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. 

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.

See all events

Young Adult Lit Day

Buy a Day Pass (27 October 2018), for some of the most exciting authors of Young Adult fiction, new and emerging poetry and spoken word, and a fanzine fair.

Book Day Pass

THE GIANT STORYTELLING BED at Imagine Children's Festival Credit Victor Frankowski 2016
Various times
18 Oct 2018 - 25 Oct 2018
Various times | 18 Oct 2018 - 25 Oct 2018
Enjoy a fun session with your little ones led by storytellers as part of London Literature Festival
Enjoy a fun session with your little ones led by storytellers as part of London Literature Festival
10:30 am
Fri 19 Oct 2018
10:30 am | Fri 19 Oct 2018
Literature
Discover the Odyssey's mythical world of gods, giants and sirens in this day for schools
Discover the Odyssey's mythical world of gods, giants and sirens in this day for schools
E Lockhart, writer
11:00 am
Sat 20 Oct 2018
11:00 am | Sat 20 Oct 2018
Literature
Hit the right notes with tools for finding your authorial voice at a workshop led by E Lockhart
Hit the right notes with tools for finding your authorial voice at a workshop led by E Lockhart
Adult and child at weaving workshop

Free

Free

Various times
20 Oct 2018 - 21 Oct 2018
Various times | 20 Oct 2018 - 21 Oct 2018
Art
Get to grips with warp and weft and learn about a resourceful character from The Odyssey
Get to grips with warp and weft and learn about a resourceful character from The Odyssey
Madeline Miller Masterclass on Rewriting Myth
2:00 pm
Sat 20 Oct 2018
2:00 pm | Sat 20 Oct 2018
Literature
Breathe new life into mythic characters at a writing masterclass led by Madeline Miller
Breathe new life into mythic characters at a writing masterclass led by Madeline Miller
Child in audience

Free

Free

Various times
22 Oct 2018 - 27 Oct 2018
Various times | 22 Oct 2018 - 27 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Wake up your body, mind and mouths with a wordy warm-up led by performer and writer Maria Ferguson
Wake up your body, mind and mouths with a wordy warm-up led by performer and writer Maria Ferguson
Dead Reckoning, miniature boats on the floor

Free

Free

11:00 am
Mon 22 Oct 2018
11:00 am | Mon 22 Oct 2018
Art
Commemorate the people behind migration statistics by helping to sew an ambitious temporary artwork
Commemorate the people behind migration statistics by helping to sew an ambitious temporary artwork

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
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

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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
19 Oct
Literature
Talks & Topics
Celebrated actor Sally Field tells her extraordinary story in her own words
see all events

Young Adult Lit Day

Buy a Day Pass  (27 October 2018), for some of the most exciting authors of Young Adult fiction, new and emerging poetry and spoken word, and a fanzine fair.

Book Day Pass

literature stories

story
From Sybil to Forrest Gump, take a look back at some of the actress’ most iconic performances
story
Find out which literary luminaries are on this year’s bill