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 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

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
Paining by W.S. Graham

Free

Free

Various times
until 31 Mar 2019
Various times | until 31 Mar 2019
Art
Literature
Make room for creativity at an interactive reconstruction of poet WS Graham’s creative space
Make room for creativity at an interactive reconstruction of poet WS Graham’s creative space
Bridget Minamore, poet and journalist

Free

Free

1:00 pm
Fri 19 Oct 2018
1:00 pm | Fri 19 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Imagine the future of literature at a talk with Bridget Minamore on dystopian short fiction
Imagine the future of literature at a talk with Bridget Minamore on dystopian short fiction
Heaux Noire illustration

Free

Free

5:30 pm
Fri 19 Oct 2018
5:30 pm | Fri 19 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Listen up as womxn of colour share their stories through poetry and music
Listen up as womxn of colour share their stories through poetry and music
Slay in your Lane
7:00 pm
Fri 19 Oct 2018
7:00 pm | Fri 19 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Navigate the spaghetti junction of life and come out in front
Navigate the spaghetti junction of life and come out in front
An Evening with Sally Field

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Fri 19 Oct 2018
7:30 pm | Fri 19 Oct 2018
Literature
Talks & Topics
Celebrated actor Sally Field tells her extraordinary story in her own words
Celebrated actor Sally Field tells her extraordinary story in her own words
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
Sold out
Terrance Hayes & Sarah Churchwell on American Dreams

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

12:00 pm
Sat 20 Oct 2018
12:00 pm | Sat 20 Oct 2018
Literature
Examine the first 200 days of Trump's presidency and how America's history led to this moment
Examine the first 200 days of Trump's presidency and how America's history led to this...

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
Sold out
Michael Hughes, author

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

2:00 pm
Sat 20 Oct 2018
2:00 pm | Sat 20 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
How do myths shape our masculinity?
How do myths shape our masculinity?
Marilynne Robinson in Conversation

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

2:00 pm
Sat 20 Oct 2018
2:00 pm | Sat 20 Oct 2018
Literature
The US novelist and essayist reflects on hope and generosity in tumultuous times
The US novelist and essayist reflects on hope and generosity in tumultuous times

Free

Free

Various times
20 Oct 2018 - 21 Oct 2018
Various times | 20 Oct 2018 - 21 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Come on a journey with Wendy Shearer in an interactive live storytelling performance
Come on a journey with Wendy Shearer in an interactive live storytelling performance
Photo of Andrew McMillan
3:30 pm
Sat 20 Oct 2018
3:30 pm | Sat 20 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Unpack the rites, friendships, conflicts and intimacies that make a man
Unpack the rites, friendships, conflicts and intimacies that make a man
Women Rewriting Homer: Madeline Miller & Sharlene Teo

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

5:00 pm
Sat 20 Oct 2018
5:00 pm | Sat 20 Oct 2018
Literature
Talks & Topics
See Homer through women's eyes at a discussion between three writers who have interpreted his work
See Homer through women's eyes at a discussion between three writers who have interpreted his...
Stella Duffy, writer
7:30 pm
Sat 20 Oct 2018
7:30 pm | Sat 20 Oct 2018
Literature
Poetry
The beloved literary salon returns to celebrate some of the best in LGBTQ+ writing for 2018
The beloved literary salon returns to celebrate some of the best in LGBTQ+ writing for 2018
Carol Ann Duffy & Friends
7:30 pm
Sat 20 Oct 2018
7:30 pm | Sat 20 Oct 2018
Literature
Poetry
Carol Ann Duffy is joined by friends for a special reading of her final collection as poet laureate
Carol Ann Duffy is joined by friends for a special reading of her final collection as poet laureate
 David Olusoga
8:00 pm
Sat 20 Oct 2018
8:00 pm | Sat 20 Oct 2018
Literature
Talks & Topics
Dissect the making and unmaking of civilisations and cultures by tracing the roots of modern Britain
Dissect the making and unmaking of civilisations and cultures by tracing the roots of modern Britain
A lady looking over books at National Poetry Library Open Day

Free

Free

12:00 pm
Sun 21 Oct 2018
12:00 pm | Sun 21 Oct 2018
Literature
Poetry
Set off on a journey into the heart of modern poetry at our open day on the theme of odysseys
Set off on a journey into the heart of modern poetry at our open day on the theme of odysseys
An Introduction to The Odyssey

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

2:00 pm
Sun 21 Oct 2018
2:00 pm | Sun 21 Oct 2018
Literature
Who is Odysseus, anyway? Find out from our panel, chaired by cult classicist Mary Beard
Who is Odysseus, anyway? Find out from our panel, chaired by cult classicist Mary Beard

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

20 Oct
Literature
The US novelist and essayist reflects on hope and generosity in tumultuous times
22 Oct
Literature
Uncover the intrigues of the heart at a reading of the new novel by author André Aciman
see all events

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

story
The author discusses her debut book Ponti and taking The Odyssey away from the male gaze
story
Enjoy eight stand-out musical collaborations featuring The Who frontman
story
Read an extract from Churchwell’s new book, Behold, America

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Littery London Tea Towel

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