literature & poetry

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

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When you write, you are a despot, you’re a dictator. You have absolute power over life and death.
Philip Pullman, speaking at Southbank Centre in 2017
Literature can take us into lives we might think are far from our own
Ted Hodgkinson, Southbank Centre Senior Programmer, Literature & Spoken Word

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Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discounts are available for some events. The discount varies by event and is calculated as you add more tickets to your basket. The more events you buy tickets for, the more you save.

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Language Shift, collage art

Free

Free

Various times
until 23 Sep 2018
Various times | until 23 Sep 2018
Literature
Poetry
Explore visual artwork that maps poems written in endangered European languages in this exhibition
Explore visual artwork that maps poems written in endangered European languages in this exhibition
 Justice for Grenfell demonstration

Free

Free

8:00 pm
Wed 05 Sep 2018
8:00 pm | Wed 05 Sep 2018
Literature
Poetry
Bear witness at a poetry reading by contributing writers to the Poems for Grenfell Tower anthology
Bear witness at a poetry reading by contributing writers to the Poems for Grenfell Tower anthology
Exploring Languages at Southbank Centre, Belarusian I by Mary Kuper

Free

Free

8:00 pm
Wed 12 Sep 2018
8:00 pm | Wed 12 Sep 2018
Literature
Poetry
Listen closely at this event examining endangered languages with experts and artists in the field
Listen closely at this event examining endangered languages with experts and artists in the field
Painted puppets

Free

Free

Various times
14 Sep 2018 - 14 Dec 2018
Various times | 14 Sep 2018 - 14 Dec 2018
Literature
Poetry
A short session of nursery rhymes and poems for under-5s and their carers
A short session of nursery rhymes and poems for under-5s and their carers
Poet Liz Berry at Forward Poetry Prize Ceremony
7:00 pm
Tue 18 Sep 2018
7:00 pm | Tue 18 Sep 2018
Literature
Poetry
See the most coveted poetry prizes in the British Isles awarded live
See the most coveted poetry prizes in the British Isles awarded live
Illustration by Nury R. Melgarejo

Free

Free

8:00 pm
Wed 03 Oct 2018
8:00 pm | Wed 03 Oct 2018
Literature
Poetry
What kind of difference does poetry make?
What kind of difference does poetry make?

Free

Free

1:00 pm
Thu 04 Oct 2018
1:00 pm | Thu 04 Oct 2018
Literature
Poetry
Calling all 11- to 18-year-olds – join a poetry revolution in this free event
Calling all 11- to 18-year-olds – join a poetry revolution in this free event

Free

Free

Various times
Thu 04 Oct 2018
Various times | Thu 04 Oct 2018
Literature
Poetry
Join us to hear radical poetry that looks at this year's theme of change
Join us to hear radical poetry that looks at this year's theme of change
W.S. Graham photo with a painted face on the wall

Free

Free

7:30 pm
Fri 19 Oct 2018
7:30 pm | Fri 19 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
Carol Ann Duffy & Friends
7:30 pm
Sat 20 Oct 2018
7:30 pm | Sat 20 Oct 2018
Literature
Poetry
Southbank Centre’s London Literature Festival presents Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and friends
Southbank Centre’s London Literature Festival presents Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and friends
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
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
Poetic Odysseys

Free

Free

8:00 pm
Sun 21 Oct 2018
8:00 pm | Sun 21 Oct 2018
Literature
Poetry
Three poets present new work in response to our open day displays on the theme of odysseys
Three poets present new work in response to our open day displays on the theme of odysseys
Harlem house

Free

Free

6:30 pm
Mon 22 Oct 2018
6:30 pm | Mon 22 Oct 2018
Literature
Poetry
Lose yourself in the lyricism of poetry from the rebirth of African American art in 1920s New York
Lose yourself in the lyricism of poetry from the rebirth of African American art in 1920s New York
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
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 and Salam Al Attas read their work
Much-lauded Emirati poets Nujoom Alghanem, Ali Al Shaali and Salam Al Attas read their work
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
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
Young Adult Literature Day
11:00 am
Sat 27 Oct 2018
11:00 am | Sat 27 Oct 2018
Literature
Poetry
Join us at London Literature Festival for the best in young adult fiction
Join us at London Literature Festival for the best in young adult fiction
Poetry Course: Response to Space Shifters
7:15 pm
5 Nov 2018 - 10 Dec 2018
7:15 pm | 5 Nov 2018 - 10 Dec 2018
Art
Literature
Find poetic inspiration at our exhibition in this six-week poetry writing course
Find poetic inspiration at our exhibition in this six-week poetry writing course

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literature & poetry highlights

28 Aug
Literature
Talks & Topics
The Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author explores human behaviour through the lives of artists

Khaled Hosseini

Image Credit 
UNHCR_Brian Sokol
Khaled Hosseini headshot
4 Sep
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
In this exclusive talk, the author reflects on his latest book and what fiction can do in dark times
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blog: literature & poetry

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See what’s coming up in our packed poetry programme