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. 

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Poet performing on stage
7:45 pm
Mon 22 Jul 2019
7:45 pm | Mon 22 Jul 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
Take a seat for an evening of poetry, featuring Morgan Parker, Brian Patten and Hannah Sullivan
Take a seat for an evening of poetry, featuring Morgan Parker, Brian Patten and Hannah Sullivan
Guernica Remakings at Southbank Centre

Free

Free

Various times
26 Jul 2019 - 22 Sep 2019
Various times | 26 Jul 2019 - 22 Sep 2019
art & exhibitions
literature & poetry
Picasso's anti-war masterpiece is seen anew in a multimedia exhibition curated by Nicola Ashmore
Picasso's anti-war masterpiece is seen anew in a multimedia exhibition curated by Nicola...
Paul Burston, journalist and author
7:30 pm
Fri 26 Jul 2019
7:30 pm | Fri 26 Jul 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Stride into summer with the best in queer writing at an evening with the LGBTQ+ literary salon
Stride into summer with the best in queer writing at an evening with the LGBTQ+ literary salon
Guernica Remakings at Southbank Centre

Free

Free

7:30 pm
Wed 31 Jul 2019
7:30 pm | Wed 31 Jul 2019
art & exhibitions
literature & poetry
Raise a glass at the opening of a new exhibition of works responding to Picasso’s anti-war masterpiece
Raise a glass at the opening of a new exhibition of works responding to Picasso’s anti-war...
John Hegley, Cina Aissa and Mike Tomes leaning against a wall
8:00 pm
Wed 07 Aug 2019
8:00 pm | Wed 07 Aug 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
From the French: the poet, comedian and musician John Hegley reflects on his Gallic roots
From the French: the poet, comedian and musician John Hegley reflects on his Gallic roots
Etgar Keret, writer
7:15 pm
Tue 03 Sep 2019
7:15 pm | Tue 03 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Hear from renowned short-story writer Etgar Keret as he presents a new collection, Fly Already
Hear from renowned short-story writer Etgar Keret as he presents a new collection, Fly Already
A Homage to Razz at Southbank Centre
8:00 pm
Wed 04 Sep 2019
8:00 pm | Wed 04 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
Celebrate the life of poet and musician Razz in an evening of readings and tribute
Celebrate the life of poet and musician Razz in an evening of readings and tribute
Richard Ayoade, actor, comedian, writer and director
7:30 pm
Thu 05 Sep 2019
7:30 pm | Thu 05 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
The writer and director reflects on his award-winning films and comedy in conversation with Adam Buxton
The writer and director reflects on his award-winning films and comedy in conversation with Adam...
Malorie Blackman, writer
2:00 pm
Sun 08 Sep 2019
2:00 pm | Sun 08 Sep 2019
family & young people
literature & poetry
The wait is over for the next novel in the groundbreaking young adult fiction series Noughts & Crosses
The wait is over for the next novel in the groundbreaking young adult fiction series Noughts &...
Sara Pascoe, comedian
7:30 pm
Sun 08 Sep 2019
7:30 pm | Sun 08 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Assess what really matters to humans at this talk with the award-winning comedian and author
Assess what really matters to humans at this talk with the award-winning comedian and author
Nathan Filer, writer
7:15 pm
Mon 09 Sep 2019
7:15 pm | Mon 09 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Hear from two award-winning writers as they challenge myths and misconceptions around patient care
Hear from two award-winning writers as they challenge myths and misconceptions around patient care
7:30 pm
Fri 13 Sep 2019
7:30 pm | Fri 13 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
performance & dance
Taking us from Lagos to London, the writer tells the story of her life through narrative, music and dance
Taking us from Lagos to London, the writer tells the story of her life through narrative, music and...
Akala, rapper and activist
2:45 pm
Sat 14 Sep 2019
2:45 pm | Sat 14 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Consider who decides how and where black cultural memory is preserved at our talk
Consider who decides how and where black cultural memory is preserved at our talk
Letters Live at Southbank Centre
7:00 pm
Sat 14 Sep 2019
7:00 pm | Sat 14 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
Great performers read remarkable letters from down the centuries and around the world
Great performers read remarkable letters from down the centuries and around the world
Philippa Perry
7:30 pm
Thu 19 Sep 2019
7:30 pm | Thu 19 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
How much does our own upbringing affect our parenting?
How much does our own upbringing affect our parenting?
Workshop participants sat at a table
1:00 pm
Sat 21 Sep 2019
1:00 pm | Sat 21 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
Channel your inner poet at this monthly poetry masterclass
Channel your inner poet at this monthly poetry masterclass
Richard Dawkins, ethologist
7:30 pm
Sun 22 Sep 2019
7:30 pm | Sun 22 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Join the author as he helps us rethink the big questions about how our world came to be
Join the author as he helps us rethink the big questions about how our world came to be
Sabrina Mahfouz, poet
7:45 pm
Mon 23 Sep 2019
7:45 pm | Mon 23 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Join us for the launch of this anthology of working-class artists on art, life and making it happen
Join us for the launch of this anthology of working-class artists on art, life and making it happen
Will Harris, poet
7:00 pm
Wed 25 Sep 2019
7:00 pm | Wed 25 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
What can poetry tell us about others and about ourselves?
What can poetry tell us about others and about ourselves?
Louis Theroux, filmmaker
7:30 pm
Wed 25 Sep 2019
7:30 pm | Wed 25 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Journey through the highs and lows of two decades of groundbreaking work with the documentarian
Journey through the highs and lows of two decades of groundbreaking work with the documentarian
Antoni Porowski, TV personality
7:30 pm
Wed 25 Sep 2019
7:30 pm | Wed 25 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Serve up your burning questions about food and healthy living for the Queer Eye star and author
Serve up your burning questions about food and healthy living for the Queer Eye star and author
Out-Spoken: September at Southbank Centre
7:45 pm
Thu 26 Sep 2019
7:45 pm | Thu 26 Sep 2019
gigs
literature & poetry
Kick off Out-Spoken’s Southbank Centre residency with a night of superlative poetry and live music
Kick off Out-Spoken’s Southbank Centre residency with a night of superlative poetry and live music
Lenny Henry, comedian
7:30 pm
Mon 30 Sep 2019
7:30 pm | Mon 30 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Get ready to guffaw as the cherished comedian takes the stage to share his long-awaited autobiography
Get ready to guffaw as the cherished comedian takes the stage to share his long-awaited...
Courttia Newland, writer
7:00 pm
Wed 02 Oct 2019
7:00 pm | Wed 02 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
Learn to map the ever-shifting terrain of the urban metropolis in a six-session course
Learn to map the ever-shifting terrain of the urban metropolis in a six-session course
A Bargain with the Light: Poems after Lee Miller
8:00 pm
Wed 02 Oct 2019
8:00 pm | Wed 02 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
Poet Jacqueline Saphra reflects on photos of, and by, the photographer, model and war journalist
Poet Jacqueline Saphra reflects on photos of, and by, the photographer, model and war journalist
10:30 am
Thu 03 Oct 2019
10:30 am | Thu 03 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Get wordy with your class at a day of workshops and performances on National Poetry Day 2019
Get wordy with your class at a day of workshops and performances on National Poetry Day 2019

Free

Free

2:00 pm
Thu 03 Oct 2019
2:00 pm | Thu 03 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Round off National Poetry Day with performances on the year’s theme of ‘truth’
Round off National Poetry Day with performances on the year’s theme of ‘truth’
Celeste Ng, author
7:30 pm
Sun 06 Oct 2019
7:30 pm | Sun 06 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
What creates compelling and realistic characters? Ask the bestselling author at this in-depth talk
What creates compelling and realistic characters? Ask the bestselling author at this in-depth talk
Out-Spoken at Southbank Centre
1:00 pm
Sat 12 Oct 2019
1:00 pm | Sat 12 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
Unlock your poetic mind and get valuable feedback at this masterclass facilitated by leading poets
Unlock your poetic mind and get valuable feedback at this masterclass facilitated by leading poets
Man Booker at Southbank Centre
7:30 pm
Sun 13 Oct 2019
7:30 pm | Sun 13 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Meet the 2019 Booker Prize shortlist in an evening of readings and conversation
Meet the 2019 Booker Prize shortlist in an evening of readings and conversation

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highlights

6 Oct
literature & poetry
talks & debates
What creates compelling and realistic characters? Ask the bestselling author at this in-depth talk
8 Sep
family & young people
literature & poetry
The wait is over for the next novel in the groundbreaking young adult fiction series Noughts & Crosses
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If our literature programme has you feeling inspired to put pen to paper, but you're not sure how or where to start, join one of our writing courses and workshops led by professional writers.

Choose from a selection of poetry or prose classes (or both) to develop your talent and find your voice, guided by expert instruction.

view writing & poetry classes

blog: literature & poetry

story
Take a look at the packed line-up coming to Southbank Centre later this year
story
Introducing an award-winning author with an increasingly global following
podcast
Listen to the thirteenth episode of our podcast series, in which we turn our attention to poetry and spoken word