festival

London Literature Festival

18 OCT 2018 – 28 OCT 2018

Now in its twelfth year, Southbank Centre’s London Literature Festival brings together today’s leading writers, thinkers and cultural observers to explore the burning issues of our times. 

This year we invite you on a journey across centuries and borders to celebrate the power of literature to reflect on the world in which we live. Our journey takes in everything from a celebration of Homer’s Odyssey to an examination of contemporary America in the lead-up to the midterm elections. 

At the heart of the festival is a celebration of Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey, marking its first-ever translation into English by a woman, Emily Wilson. This timeless classic is explored through live readings, talks and workshops with writers from Mary Beard to Madeline Miller. The theme of homeland and journeys continues in appearances from leading writers including Esi Edugyan, Aida Edemariam and Mohsin Hamid. 

download the 2018 London Literature Festival guide

We delve into the political and social landscapes of contemporary America with events including a rare appearance from Salman Rushdie discussing his provocative new novel and author Marilynne Robinson advocating the value of hope, and talks on topics from the American Dream to feminism in Trump's America. 

Other highlights include exclusive memoir launches from the Who's frontman Roger Daltrey and Oscar-winning actor Sally Field; hip-hop artist Akala and historian David Olusoga discussing empire and race; Carol Ann Duffy reading from her final collection as Poet Laureate, and a full day of events celebrating Young Adult literature.

Multi-buy discount 

A multi-buy discount is available on a selected events—look out for the yellow label in listings. Book two or more of these events in the same transaction and receive a 20% discount.

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Young Adult Lit Day

Buy a Day Pass (27 Oct) for some of the most exciting authors of Young Adult fiction, new and emerging poetry and spoken word, and a fanzine fair.

book a Day Pass

all events

Readings of Chinua Achebe
7:00 pm
Tue 23 Oct 2018
7:00 pm | Tue 23 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Reflect on powerful women writers of colour and the presses that publish them at a panel discussion
Reflect on powerful women writers of colour and the presses that publish them at a panel discussion
And the Air Sang: 20 Years of Foyle Young Poets
7:00 pm
Tue 23 Oct 2018
7:00 pm | Tue 23 Oct 2018
Literature
Poetry
Join us for a readings by a gathering of ten Foyle Award-winning poets from across the decades
Join us for a readings by a gathering of ten Foyle Award-winning poets from across the decades
Julian Knox
7:30 pm
Tue 23 Oct 2018
7:30 pm | Tue 23 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Poet julianknxx asks big questions about love, masculinity and social justice, with added live music
Poet julianknxx asks big questions about love, masculinity and social justice, with added live music
Salman Rushdie: From Midnight's Children to Trump's America

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Tue 23 Oct 2018
7:30 pm | Tue 23 Oct 2018
Literature
The celebrated author of compulsive, daring and enduring fiction on his life in writing
The celebrated author of compulsive, daring and enduring fiction on his life in writing

Free

Free

11:00 am
Wed 24 Oct 2018
11:00 am | Wed 24 Oct 2018
Art
Literature
Cast a long shadow with puppets inspired by the gods and monsters in The Odyssey
Cast a long shadow with puppets inspired by the gods and monsters in The Odyssey
Laura Dockrill, poet, illustrator, and writer
2:00 pm
Wed 24 Oct 2018
2:00 pm | Wed 24 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Turn that frown upside with the children’s author whose new book helps little ones cope with anger
Turn that frown upside with the children’s author whose new book helps little ones cope with anger
Voices From Prisons: Aaaaargh!!, Bolton Probation Office, Mixed Media
7:30 pm
Wed 24 Oct 2018
7:30 pm | Wed 24 Oct 2018
Literature
Talks & Topics
Hear performances of written and recorded works produced in the criminal justice system
Hear performances of written and recorded works produced in the criminal justice system
Sold out
Nujoom Alghanem, Emirati poet

Free

Free

8:00 pm
Wed 24 Oct 2018
8:00 pm | Wed 24 Oct 2018
Literature
Poetry
Much-lauded Emirati poets Nujoom Alghanem, Ali Al Shaali & Maryam Mahyoh read their work
Much-lauded Emirati poets Nujoom Alghanem, Ali Al Shaali & Maryam Mahyoh read their work
A Great Big Poetry Workshop, child writing poetry

Free

Free

11:00 am
Thu 25 Oct 2018
11:00 am | Thu 25 Oct 2018
Literature
Poetry
Express yourself in metre and rhyme at a workshop led by an inspirational poet
Express yourself in metre and rhyme at a workshop led by an inspirational poet
Young audience member

Free

Free

2:00 pm
Thu 25 Oct 2018
2:00 pm | Thu 25 Oct 2018
Literature
Poetry
Take your turn at the mic with some of the best children's poets in the game
Take your turn at the mic with some of the best children's poets in the game

Pages

all stories

Enjoy fantastic fiction and powerful prose selected by literary experts.
Your best photos and tweets from this year's events
Enjoy some of the highlights of last year’s festival, including Hillary Rodham Clinton and Tom Hanks
Hear the DJ and visual artist in a candid discussion about his life and work
Enjoy an exclusive podcast, featuring readings and discussion on the life of the great politician, from a host of big names.
Hear the author discuss his latest work, La Belle Sauvage, in this exclusive podcast
Get to know Nordic Noir in our short interview with the Finnish crime writer
All you need to know about one of Philip Pullman’s most fascinating characters.
All you need to know about this year’s packed programme
Listen to highlights of Hillary Rodham Clinton's exclusive London appearance at Southbank Centre
The team at National Poetry Library pick out their Anne Carson must reads
Dive into 50 years of Poetry International with Chris McCabe and Sophie Mayer
The Handmaid’s Tale author on the real world her novel reflects
Listen to the tracks that take Goldie back
The drum & bass stalwart is back with his third artist album and his second autobiography
See how Hillary Rodham Clinton went from First Lady of the United States, to the cusp of Presidency
Discover more about the author ahead of his appearance at London Literature Festival
Read how photographer Annie Leibovitz considers her work on Women never done.
Use our timeline to discover what our experts predict will take place over the century to come

don't miss

Sue Perkins

Image Credit 
Steve Ullathorne
Sue Perkins
28 Oct
Literature
No.1 Sunday Times bestselling author Sue Perkins celebrates the publication of her travel memoir
28 Oct
Literature
From Ancient Greece onward, why have stories of migration captivated our imaginations?
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Young Adult Lit Day

Buy a Day Pass (27 Oct) for some of the most exciting authors of Young Adult fiction, new and emerging poetry and spoken word, and a fanzine fair.

book a Day Pass

literature stories

podcast
Listen to The Who frontman discussing his new memoir in this special podcast
story
Writer and activist Soraya Chemaly considers six myths about anger and gender

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