Talks & debates

Letters to the Next Century

Part of London Literature Festival

What will the next century look like? Will our children’s children live in a dystopia, utopia, or somewhere in between?

In the face of enormous challenges facing the planet, how can poetry, literature and the arts help us imagine what comes next?

On the eve of our Poetry International series, this specially curated event brings together live reading and music. A group of authors, including David Mitchell, Sjón, Sigbjørn Skåden and Arundhathi Subramaniam, read fiction and poems addressed to the next century. Featuring music by Ayanna Witter-Johnson.

David Mitchell is the award-winning and bestselling author of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, Black Swan Green, Cloud Atlas, Number9Dream, Ghostwritten and The Bone Clocks. Twice shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Mitchell was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME magazine in 2007. With KA Yoshida, Mitchell co-translated from the Japanese the international bestselling memoir, The Reason I Jump. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.

Sjón is a celebrated Icelandic novelist and poet. He won the Nordic Council's Literary Prize for his novel The Blue Fox, and his novel From The Mouth Of The Whale was shortlisted for both the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. His novel Moonstone – The Boy Who Never Was from 2013 received every major literature prize in Iceland. He is also the co-editor (with Ted Hodgkinson) of The Dark Blue Winter Overcoat and other stories from the North, which is published to coincide with London Literature Festival.

Arundhathi Subramaniam lives in Bombay where she works as a writer, editor and curator. Her latest collection, When God Is a Traveller (Bloodaxe Books, 2014), was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize and was a Poetry Book Society Choice. She has also written The Book of Buddha (Penguin, 2005) and Sadhguru: More Than a Life (Penguin, 2010), co-edited Confronting Love (Penguin, 2005), an anthology of Indian love poems in English, and edited Pilgrim's India: An Anthology (Penguin, 2011).

Sigbjørn Skåden grew up in the Sami village Planterhaug in Tromsø, Northern Norway. His debut poetry collection Skuovvadeddjiid gonagas (The King of Shoemakers) was written in Northern Sami and for this long epic poem he was nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize, the most prestigious literary prize in the Nordic countries. He was contributed to The Dark Blue Winter Overcoat and other stories from the North edited by Sjón and Ted Hodgkinson.

Ayanna Witter-Johnson is a MOBO Award-nominated English folk and soul singer, songwriter and cellist.

Part of Nordic Matters

Dates & times

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Royal Festival Hall
The Clore Ballroom, Level 2


Booking fee: £3.00 (Members £0.00)


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