festival

London Literature Festival

17 – 27 Oct 2019

Bringing new resonance to timeless narratives, Southbank Centre's London Literature Festival returns for its 13th year with an exploration of fairy tales for our times with today's leading writers, thinkers and cultural observers. 

Over 11 days of talks, readings, poetry and performance, the festival features Elizabeth Day, Armistead Maupin, Brett Anderson, Heather Morris, Lemn Sissay, Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Nikki Giovanni, Fatima Bhutto and Jung Chang. 

The festival once again opens with Poetry International, Southbank Centre's longest running festival, founded by Ted Hughes, former poet laureate, in 1967. This year follows the theme of disruption. 

Poetry International

This year’s festival features poets including Adonis, Khaled Mattawa, Patricia Smith, Nikki Giovanni, Valzhyna Mort and many more. 

view full line-up

Members get priority

For your best chance to secure tickets to London's most exhilarating events, become a Southbank Centre Member.

buy Membership

Break dancers

Free

Free

10:30 am
Mon 21 Oct 2019
10:30 am | Mon 21 Oct 2019
courses & workshops
family & young people
Red shoes not required for a free dance and music workshop on all things fairy tale
Red shoes not required for a free dance and music workshop on all things fairy tale
A child colouring at a workshop

Free

Free

Various times
21 Oct 2019 - 27 Oct 2019
Various times | 21 Oct 2019 - 27 Oct 2019
tours & activities
family & young people
Set off on a do-it-yourself adventure for families, as magical as the words ‘once upon a time’
Set off on a do-it-yourself adventure for families, as magical as the words ‘once upon a time’
Photo of children and adults joining in a dance workshop together at Southbank Centre

Free

Free

12:30 pm
Mon 21 Oct 2019
12:30 pm | Mon 21 Oct 2019
family & young people
literature & poetry
Put your fairy tale moves into practice on our dance floor, after your free workshop
Put your fairy tale moves into practice on our dance floor, after your free workshop

Free

Free

10:30 am
Tue 22 Oct 2019
10:30 am | Tue 22 Oct 2019
courses & workshops
family & young people
Eight legs are great in a Ghanaian drumming workshop inspired by a cheeky spiderman
Eight legs are great in a Ghanaian drumming workshop inspired by a cheeky spiderman
Family drumming

Free

Free

12:30 pm
Tue 22 Oct 2019
12:30 pm | Tue 22 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Let the tale of Anansi weave its web around you in a storytelling session inspired by the spiderman
Let the tale of Anansi weave its web around you in a storytelling session inspired by the spiderman
I Believe in Unicorns, part of London Literature Festival
Various times
22 Oct 2019 - 23 Oct 2019
Various times | 22 Oct 2019 - 23 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
performance & dance
Tomas’ world changes the day he meets the Unicorn Lady, in a show based on Michael Morpurgo’s children's book
Tomas’ world changes the day he meets the Unicorn Lady, in a show based on Michael Morpurgo’s...
Baby Yaga, part of London Literature Festival
Various times
22 Oct 2019 - 23 Oct 2019
Various times | 22 Oct 2019 - 23 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
performance & dance
A new take on an old Russian folktale, guaranteed to give you lots to chew on
A new take on an old Russian folktale, guaranteed to give you lots to chew on
Children at workshop

Free

Free

10:30 am
Wed 23 Oct 2019
10:30 am | Wed 23 Oct 2019
courses & workshops
family & young people
Conjure up your own fairy tale with mysterious paper-cut art in a story workshop
Conjure up your own fairy tale with mysterious paper-cut art in a story workshop
Tales from the Library Attic

Free

Free

12:30 pm
Wed 23 Oct 2019
12:30 pm | Wed 23 Oct 2019
courses & workshops
performance & theatre
‘Once upon a time’ goes live and interactive in a rambunctious storytelling performance
‘Once upon a time’ goes live and interactive in a rambunctious storytelling performance

Free

Free

10:30 am
Thu 24 Oct 2019
10:30 am | Thu 24 Oct 2019
courses & workshops
family & young people
Learn Indian dance moves for the whole family to tell an enchanting story of creation and care
Learn Indian dance moves for the whole family to tell an enchanting story of creation and care
Children listening to stories

Free

Free

12:30 pm
Thu 24 Oct 2019
12:30 pm | Thu 24 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
family & young people
Submerge yourself in an ancient tale from dancer Anusha Subramanyam, or join in and make a splash
Submerge yourself in an ancient tale from dancer Anusha Subramanyam, or join in and make a splash
Eoin Colfer, writer
11:00 am
Fri 25 Oct 2019
11:00 am | Fri 25 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
family & young people
Introducing his new series, the author discusses the genesis of magic and the inherent hilarity of head lice
Introducing his new series, the author discusses the genesis of magic and the inherent hilarity of...

Free

Free

1:00 pm
Fri 25 Oct 2019
1:00 pm | Fri 25 Oct 2019
family & young people
literature & poetry
Come, gather round for wild and wonderful music and stories for all ages, inspired by fairy tales
Come, gather round for wild and wonderful music and stories for all ages, inspired by fairy tales
Muhammad Khan, author
11:30 am
Sat 26 Oct 2019
11:30 am | Sat 26 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Gear up for all things YA with some of the genre’s most exciting fiction authors
Gear up for all things YA with some of the genre’s most exciting fiction authors

Pages

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

Multi-buy ticket offers

Book three or more literature and poetry events in the same transaction and receive a 25% discount. Selected events only.

To take advantage of our multi-buy offers look out for literature and poetry events displaying the yellow multi-buy label. You will be able to navigate back to the full list of events in each multi-buy by clicking the links below the titles on event pages or the multi-buy links in the 'what's on' listings. 

see what's on

literature stories

story
The internationally bestselling author on the fascinating story of Lale Sokolov
story
The popular children’s author discusses his new book
story
“Had I curated it in the wake of Brexit, Trump and Farage, there’s a chance it would have been a different book”