literature & poetry

Southbank Centre is the home of literature and spoken word events in the UK and the venue for London Literature Festival and Poetry International. Our programme is brimming with today’s bestselling authors, award-winning poetry and spoken word, and dramatised readings of iconic novels from some of the world’s most inspiring writers.

This season Malcolm Gladwell explores the mysteries of strangers, Celeste Ng talks character development, Richard Dawkins makes an argument for atheism and Richard Ayoade reflects on his award-winning films and comedy. Our upcoming events also include talks from Louis Theroux, Nadiya Hussain and Sir Lenny Henry. 

explore Out-Spoken events

London Literature Festival & Poetry International

16 – 27 OCT 2019

Over 11 days of talks, readings, poetry and performance, featuring Elizabeth Day, Armistead Maupin, Brett Anderson, Heather Morris, Lemn Sissay, Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) – and many more.

view full line-up

Readers in The Clore Ballroom, Southbank Centre

Free

Free

Various times
17 Oct 2019 - 27 Oct 2019
Various times | 17 Oct 2019 - 27 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
Voices from our Poetry for Dementia programme come through loud and clear in a sound installation
Voices from our Poetry for Dementia programme come through loud and clear in a sound installation

Free

Free

10:30 am
17 Oct 2019 - 22 Oct 2019
10:30 am | 17 Oct 2019 - 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
A child colouring at a workshop

Free

Free

Various times
17 Oct 2019 - 27 Oct 2019
Various times | 17 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’
Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Free

Free

Various times
17 Oct 2019 - 17 Nov 2019
Various times | 17 Oct 2019 - 17 Nov 2019
art & exhibitions
literature & poetry
Toast to Beat poet, painter and activist Lawrence Ferlinghetti's 100th birthday at this exhibition
Toast to Beat poet, painter and activist Lawrence Ferlinghetti's 100th birthday at this...
Family drumming

Free

Free

12:30 pm
17 Oct 2019 - 22 Oct 2019
12:30 pm | 17 Oct 2019 - 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
17 Oct 2019 - 23 Oct 2019
Various times | 17 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...
High Rise Mystery at Southbank Centre
2:00 pm
17 Oct 2019 - 22 Oct 2019
2:00 pm | 17 Oct 2019 - 22 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
South-east London, the hottest summer on record, and there’s been a murder in the Tri high-rise
South-east London, the hottest summer on record, and there’s been a murder in the Tri high-rise
Baby Yaga, part of London Literature Festival
Various times
17 Oct 2019 - 23 Oct 2019
Various times | 17 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
Emma Paterson headshot
7:00 pm
17 Oct 2019 - 22 Oct 2019
7:00 pm | 17 Oct 2019 - 22 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
What do literary agents do and how can you find the right one for you?
What do literary agents do and how can you find the right one for you?
Sold out
7:00 pm
17 Oct 2019 - 22 Oct 2019
7:00 pm | 17 Oct 2019 - 22 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
From Hong Kong to the English countryside, these poets reflect the diversity of poetry in London today
From Hong Kong to the English countryside, these poets reflect the diversity of poetry in London...

Pages

highlights

30 Oct
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Cheers to 40 years of the London Review of Books at an evening of poetry, music and collaboration
9 Nov
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Get yourself to this event launching the author and cultural icon’s memoir, Will
see all events

A variety of events in our literature and poetry programme, including talks, spoken word and live performances, are British Sign Language interpreted and/or Speech-to-Text transcribed. Access information for each event can be found in the ‘need to know’ section, underneath the main description of the event. 

If an event in our literature programme does not have an access provision, you can request one by emailing Customer Relations at customerrelations@southbankcentre.co.uk or by phoning our Ticket Office on 020 3879 9555 at least one month ahead of the event. We will try to provide a service wherever possible.

email us

You may be eligible for concessionary tickets if you have specific seating requirements, with a complimentary seat for your companion, under our Access Scheme.

find out more about access & facilities

view accessible literature events

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

blog: literature & poetry

story
The internationally bestselling author on the fascinating story of Lale Sokolov
story
The popular children’s author discusses his new book

explore our programme

shop london literature festival

Capri Bookmark

The Poetry Pharmacy Return

'Isometric Books' Coaster Set

Literary 'Tea Large Enough' Tote Bag