literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature

Isabel Allende: A Long Petal of the Sea

For the first time in 12 years, literary legend Isabel Allende visits the UK to discuss her much-awaited new novel at a London-exclusive event with writer and editor Erica Wagner.

Allende’s books have sold over 74 million copies worldwide, making her one of the most widely read authors in the world.

She is the recipient of over 60 awards from 15 different countries, and was the winner of the 2018 National Book Award’s Lifetime Achievement and the winner of the 2014 Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Based on history and real people, A Long Petal of the Sea is a masterful work of historical fiction about hope, exile and belonging.

Victor Dalmau is a young doctor when he is caught up in the Spanish Civil War, a tragedy that leaves his life – and the fate of his country – forever changed.

Together with his sister-in-law, the pianist Roser Bruguera, he is forced out of his beloved Barcelona and into exile.

When opportunity to seek refuge in Chile arises, they take it, boarding a ship chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda to the promised 'long petal of sea and wine and snow' over the seas.

There, they find themselves enmeshed in a rich web of characters who come together in love and tragedy over the course of four generations, destined to witness the battle between freedom and repression as it plays out across the world.

American-born writer and editor Erica Wagner was the recipient of the Eccles British Library Writer’s Award in 2014. She was chair of last year's Goldsmiths Prize and twice a judge of the Man Booker Prize.

Wagner was the literary editor of The Times for 17 years and is now contributing literary editor for Harper’s Bazaar and a contributing writer for the New Statesman. Currently, Wagner is a lecturer in creative writing at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Her most recent book is Chief Engineer: Washington Roebling and she is the author of Gravity and Ariel's Gift.

A Long Petal of the Sea is Isabel Allende at the height of her powers.

I have been a foreigner all my life, first as the itinerant child of diplomats, then as a political refugee and now as an immigrant in the USA. Maybe that’s why a sense of place is so important in all my writing. Where do I belong? Where are my roots? Is my heart divided or has it just grown bigger?

Dates & times

9 Feb 2020
Approximate run time: 90 mins
Run times may vary, find out more
    • Sun 9 February 2020
      • 7:00 pm
        British Sign Language / Speech to Text


Royal Festival Hall


£10 - £30
Booking fee: £3.50 (Members £0.00)
£10, £20, £30


25% off (Limited Availabllity)
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need to know

Age recommendation
For ages 16+

Discounted copies of Isabel Allende's new book A Long Petal of the Sea (RRP £16.99) are available for £13.99 when you buy a ticket to the event, to be collected at the event.

Southbank Centre takes a strong view on secondary ticketing. We require the lead booker to attend (photo ID may be requested). Tickets can only be resold by Southbank Centre or one of its authorised agents.

Access information
This talk is Speech-to-Text transcribed (STT) and British Sign Language interpreted (BSL).

To join our free Access Scheme and book tickets for these services, call our Ticket Office on 020 3879 9555 or email
Find out more about our Access Scheme