW Top Picks

By Natty Kasambala

WOW – Women of the World festival is Southbank Centre’s festival championing gender equality, celebrating the achievements of women and girls all around the world and seeking to discuss and examine the obstacles they face in their everyday life.

This year, the ever-growing festival ran in London from Tuesday 7 to Sunday 12 March with a vast range of inspiring speakers, workshops and performances scheduled across the week. With a programme as immense as this one, it can sometimes be hard to choose from all the options available. So Southbank Centre’s Youth Ambassadors shared their top picks, to give you a taste of what we were especially looking forward to at WOW festival 2017.

Personal Preview

The first event we’d like to highlight and preview is a huge film event happening on Thursday 9 March – Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise. WOW have collaborated with the BFI and African Odysseys to present the London premiere of the first-ever documentary made about the late inspiring author, poet and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou. This feature documentary is said to be an intimate perspective on one of the definitive voices of the civil rights generation who passed away in 2014 after publishing seven autobiographies, writing plays, movies and numerous books of beautifully written essays and poetry.

While her work has been widely regarded as both inspirational and exceptional, her own story has always been the basis of this. With careers ranging from dancer to sex worker to poet, Maya Angelou’s lived experiences are shared in this long-awaited film, including conversations with a number of her high-profile friends and family such as the Clintons, Quincy Jones, Common and Oprah Winfrey.

Having been received with critical acclaim at 2016 Sundance Film Festival, this screening is sold out but bound to be monumental and important. Her words have famously inspired many throughout the civil rights movement with her evocative and illustrative poetry. In our current political climate, her messages of empowerment remain timeless and universal and her story could not be more pertinent.

Top Picks

1. Angela Davis in Conversation (Saturday 11 March @ 6.30pm) and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in Conversation (Saturday 11 March @ 8.30pm)

The evening of Saturday 11 March is set to be particularly inspiring as two amazing speakers take the stage. We recommend settling in for the long haul, starting with a talk with the incredible activist Angela Davis in conversation with Southbank Centre’s Artistic Director, Jude Kelly CBE. Angela Davis is one of the most prominent and inspirational voices around to discuss topics of race, class and feminism in the world today, as a renowned scholar and author on the subject. After speaking at and leading a branch of the Women’s March this year, she has some unmissable insight into the issues facing us in this post-Trump era.

Next up, as if that wasn’t enough, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie follows shortly after. The best-selling author of Americanah, We Should All Be Feminists, Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun, graces the stage to deliver a statement on modern day feminism and what it feels like to be a woman in this day and age. There is no doubt that this will be a powerful unveiling of Chimamanda’s newest work, Dear Ijeawele, not to be missed.

2. The Great Imposter (Friday 10 March @ 11.30am)

Another event that we thought looked extremely interesting is a talk regarding a concept known as the Imposter Syndrome. The term was coined in 1978, but has been gaining visibility recently with regards to gender and race inequalities and how these influence our self-perceptions. The syndrome is essentially the pattern of high-achieving individuals being unable to fully accept their accomplishments and the validity of their praise – feeling like an imposter who is undeserved of the rewards or respect they are given in or outside of the workplace. This talk discusses how this feeling can be a direct result of gender and other inequalities, and hopefully equip us with the tools to overcome these obstacles that prevent us from believing in ourselves and fulfilling our potential.

3. THEATREclub presents: The Game (Friday 10 March to Sunday 12 March @ 8.30pm) and Buying Sex (Friday 10 March @ 3pm)

The topic of prostitution and sex work is a pressing and controversial one. Southbank Centre has scheduled a few extremely important events to help combat the stigma and spark discussion surrounding both the acts of buying sex and the challenges of legislating around it. Across the weekend, THEATREclub is presenting an interactive performance The Game that seeks to explore the very act of participating in the sex work industry by incorporating male volunteers to take part in this unscripted performance. The performances sheds light on a realm of interactions that are seldom portrayed and even less frequently witnessed firsthand. The innovation and radical nature of this idea makes it one of our top priorities to get involved with at WOW festival this year.

On the legislative side of things, and coordinating with Southbank’s year-long Nordic Matters programme, there is a panel discussion addressing the challenges and experiences of implementing what has been dubbed the ‘Nordic model’ regarding prostitution. The speakers discuss what is to be learnt from countries like Norway, Sweden and Iceland that have made it illegal to buy ‘sexual services’ but not to sell them. With the growing severity of the problem of prostitution, this talk is bound to be an informative and candid insight into the complexity of the issue.

4. Women Crossing Borders (Sunday 12 March @ 1.15pm)

In partnership with Migrants Organise, WOW has organised an extremely necessary talk concerning the subject of migrant women and their stories. We think this event is so important, as it aims to give voices to the women who have fled their home countries and risked their lives for the prospect of a better future away from conflict. The talk explores just a few of the many inspiring stories of these women and how these urgent international issues of conflict connect directly to the issues ranging more broadly to gender struggles across the globe. With the growing ambivalence surrounding refugees both in Britain and across the world, the talk could not be more relevant.

5. OPEN: A Toolkit with Gemma Cairney (Saturday 11 March)

Hopefully this speaker does not need much introduction, but here goes anyway. The wonderful TV and radio personality that is Gemma Cairney presents her book, OPEN: A Toolkit for How Magic and Messed Up Life Can Be on Saturday 11 March. In this new release, the Southbank Centre Artist in Residence explores issues facing young people in today’s world, ranging from mental health to relationships, to family and technology, in the format of a guide to life. To us, Gemma seems to be the perfect ambassador for youth; she’s joined by several of the young people featured in the book, to discuss the joys, the trials and tribulations of what it feels like and what it means to be a girl in 2017.

Paternity Debate podcast: Being A Man festival 2016

Being A Man Festival 2016 Podcast - The Paternity Debate by southbankcentre

This content is from Being A Man festival 2016.

Festival programmer Ted Hodgkinson introduces this podcast of the The Paternity Debate, exploring what society wants of dads, what sort of dads men want to be, and how helpful our culture and public policies are at encouraging men to be great dads.

The discussion is chaired by writer and researcher Rebecca Asher and features Conservative Party politician Maria Miller, performance poet Yomi Sode, Esquire magazine's Johnny Davis and journalist Jack Urwin.

For more like this visit Being a Man festival

In this partnership between mum and dad [my son] needs to know that he can call on me as much as he can call on mum
Yomi Sode

Stellar literary line-up spring 2017

Southbank Centre today announces its full spring Literature programme, with exclusive events, panel debates, live readings, keynotes and workshops featuring a stellar line-up of leading British and international writers and thinkers.

Download press release

Alongside two of Britain’s greatest science writers, Professor Brian Cox and Professor Stephen Hawking, Southbank Centre announces award-winning author Neil Gaiman to join the spring season programme, with a discussion on his new book, Norse Mythology (15 February). 

As part of Southbank Centre’s year-long exploration of Nordic culture in 2017, Nordic Matters, Gaiman joins top Nordic authors including Sjón and Anu Partanen. International writers are further celebrated in a new collaboration with Karachi Literature Festival which makes its UK debut at Southbank Centre as part of Alchemy, celebrating the 70th anniversary of Pakistan’s formation (20 May).

Further highlights of Southbank Centre’s Spring Literature programme include:  

  • Professor Stephen Hawking is joined in Southbank Centre’s year-long festivalBelief and Beyond Belief by writers and thinkers including Elif Şafak, Mona Siddiqui OBE, Richard Holloway and more in a series of talks and debates on what it means to be human in the 21st century. The festival also includes a special live reading to mark the 70th anniversary of Primo Levi’s If This is a Man with A L Kennedy and Philippe Sands QC (16 January - December).
  • Southbank Centre’s Imagine Children’s Festival features top children’s authors from the UK and Nordic region including Julian Clary, Þórarinn Eldjárn, Sir Chris Hoy, Michael Morpurgo, Chris Riddell and more (9 - 19 February)
  • Poet and founder of Octavia Poetry Collective, Rachel Long l eads a new series of workshops ‘Telling Her Story’ for women of colour (October 2016 - March 2017)
  • London’s award-winning LGBT literary salon, Polari, returns to Southbank Centre for its 10th year and features events with award-winning writer S tella Duffy (27 January), American author and journalist Tim Murphy (24 February), and writer and filmmaker Paula Varjack ( 8 March)
  • A broad range of free events at Southbank Centre’s The Poetry Library

Neil Gaiman (Nordic Matters, 15 February)

Acclaimed author Neil Gaiman discusses his new book, Norse Mythology (publishing 7 February), in which he turns his attention to the great Norse myths, a major inspiration for the fantastical realms in his award-winning fiction. The prize-winning writer of the comic book series The Sandman and novels including Stardust, American Gods and The Graveyard Book explores the origins of the Norse tales and discusses bringing their gods to life through his own writing in an event which forms part of Nordic Matters, Southbank Centre’s year-long exploration of Nordic culture in 2017.

Karachi Literature Festival (Alchemy, 20 May)

Karachi Literature Festival comes to the UK for the very first time in a collaboration with Southbank Centre's Literature team, celebrating contemporary Pakistan and its rich history and culture in the context of the 70th anniversary of the country's foundation. Founder and Director Ameena Saiyid in conjunction with Bloomsbury Pakistan presents a day of debates, talks, recitals and performances with writers and artists. The one-day festival forms part of Southbank Centre’s Alchemy which explores the cultural connections between the UK and South-Asia and runs from 19 - 29 May 2017. The full programme will be announced in the new year.

Brian Cox (10 January)

The Royal Society and Southbank Centre present an evening on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence with English physicist a nd Royal Society Professor of Public Engagement, Professor Brian Cox. The author of a number of popular science books including Why Does E=mc2? and The Quantum Universe and presenter of science programmes including the Wonders of... series is joined by an expert panel to discuss the advances in machine learning and if we should worry about an artificial intelligence taking over our world. A number of organisations already use Machine Learning including Netflix, dating sites, Amazon and Google to help refine searches and offer recommendations but there are many further potential applications for this technology. Panelists include Professor Jon Crowcroft FRS, Professor Joanna Bryson and Dr Sabine Hauert who debate the benefits and challenges of Machine Learning and answer questions submitted by audience members prior to the event. The event will be live streamed on The Royal Society’s website and YouTube channel.

Belief and Beyond Belief and Stephen Hawking (16 January - December) 

Southbank Centre’s new year-long festival Belief and Beyond Belief which launches in January 2017 explores belief, faith and spirituality as well as what it means to be human in the 21st century. The cross-art form festival in partnership with London Philharmonic Orchestra and comprising music, performance, debate, talks and workshops takes place across eight themed weekends throughout 2017. The festival opens with Professor Stephen Hawking in an exclusive event at Royal Festival Hall to mark his 75th birthday and the launch of the landmark app Stephen Hawking’s Pocket Universe: A Brief History of Time Revisited. The eminent physicist and bestselling author of A Brief History of Time reads from his work and speaks about his proudest accomplishments (16 January).

The opening weekend of the festival explores ‘The Search for the Meaning of Life’ and features speakers including Mona Siddiqui OBE, Abdul Rehman Malik, Richard Holloway, Nick Baines, Remona Aly, Kim Leine and more (20-22 January). Further themed weekends include Science versus Religion: Do We Need to Choose? (3-5 February); How do we live with Death? (3-5 March); Prophets, Visionaries and Power (7-9 April); For Good or for Ill: How has Religion shaped Society? (5 - 7 May) with speakers including Julian Baggini, Marcus du Sautoy, Elif Şafak, Murray Shanahan, Anab Jain, Sarah Bakewell, Indarjit Singh, Sayed Razawi, Sara Khan, Jasvir Singh and more.

In a special event to mark the 70th anniversary of the publication of Primo Levi’s If This is a Man, award-winning author AL Kennedy and Professor of Law at University College London Philippe Sands QC lead a live reading of the full text of Levi’s account of survival in Auschwitz (30 April). For more information on the festival please see the Belief and Beyond Belief press release.

Nordic Matters Opening Weekend (13 - 15 January)

The opening weekend of Southbank Centre’s year-long exploration of Nordic art and culture, Nordic Matters, features leading Nordic writers. A series of 15 minute ‘bites’ with Icelandic poet, novelist and lyricist Sjón whose books include T he Blue Fox and Moonstone provide a whistle stop tour of the fascinating tales in Nordic mythology. Sjón is joined by Robert Fergusson, author of Scandinavians: In Search of the Soul of the North to explore the close ties between the Nordic landscape and its culture and how the natural environment shapes Nordic identity. Journalist and author of T he Nordic Theory of Everything Anu Partanen is joined by a panel of writers and experts to discuss the pioneering contributions the Nordic countries have made to the fight for gender equality as well as the many challenges they still face - from sexism in the workplace, to higher than average rates of male suicide. For more information please see the Nordic Matters press release. 

Imagine Children’s Festival (9 - 19 February)

Southbank Centre’s Imagine Children’s Festival returns to Royal Festival Hall and includes a packed programme of literary events, readings and workshops with some of the top children’s authors from the UK and Nordic region. Highlights include comedian and author Julian Clary and award-winning illustrator D avid Roberts w ho introduce their new book T he Bolds on Holiday - featuring readings and live drawing (17 February); An afternoon of reading and live illustration from Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell and friends (15 February); Multi-award-winning performer and storyteller Danyah Miller brings to life Michael Morpurgo’s Why the Whales Came, with a live Q&A with Michael Morpurgo (17 February). One of Team GB’s most successful Olympic athletes, cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, introduces his new fiction series for young readers, F lying Fergus, alongside co-author Joanna Nadin and illustrator Clare Elsom as well as his first non-fiction book for children, On Your Bike (17 February). In line with Southbank Centre’s year-long exploration of Nordic culture, Nordic Matters, Imagine Children’s Festival also features top artists and authors from the Nordic region including Icelandic author and illustrator Birgitta Sif, Swedish author Pernilla Lindroos, Greenlandic author Bolatta Silis-Høegh, Icelandic author Þórarinn Eldjárn and Finnish illustrator Linda Bondestram. F or more information please see the Imagine Children’s Festival Press Release

‘Telling Her Story’ Poetry Workshops For Women Of Colour (Dec 2016- March 2017)

Poet Rachel Long who was shortlisted for the Young Poet Laureate for London 2014 curates a new workshop series ‘Telling Her Story’ for women of colour, taking place monthly at Southbank Centre. Inspired by Octavia, a poetry collective for women of colour which she founded, Long curates an exclusive space for women of colour who want to read, write and grow creatively, providing an opportunity for them to have their voices not only heard but celebrated, nurtured and developed. Themes explored in the workshops include Place/Displacement; The Personal as Political; Growing Up; Ekphrasis – Writing from Art; Language; and The Body. Workshops take place monthly from December to March. Full information in listings.

Polari Literary Salon (Jan - March 2017)

London’s award-winning LGBT literary salon, Polari, returns to Southbank Centre for its 10th year, curated and hosted by writer Paul Burston, and featuring leading authors from the LGBT community. The 2017 series opens with Stella Duffy, the award-winning writer of 14 novels, 10 plays, and over 50 short stories published in 15 languages, two-times winner of the CWA Short Story Dagger and twice Stonewall Writer of the Year. Duffy reads from her new book London Lies Beneath, and is joined by Rosie Garland, Nathan Evans, Chris Chalmers and Ann Mann who read from their latest works (27 January). American journalist  and author Tim Murphy headlines the next event, discussing his debut novel Christodora, marking LGBT History Month. Inspired by his 20 years of experience reporting on HIV/AIDS for a number of publications, Christodora is a bold and poignant portrait of the bohemian Manhattan of sex, drugs, art and activism, from the early 1980s to the near future (24 February). Writer, filmmaker and performance maker Paula Varjack headlines the third Polari of the year which takes place on International Women’s Day (8 March) and forms part of Southbank Centre’s WOW - Women of the World Festival. Varjack reads from her autobiographical book Letters I Never Sent To You and is joined by Brighton’s Jules Grant, and LA’s Michelle Tea. Further Polaris to be announced at a later date.

Poetry Events At Southbank Centre

The Poetry Library at Southbank Centre offers a broad range of free events throughout the year. Highlights include ‘The Spring to Come’, an exhibition exploring war and language, curated by Polish artist Sława Harasymowicz (5 Oct 2016 - 10 Jan 2017); readings from the winners of the New Poets Prize (11 January); and ‘Larkinworld’, an exhibition curated by artist DJ Roberts exploring the poetry of Philip Larkin. Southbank Centre looks forward to once again hosting the TS Eliot Prize Readings in a special event where the ten shortlisted poets for the prestigious TS Eliot Prize 2016 read from their work the evening before the £15,000 prize winner is announced (15 January 2017).

2017 London Literature Festival With Poetry International (13 - 29 October)

Southbank Centre’s longest-running festival Poetry International m arks its 50th anniversary by joining with London Literature Festival f or the first time in October 2017. The biennial festival, which was founded in 1967 by Ted Hughes, forms the opening weekend of 2017 London Literature Festival, which is an established highlight in the literary calendar celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2016. These combined festivals feature a Nordic focus in line with Southbank Centre’s year-long exploration of Nordic culture, Nordic Matters. Nordic elements include a specially-commissioned Nordic Anthology and W all of Dreams, a large-scale projection of testimonies and dreams onto the Royal Festival Hall, in collaboration with Danish artist Morten Søndergaard. The full programme is announced in the new year.

# ENDS #

For further press information and interview requests please contact:

Louise Gilbert, Press Manager: [email protected] / 020 7921 0780

Naomi French, Press Officer: [email protected] / 020 7921 0678

Full Event Listings Below

The Spring to Come Exhibition at The Poetry Library

Wednesday 5th October 2016 – Tuesday 10th January 2017, 11am-8pm, The Poetry Library at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Free
Sława Harasymowicz's exhibition unravels the story of a semi-hypothetical figure.The story tells of an aspiring poet and his attempts to deal with the reality of war through imagination and language.

‘Telling Her Story’ workshops for women of colour

Tuesday 25th October 2016 - Tuesday 14th March 2017 (one each month), Level 3 Function Room at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £8, Age 18+
Poet Rachel Long curates an exclusive space for women of colour who want to read, write and grow creatively in a new series of workshops.
Forthcoming Dates: Tuesday 13 December 2016 Tuesday 31 January 2017 Tuesday 28 February 2017 Tuesday 14 March 2017

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler: A Magical Stick Man Screening & Show

Thursday 22nd December 2016, 2pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £15 adult, £7.50 child, ages 5-8
Enjoy songs and storytelling with Julia Donaldson and live illustration from Axel Scheffler followed by the award-winning animated film of Stick Man on the big screen.

Brian Cox presents Science Matters – Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Tuesday 10th January, 7.30pm, Royal Festival Hall, Prices £10, £12.50, £15
Join Professor Brian Cox as he puts your questions on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (submitted in advance) to an expert panel including Professor Jon Crowcroft FRS, Professor Joanna Bryson and Dr Sabine Hauert. The event will be live streamed on The Royal Society’s website and YouTube channel.

The Poetry Business Presents: The New Poets Prize

Wednesday 11th January 2017, 8-9.30pm, The Poetry Library at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Free booking required
Hear readings from winners Imogen Cassels, Jenny Danes, Theophilus Kwek and Phoebe Stuckes, alongside 2016 competition judge, Helen Mort.

Rug Rhymes

Every Friday from 13 January to 14th July (excluding Friday 17th February and Friday 2nd June), 10.30- 11am,The Poetry Library Reading Den at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, FREE age 5 and under
A short session of nursery rhymes, poems and rhyming stories, followed by the opportunity to look at and borrow books from our ever-growing children's collection. Under-fives and their carers are invited to join the Poetry Library puppets, Federico and Firebird.

Nordic Matters: Mythology Bites

Saturday 14th January, 11.15-11.30am, 12.45-1pm, 2.45-3pm & 4.45-5pm, Free
A whistle-stop tour with Icelandic poet, novelist, and lyricist Sjón of the fascinating tales in Nordic mythology, along with powerful poetry from the eight Nordic Matters focus countries.

Nordic Matters: Ice, Forests and the Future

Saturday 14th January, 2 - 2.45pm, The Clore Ballroom at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Free
Greenland contains 10% of the world’s ice. Sweden and Finland are nearly 70% forest. And yet with climate change already causing the ice to melt, what does the future look like for the majestic landscapes of the Nordic region? Join us for a discussion on the close ties between landscape and culture. Featuring Sjón, Icelandic poet, novelist and lyricist whose books include The Blue Fox and Moonstone and Robert Fergusson, author of Scandinavians: In Search of the Soul of the North.

Nordic Matters: How do you say Gender Equality in Faroese?

Saturday 14th January, 4-4.45pm, The Clore Ballroom at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Free
Renowned for its progressive and pioneering approach to gender equality, the challenge for the Nordic region in reaching gender equality is made even greater by the perception, internally and externally, that gender equality has already been achieved. A panel of experts and authors debate gender equality in the Nordic region, and the gap between the perception and the reality, featuring Anu Partanen, journalist and author of The Nordic Theory of Everything.

TS Eliot Prize Readings

Sunday 15th January, 7pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £12, £15
In a special event, the ten shortlisted authors for the prestigious TS Eliot Prize 2016 read from their work the evening before the £15,000 prize winner is announced.

A Brief History of Time: Stephen Hawking in Conversation

Monday 16th January, 7.30pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £25 - £45
Hear legendary physicist Stephen Hawking read from his work and speak about the most rewarding achievements of his distinguished career.

Belief and Beyond Belief Weekend 1: The Search for the Meaning of Life

Friday 20th - Sunday 22nd January, various locations at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Day Pass £15, Weekend Pass £25
This weekend we bring together prominent thinkers, artists, performers and clergy to discuss one of life’s biggest issues: What is the Meaning of Life? Highlights of the weekend include renown scholar and commentator Mona Siddiqui OBE who delivers a keynote on Does Struggle Give Meaning to Life?; Stories of Creation, an exploration of different stories of creation performed by storytellers, poets, writers and performers; panel discussions including What’s it all about? The Search for the Meaning of Life with Richard Holloway, Nick Baines, Mona Siddiqui and Abdul Rehman Malik; What if God was a Woman with journalist Remona Aly and others; Meaning for Atheists: What do Atheists Believe? with Nick Spencer Director of Research at Theos Think Tank and others.

Polari / Stella Duffy

Friday 27th January, 7.30pm, Level 5 Function Room at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £5, ages 18+
Stella Duffy reads from her new book, London Lies Beneath, as the first headliner appearance for Polari - an award-winning LGBT literary salon at Southbank Centre in 2017.

Larkinworld

Tuesday 31st January - Sunday 30th April, 11am - 8pm,The Poetry Library at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Free
The world of Philip Larkin's poems is so often read as a melancholy backdrop to loneliness and failure. In this exhibition, artist D J Roberts explores a response to Larkin's work which accepts this reading but also discovers a more robust and life-enhancing quality in Larkin's work

Poets on War

Wednesday 1st February, 8-9.30pm, The Poetry Library at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Free But Booking Required
Witness four poets examine war with sympathy, horror and humour.

Belief and Beyond Belief Weekend 2: Science versus Religion: Do We Need to Choose?

Friday 3rd - Sunday 5th February, various locations at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Day Pass £15, Weekend Pass £25
This weekend looks at both science and religion and whether the two subjects can be reconciled. The weekend’s keynote address is given by Marcus du Sautoy on the topic of God of the Gaps, which looks at the many issues that even science can’t explain. Other highlights of the weekend include panel discussions with leading experts on Science Versus Religion: Do we need to choose?; Quantum Theology:When Faith Meets Science; Right to Die? The Assisted Dying Debate; It’s Alive! Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Playing God with Professor Murray Shanahan and Anab Jain; The Monkey Trial, a theatrical performance based on the 1925 Stokes Trial which examined the teaching of evolutionism versus creationism in schools.

Nordic Matters: Neil Gaiman

Wednesday 15th February, Time TBC, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, On sale to Members 6 December and public 7 December
Acclaimed author Neil Gaiman discusses his new book, Norse Mythology (publishing 7 February), in which he turns his attention to the great Norse myths, a major inspiration for the fantastical realms in his award-winning fiction. Exclusive, limited edition, pre-signed copies of Norse Mythology can be purchased with your ticket. These books will be available for collection from Foyles at Royal Festival Hall, Level 2, on the day of the event.

Imagine Festival: Sami Storytelling and Joiku Chanting Workshop

Saturday 11th February, 10.30am & 12.30pm, Level 3 Function Room at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £6
Come and hear all about the characters of Sami mythology with Sami writer, Ante Aikio, who joins us from Finnish Lapland. Ante is also a joiku chanter and during the workshop he will teach the children (and adults!) to join in the joiku chants along with him.

Imagine Festival: My friend Manna with Bolatta Sillis - Silis-Høegh

Saturday 11th February, 2.30pm, Sunley Pavilion at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £6, £8
Festival-goers can get creative and use their imagination in this workshop with published children's author Bolatta Silis-Høegh. The part Greenlandic and part Latvian artist debuted as an author in 2011, publishing her first children’s book, Aima, which she wrote and illustrated. The follow-up, Aima Shush! was published in June of 2014.

Imagine Festival: It is Best to Eat Poems: Diet for Nonsense Lovers

Saturday 11th February, 10.30am - 12.30pm, Level 5 Function Room at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £8 adults £4 kids
What do playsins, hobby-chews and ediblistles taste like? Can nonsense have a nationality? What sounds do poets from different countries like to play with? Can you picture nonsense? Join Icelandic children's poet Þórarinn Eldjárn and Finnish illustrator Linda Bondestam to delve into the universal phenomenon of nonsense literature, explore how it translates between languages and cultures, and have a go playing with your very own Nordic nonsense! A bonkers event for children who like sound.

Imagine Festival: Birgitta Sif: Where my feet go

Saturday 11th February,12:30pm - 1.30pm, Sunley Pavilion at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £6, ages 0-5
Author and illustrator Birgitta Sif leads a creative workshop featuring interactive storytelling and the chance for children ages 0-5 to make their own puppet.

Imagine Festival: Dr Seuss - The Cat in The Hat

Sunday 12th February, 12.30 & 2.30pm,The Clore Ballroom at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, FREE
Children’s Story Centre presents Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat storytelling show.

Imagine Festival: Sensational Sensory Poetry

Monday 13th February,11.30am - 12.30pm,The Poetry Library at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall,Free but ticketed (one ticket admits one child and one adult),ages 6-10 years
Shelley Boden hosts a workshop which uses all of our senses to explore poems from The Poetry Library collection. This session is suitable for blind and partially sighted children.

Imagine Festival: Amazingly Magical Poems

Monday 13th February,1.30-2.30pm,The Poetry Library at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall, £4 for children £8 for adults, ages 5-7 years
The Poetry Library presents a special Imagine poetry reading for five to seven-year-olds and their grown-ups. Featuring one of our favourite picture book poets Peter Bently and teller of tall tales Andra Simons.

Imagine Festival: Booktrust Presents Lifetime Achievement Award

Wednesday 15th February, 12.00 - 1:00pm,The Clore Ballroom at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall,Free ages 5-8
Chris Riddell and a host of authors and illustrators celebrate the career of 2017’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner. The name of the winner won’t be announced until just before the event, but previous winners include Tiger Who Came to Tea author Judith Kerr, and Dame Shirley Hughes who wrote and illustrated the Alfie books.

Imagine Festival: Chris Riddell & Friends

Wednesday 15th February, 2.30pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £12 adults, £6 children
Children's Laureate illustrator Chris Riddell is joined by VIP mystery guests to celebrate the world of children’s books. The Waterstones Children’s Laureate and his friends incorporate stories and illustrations in this children’s event. All artists appearing in the event are donating their fees to Amnesty. This event is British Sign Language-interpreted. Recommended for ages 7 – 11.

Imagine Festival: Julian Clary and David Roberts

Friday 17th February, 12.30pm - 1.30pm, Level 5 Function Room at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £8 £4, for ages 7+
Comedian, entertainer and writer Julian Clary joins award-winning illustrator David Roberts as they introduce you to their latest book, The Bolds on Holiday. An unmissable event packed with wildly hilarious readings in Julian’s unique style, live-drawing from David and lots of laughter for the whole family.

Imagine Festival: Why The Whales Came By Michael Morpurgo

Friday 17th February, 11:00am, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £12 adult £6 child
Multi-award-winning performer and storyteller Danyah Miller presents Why the Whales Came by Michael Morpurgo, followed by a live Q+A with Morpurgo.

Imagine Festival: Francesca Simon

Friday 17th February,2pm-3pm, Level 5 Function Room at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall, £8, £4, ages 10+
Join Horrid Henry creator Francesca Simon as she introduces her acclaimed new book for older children, a dark and very funny tale based on the mythical Norse goddess of the underworld, ‘Hel’.

Imagine Festival: Sir Chris Hoy

Friday 17th February, 3-4pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall; £12 adult, £6 child
One of Team GB’s most successful Olympic athletes, cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, will be introducing his new fiction series for young readers, Flying Fergus and his first non-fiction book for children, On Your Bike. Chris and the Flying Fergus team, co-author Joanna Nadin and illustrator Clare Elsom, will talk about the inspiration behind the books, with live drawings.

Polari / Tim Murphy

Friday 24 February, 7.30pm, Level 5 Function Room at Southbank Centre Royal Festival Hall £5
American author Tim Murphy discusses his stunning debut novel to mark LGBT History Month.
Tim’s novel, Christodora, is a bold and poignant portrait of the bohemian Manhattan of sex, drugs, art and activism, from the early 1980s to the near future.

Oyster Catch Press: Correspondences

Wednesday 1st March, 8-9.30pm, The Poetry Library at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Free but ticketed
This event brings together Nisha Ramayya’s remarkable work on Sanskrit and Tantric traditions, Peter Hughes’ unpredictable versions of the 19th-century Italian poet Leopardi, and Gareth Prior’s insightful and imaginative readings of Francis Bacon’s paintings.

The Complete Poems of Philip Larkin

Monday 3rd March (doors open at 6pm to view Larkin exhibition) 6.30pm The Poetry Library at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Free but ticketed
To tie-in with our exhibition Larkinworld, our Spring Poetry Library Book Club will look at the The Complete Poems of Philip Larkin (Faber, 2014). From 6pm we will allow attendees a chance to look at our exhibition Larkinworld before we get down to the poems at 6.30pm.

Belief and Beyond Belief Weekend 3: How do we live with Death?

Friday 3rd March - Sunday 5th March, various locations at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Day Pass £15, Weekend Pass £25
This weekend explores the challenging issue of what happens after we die and how this affects the way we live. Highlights include panel discussions on How to Live with Nick Baines and author Sarah Bakewell exploring ideas and teachings about what makes a good life; The Way to Immortality: Technology and Transcendence, a panel of futurologists, technologists, and scientists discuss what happens to our digital selves after we die; Creativity and Death with writers, artists and musicians who discuss how creating art celebrates life. The weekend also features workshops and participation events including a Mexican Day of the Dead parade.

Polari / Paula Varjack

Wednesday 8 March, 7.30pm, Level 5 Function Room at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £5, ages 18+
Marking International Women’s Day, Paula Varjack headlines with her autobiographical book Letters I Never Sent To You. She is joined by Brighton’s Jules Grant with her most recent book We Go Around In The Night and Are Consumed With Fire and LA’s Michelle Tea with Black Wave.

The Haiku Moment

Wednesday 5th April, 8-9.30 pm,The Poetry Library at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Free but ticketed
The British Haiku Society (BHS) marks 26 years of writing and appreciating English language haikus, with this celebratory event.There will be a short introduction to the ways that the haiku has developed and changed followed by readings and a Q+A with Kate B Hall, Sue Schaer, Andrew Schimield, Diana Webb and Mark Gilfillan.

Belief and Beyond Belief Weekend 4: Prophets, Visionaries and Power

Friday 7th April - Sunday 9th April, various locations at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Day Pass £15, Weekend Pass £25
This weekend explores the relationship between religion, politics and power. The keynote address is delivered by award-winning novelist Elif Şafak who draws on examples from recent events in Turkey to discuss When Politics Meets Religion: Power and Faith. Further highlights include panel discussions on Separation of Powers: God in Politics with Indarjit Singh and Sayed Razawi; The Battle for British Islam with Sara Khan and Sayed Razawi and a bites session where a range of speakers tackle the topic of women in religion.

Belief and Beyond Belief: If This is a Man

Sunday 30 April, 3.15pm and 10pm, Royal Festival Hall, £15 - £25
To mark the 70th anniversary of the publication of Primo Levi’s If This Is A Man, A.L. Kennedy and Philippe Sands lead a live reading of the full text of Levi's account of survival in Auschwitz.

Cypriot Poets: Transcending Conflict

Wednesday 3rd May, 8-9.30 pm,The Poetry Library at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Free but ticketed
Cypriot poets have been reaching across and writing the division of Cyprus before and after the border opening of 2003. This opening also brought new possibilities for collaboration and understanding on an island where they share a common history. This event brings together five Cypriot poets (Neşe Yaşın, Stephanos Stephanides, Senem Gökel, Maria Siakalli, Alev Adil) who will present the story of these communities, followed by poetry performances and a Q&A session.

Belief and Beyond Belief Weekend 5: For Good or For Ill: How Has Religion Shaped Society? 

Friday 5th May - Sunday 7th May, various locations at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Day Pass £15, Weekend Pass £25
This weekend explores how religion and faith have affected society with highlights including panel discussions on How Has Religion Shaped Society? with Jasvir Singh and more; Religion Behind Bars which explores what hope and guidance religion potentially offers the incarcerated; Faith and Fashion; Religion and Education; Terrorism and Society and Women Faith Leaders.

Alchemy: Karachi Literature Festival

Saturday 20th May, various locations at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, On Sale to General Public 8 February
Karachi Literature Festival comes to the UK for the very first time in a collaboration with Southbank Centre's Literature team, celebrating contemporary Pakistan and its rich history and culture in the context of the 70th anniversary of the country's foundation. Founder and Director Ameena Saiyid in conjunction with Bloomsbury Pakistan presents a day of debates, talks, recitals and performances with writers and artists. The one-day festival forms part of Southbank Centre’s Alchemy which explores the cultural connections between the UK and South-Asia and runs from 19 - 29 May 2017. The full programme will be announced in the new year.

London Literature Festival and Poetry International

Friday 13th October - Sunday 29th October, Various locations from across Southbank Centre
Southbank Centre’s longest-running festival Poetry International marks its 50th anniversary by joining with London Literature Festival for the first time in October 2017. The biennial festival which was founded in 1967 by Ted Hughes forms the opening weekend of 2017 London Literature Festival, an established highlight in the literary calendar which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016. The combined festivals feature a Nordic focus in line with Southbank Centre’s year-long exploration of Nordic culture, Nordic Matters. Nordic elements include a specially-commissioned Nordic Anthology and Wall of Dreams, a large-scale projection of testimonies and dreams onto the Royal Festival Hall, in collaboration with Danish artist Morten Søndergaard. The full programme is announced in the new year.

Notes To Editors 

About Southbank Centre

Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 21 acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery as well as The Saison Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection.

Let the Light In

In September 2015, our iconic Brutalist arts venues Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery closed their doors for two years so we could give them the essential refurbishment they deserve. Renowned for their architectural significance, the buildings are most importantly recognised for the exceptional performances and exhibitions that have happened in them since they first opened nearly 50 years ago. The £25 million refurbishment project has been funded by Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund and through the generous support of Southbank Centre friends. We launched the Let The Light In campaign to raise £3.9 million and have just £1.9 million left to raise so we can transform these buildings for the reopening in 2018 and for future generations to enjoy.

For more information, visit: letthelightin.southbankcentre.co.uk

Simón Bolívar National Youth Choir of Venezuela

Simón Bolívar National Youth Choir of Venezuela

Listen to 100 of Venezuela's finest young voices in the Simón Bolívar National Youth Choir of Venezuela, a product of El Sistema, Venezuela's ground-breaking music movement.

Reporter is Attacked by Clown During Interview...

Reporter is Attacked by Clown During Interview...

Slava's Snow Show returned to The Southbank Centre. 

Combining hilarity and poignancy with stunning breathtaking spectacle, this classic show is full of joy for all the family.

dates

17th December to the 6th of January 2014

WOW NOW with Gemma Cairney

WOW - Women of the World Festival 2015 | WOW NOW with Gemma Cairney

We sent BBC Radio 1’s Gemma Cairney round the country with a film crew to capture the views of girls RIGHT NOW.

Whatever your age, this is your chance to see the film and hear from Gemma, the girls, and the women they look up to about their lives, thoughts and expectations – from the tough realities to straight forward optimism. If you care about young women, be here.

WOW - Women of the World Festival

Got to Dance winner Akai battles with 'Into the Hoods' dancers

Got to Dance winner Akai battles with 'Into the Hoods' dancers

Sky1's Got to Dance winner Akai in a dance battle with Into the Hoods dancers at Southbank Centre skate park!

Following a sell-out Christmas season, the street dance spectacular returned in the summer of 2010 - bigger and better than ever.

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