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.

see literature & poetry events

 

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

London Literature Festival 2018

In October we welcome some of today’s leading writers, thinkers and cultural observers to explore the burning issues of our times.

Highlights include exclusive memoir launches from The Who's frontman Roger Daltrey and Oscar-winning actor Sally Field, as well as award-winning writers Marilynne Robinson, André Aciman and Sir Salman Rushdie.

see festival events

all events

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
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
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
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

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
Sold out
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
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
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+
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
Breis, rap artist

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
Sold out
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

Pages

literature & poetry highlights

12 Nov
Literature
Talks & Topics
The award-winning author and incisive cultural commentator discusses her much-anticipated new novel
10 Dec
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
The critic and author takes the stage to discuss today's culture with her keen and humorous candour
see all events

blog: literature & poetry

story
Writer and activist Soraya Chemaly considers six myths about anger and gender
podcast
Listen to The Who frontman discussing his new memoir in this special podcast

shop London Literature Festival

Book Tote Bag

Tool The Bookworm Dandelion

The Colour of Books Print

Littery London Tea Towel