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

all events

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
An Evening with Roger Daltrey
7:30 pm
Thu 18 Oct 2018
7:30 pm | Thu 18 Oct 2018
Literature
Hear the inside story of the rise of British rock from Roger Daltrey as he publishes his memoir
Hear the inside story of the rise of British rock from Roger Daltrey as he publishes his memoir
W.S. Graham photo with a painted face on the wall

Free

Free

7:30 pm
Thu 18 Oct 2018
7:30 pm | Thu 18 Oct 2018
Art
Literature
Hear contemporary responses to poet WS Graham at the launch of an exhibition on his work
Hear contemporary responses to poet WS Graham at the launch of an exhibition on his work
In Search of a Better Life: Esi Edugyan & Aida Edemariam

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:45 pm
Thu 18 Oct 2018
7:45 pm | Thu 18 Oct 2018
Literature
Go on a voyage of discovery with characters who are looking for a better life
Go on a voyage of discovery with characters who are looking for a better life
Olga Tokarczuk, Polish writer  - image credit Jacek Klodziejski
7:45 pm
Thu 18 Oct 2018
7:45 pm | Thu 18 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Olga Tokarczuk launches her latest novel, an unconventional thriller with an eccentric sleuth
Olga Tokarczuk launches her latest novel, an unconventional thriller with an eccentric sleuth
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
19 Oct 2018 - 31 Mar 2019
Various times | 19 Oct 2018 - 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
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...
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
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
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?

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...
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
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
 David Olusoga
8:00 pm
Sat 20 Oct 2018
8:00 pm | Sat 20 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
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

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

4:00 pm
Sun 21 Oct 2018
4:00 pm | Sun 21 Oct 2018
Literature
Hear the ultimate oral poem, The Odyssey, read aloud at an event inspired by Emily Wilson's new translation
Hear the ultimate oral poem, The Odyssey, read aloud at an event inspired by Emily Wilson's new...
6:30 pm
Sun 21 Oct 2018
6:30 pm | Sun 21 Oct 2018
Performance & Dance
Theatre
The writer, musician and singer tells the story of her life through narrative, music, song and dance
The writer, musician and singer tells the story of her life through narrative, music, song and dance
Poetic Odysseys

Free

Free

8:00 pm
Sun 21 Oct 2018
8:00 pm | Sun 21 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Poets Keith Jarrett and Greta Bellamacina present new work on the theme of odysseys
Poets Keith Jarrett and Greta Bellamacina present new work on the theme of odysseys
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
The Bolds with Julian Clary & David Roberts
2:00 pm
Mon 22 Oct 2018
2:00 pm | Mon 22 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Join writer Julian Clary and illustrator David Roberts with another hilarious tale from The Bolds
Join writer Julian Clary and illustrator David Roberts with another hilarious tale from The Bolds

Free

Free

Various times
22 Oct 2018 - 27 Oct 2018
Various times | 22 Oct 2018 - 27 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Unwind with a story at London Literature Festival
Unwind with a story at London Literature Festival
Harlem house

Free

Free

6:30 pm
Mon 22 Oct 2018
6:30 pm | Mon 22 Oct 2018
Literature
Poetry
Discover the lyrical poetry that emerged from the African American art scene in 1920s New York
Discover the lyrical poetry that emerged from the African American art scene in 1920s New York
André Aciman: Enigma Variations
7:30 pm
Mon 22 Oct 2018
7:30 pm | Mon 22 Oct 2018
Literature
Uncover the intrigues of the heart at a reading of the new novel by author André Aciman
Uncover the intrigues of the heart at a reading of the new novel by author André Aciman
Nadia Shireen, author and illustrator
2:00 pm
Tue 23 Oct 2018
2:00 pm | Tue 23 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Bring the kids and draw up a storm with the bestselling author and illustrator of children's books
Bring the kids and draw up a storm with the bestselling author and illustrator of children's...

Free

Free

Various times
Tue 23 Oct 2018
Various times | Tue 23 Oct 2018
Gigs
Folk & World
Sail off into the blue with storytellers and musicians who riff on the power of the sea
Sail off into the blue with storytellers and musicians who riff on the power of the sea
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
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
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
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

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
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
Knights and Bikes, action adventure game
2:00 pm
Thu 25 Oct 2018
2:00 pm | Thu 25 Oct 2018
Literature
Gabrielle Kent, author of the Alfie Bloom series, introduces her new mystery novel for ages 8+
Gabrielle Kent, author of the Alfie Bloom series, introduces her new mystery novel for ages 8+
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
Somali Women Poets, audience at a talk
7:00 pm
Thu 25 Oct 2018
7:00 pm | Thu 25 Oct 2018
Literature
Poetry
Hear emerging Somali poets and spoken-word artists from the Share Your Talent platform
Hear emerging Somali poets and spoken-word artists from the Share Your Talent platform
Melvyn Bragg: A Life On Air
7:30 pm
Thu 25 Oct 2018
7:30 pm | Thu 25 Oct 2018
Literature
In his time: The broadcaster reflects on the enduring appeal of In Our Time
In his time: The broadcaster reflects on the enduring appeal of In Our Time
Child writing at workshop

Free

Free

11:00 am
Fri 26 Oct 2018
11:00 am | Fri 26 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Spit rhymes in a group to create an original rap in an introductory workshop
Spit rhymes in a group to create an original rap in an introductory workshop
Liz Pichon, British illustrator
2:00 pm
Fri 26 Oct 2018
2:00 pm | Fri 26 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Superb stories, oodles of doodles and masses of monsters from the author of the Tom Gates books
Superb stories, oodles of doodles and masses of monsters from the author of the Tom Gates books

Free

Free

2:30 pm
Fri 26 Oct 2018
2:30 pm | Fri 26 Oct 2018
Literature
Strike a new note on your vocal cords at this introductory workshop
Strike a new note on your vocal cords at this introductory workshop
Jolade Olusanya

Free

Free

5:30 pm
Fri 26 Oct 2018
5:30 pm | Fri 26 Oct 2018
Literature
Poetry
Poets and performers from the London-based art collective set their imaginations free
Poets and performers from the London-based art collective set their imaginations free
Lemn Sissay presents Creative Future Literary Awards
6:45 pm
Fri 26 Oct 2018
6:45 pm | Fri 26 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Hear hidden stories from twelve prize-winning new writers at an event presented by Lemn Sissay
Hear hidden stories from twelve prize-winning new writers at an event presented by Lemn Sissay
Olafur Eliasson: Experience
7:30 pm
Fri 26 Oct 2018
7:30 pm | Fri 26 Oct 2018
Art
The Danish-Icelandic artist opens a window onto his practice and asks how art can create change
The Danish-Icelandic artist opens a window onto his practice and asks how art can create change
Families watching a performance

Free

Free

11:00 am
Sat 27 Oct 2018
11:00 am | Sat 27 Oct 2018
Gigs
Folk & World
Raise your voice in songs from the Caribbean in a workshop for everyone
Raise your voice in songs from the Caribbean in a workshop for everyone
M A Bennett, author
11:45 am
Sat 27 Oct 2018
11:45 am | Sat 27 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Look for the answers in literature at a talk from three of the young adult fiction world’s most exciting authors
Look for the answers in literature at a talk from three of the young adult fiction world’s most...
Samantha Scheblin

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

12:00 pm
Sat 27 Oct 2018
12:00 pm | Sat 27 Oct 2018
Literature
Talks & Topics
Catch a glimpse of Latin America at a discussion between writers from Argentina, Mexico and Colombia
Catch a glimpse of Latin America at a discussion between writers from Argentina, Mexico and Colombia
Nikita Gill, author
1:15 pm
Sat 27 Oct 2018
1:15 pm | Sat 27 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Imagine a world where princes and princesses can be free at a talk on retelling folk and fairy tales
Imagine a world where princes and princesses can be free at a talk on retelling folk and fairy tales
Melissa Harrison, novilist

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

2:30 pm
Sat 27 Oct 2018
2:30 pm | Sat 27 Oct 2018
Literature
Talks & Topics
This green and pleasant land? Look beneath England's surface with new novels from two writers
This green and pleasant land? Look beneath England's surface with new novels from two writers
Juno Dawson, author
3:00 pm
Sat 27 Oct 2018
3:00 pm | Sat 27 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Get under the skin of believable and flawed characters and reflect on how far YA fiction can go
Get under the skin of believable and flawed characters and reflect on how far YA fiction can go
Love in America with Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli
4:15 pm
Sat 27 Oct 2018
4:15 pm | Sat 27 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Uncover the reality of living and loving in America today from the collaborative authors
Uncover the reality of living and loving in America today from the collaborative authors
Anita Barton Williams, writer
5:30 pm
Sat 27 Oct 2018
5:30 pm | Sat 27 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Poets Anita Barton-Williams and Eleanor Penny share their work in the finale to Young Adult Lit Day
Poets Anita Barton-Williams and Eleanor Penny share their work in the finale to Young Adult Lit Day
Soraya Chemaly, author

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:45 pm
Sat 27 Oct 2018
7:45 pm | Sat 27 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Get angry at a discussion on the power of rage in the fight against misogyny
Get angry at a discussion on the power of rage in the fight against misogyny
Karl Sharro
3:00 pm
Sun 28 Oct 2018
3:00 pm | Sun 28 Oct 2018
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Join us for a panel discussion on the place and power of satire in troubled times
Join us for a panel discussion on the place and power of satire in troubled times
Sue Perkins
7:30 pm
Sun 28 Oct 2018
7:30 pm | Sun 28 Oct 2018
Literature
No.1 Sunday Times bestselling author Sue Perkins celebrates the publication of her travel memoir
No.1 Sunday Times bestselling author Sue Perkins celebrates the publication of her travel memoir
" Mohsin Hamid on Migration, Magic and Exit West"

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Sun 28 Oct 2018
7:30 pm | Sun 28 Oct 2018
Literature
From Ancient Greece onward, why have stories of migration captivated our imaginations?
From Ancient Greece onward, why have stories of migration captivated our imaginations?

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
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