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.

Literature & Poetry events

See London's most exciting and high-profile literary events happening all year-round at Southbank Centre.

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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