talks & debates

Our year-round programme of talks and debates showcases leading thinkers, activists, politicians and cultural observers. Be stimulated by new thoughts and ideas, or challenged to see the world with fresh eyes by today’s most exciting speakers.

This season documentarian Louis Theroux reflects on two decades of groundbreaking work and Lenny Henry takes us on a trip down memory lane. Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain talks cake and kids and comedian Sara Pascoe assesses what really matters to humans. We also welcome Malcolm Gladwell, Richard Dawkins, Hannah Gadsby and many more.

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Perhaps you don’t recognise that you have power but if you’re doing something to try to make a change you are already exercising power.
Cassa Pancho MBE, Founder of Ballet Black, speaking at Southbank Centre in 2018
The paradox of the last 20 years has been that we have increased our communication, its frequency, participants and methods to do so. But instead of taking this opportunity to produce a clear picture of the world, the content of that information, and what we actually know, is decreasing.
Yannis Varoufakis, speaking at Southbank Centre in 2015

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all events

Angela Davis, American political activist, philosopher, academic, and author
Various times
17 Sep 2020 - 24 Sep 2020
Various times | 17 Sep 2020 - 24 Sep 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
BROADCAST: The activist reflects on what led us to this historic chapter and what might come next
BROADCAST: The activist reflects on what led us to this historic chapter and what might come next
David Mitchell, writer
7:30 pm
Mon 05 Oct 2020
7:30 pm | Mon 05 Oct 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
The bestselling author of Cloud Atlas launches his first novel in five years in a London exclusive
The bestselling author of Cloud Atlas launches his first novel in five years in a London exclusive
Claudia Rankine, poet
Various times
9 Oct 2020 - 16 Oct 2020
Various times | 9 Oct 2020 - 16 Oct 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
BROADCAST: One of America’s leading writers urges us to breach the silence that surrounds whiteness
BROADCAST: One of America’s leading writers urges us to breach the silence that surrounds...
Kae Tempest. poet
Various times
16 Oct 2020 - 23 Oct 2020
Various times | 16 Oct 2020 - 23 Oct 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
BROADCAST: In a voice that’s unmistakable for its raw honesty, the writer meditates on creativity
BROADCAST: In a voice that’s unmistakable for its raw honesty, the writer meditates on creativity
Dawn French, actress, comedian & writer
Various times
19 Oct 2020 - 26 Oct 2020
Various times | 19 Oct 2020 - 26 Oct 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
BROADCAST: The bestselling author and comedian discusses her new novel, Because of You
BROADCAST: The bestselling author and comedian discusses her new novel, Because of You
Various times
22 Oct 2020 - 29 Oct 2020
Various times | 22 Oct 2020 - 29 Oct 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
BROADCAST: What is freedom? The author and activist reflects on what it means to be free today
BROADCAST: What is freedom? The author and activist reflects on what it means to be free today
Candice Brathwaite, writer
4:00 pm
Sat 24 Oct 2020
4:00 pm | Sat 24 Oct 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
The blogger leads a thought-provoking, urgent and inspirational discussion on life as a black mother
The blogger leads a thought-provoking, urgent and inspirational discussion on life as a black mother
Alicia Garza, activist and writer
Various times
28 Oct 2020 - 4 Nov 2020
Various times | 28 Oct 2020 - 4 Nov 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
BROADCAST: Black Lives Matter began when Alicia Garza wrote ‘a love letter to Black people’
BROADCAST: Black Lives Matter began when Alicia Garza wrote ‘a love letter to Black people’
John Cleese, actor
Various times
2 Nov 2020 - 9 Nov 2020
Various times | 2 Nov 2020 - 9 Nov 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
BROADCAST: The comedy legend shows us how to exercise our imaginations and be more creative
BROADCAST: The comedy legend shows us how to exercise our imaginations and be more creative
Adam Buxton, comedian
7:30 pm
Sun 25 Apr 2021
7:30 pm | Sun 25 Apr 2021
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Parenthood, boarding school trauma and confrontations on trains: the comedian's memoir covers it all
Parenthood, boarding school trauma and confrontations on trains: the comedian's memoir covers...
Ira Glass, radio personality
7:30 pm
Sun 27 Jun 2021
7:30 pm | Sun 27 Jun 2021
talks & debates
One of the foremost storytellers of our time pulls back the curtain on his creative process
One of the foremost storytellers of our time pulls back the curtain on his creative process
Fi Glover and Jane Garvey, BBC broadcasters
8:00 pm
Tue 20 Jul 2021
8:00 pm | Tue 20 Jul 2021
literature & poetry
talks & debates
The live show spin-off from the podcast experience no one knew they wanted, until they got it
The live show spin-off from the podcast experience no one knew they wanted, until they got it

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