festival

London Literature Festival

Returns Oct 2019

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

In 2018 we invited 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 took 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 was a celebration of Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey, marking its first-ever translation into English by a woman, Emily Wilson. This timeless classic was explored through live readings, talks and workshops with writers from Mary Beard to Madeline Miller. The theme of homeland and journeys continued in appearances from leading writers including Esi Edugyan, Aida Edemariam and Mohsin Hamid. 

We delved 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 included 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.

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
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

literature stories

podcast
Catch up on the Oscar-winning actress discussing her autobiography In Pieces at London Literature Festival
podcast
Listen to The Who frontman discussing his new memoir in this special podcast