John le Carré and Zadie Smith in an unmissable literature season

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 - 16:58

Introducing our stellar line-up of literary talks for 2017, bringing some of contemporary literature’s most era-defining writers to Southbank Centre.

Why host just one of the greatest figures of modern literature, when you could host nine? Across this summer and into autumn Southbank Centre hosts talks from nine visionary writers, each with a distinctive insight into our times. From era-defining and award-winning authors to some of contemporary literature’s most radical writers, these are essential voices, whose work expands our sense of shared humanity. Take a look at the star-studded programme, below.

With such luminaries of literature lined up, demand for tickets is set to be through our Grade I listed roof, so beat the rush by becoming a Southbank Centre member. Our members will be first in line when tickets for each of these unmissable talks go on sale.

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Thursday 7 September

John le Carré

In an exclusive one-off event, the internationally best-selling writer of espionage fiction makes a rare public appearance to introduce his new novel, A Legacy of Spies, which sees the return of his most iconic Cold War character, George Smiley. In this unique Q&A, le Carré discusses the full breadth of his career.

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Tuesday 4 July

Naomi Klein

Internationally acclaimed journalist, activist and best-selling author Naomi Klein returns to the Royal Festival Hall to present her new book No Is Not Enough, an exploration of the tactics used to bring Donald Trump into power as well as what happens next.

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Thursday 6 July

Zadie Smith

The multi-award-winning writer of White Teeth and On Beauty discusses her fiction and essays and reads from her new novel Swing Time, which follows the friendship of two girls who both dream of being dancers. Smith also reflects on the challenge of capturing a changing world on the page.

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Thursday 13 July

Laurie Penny

One of Britain’s most radical and progressive writers, New Statesman columnist Laurie Penny presents her new book Bitch Doctrine: Essays for Dissenting Adults, a collection of her writing which provokes challenging conversations around today’s definitive social issues.

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Thursday 17 August

Teju Cole

The award-winning American-Nigerian author and photographer presents his innovative new work, Blind Spot, which brings together Cole’s two great passions - words and photography. In a special live event, Cole uses these passions to transport the audience around the world, evoking landscapes inspired by his memories, fantasies and introspections.

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Literature has anticipated many of the changes we have seen in the last twelve months, and distilled seismic historical shifts into unforgettable writing. Few epitomise this power of literature to place global events on a human scale more than this exceptional array of authors we host this season.
Ted Hodgkinson, Senior Programmer, Literature and Spoken Word, Southbank Centre
Friday 15 September

Orhan Pamuk

Nobel Prize winning author Orhan Pamuk reads from and discusses his latest novel The Red-Haired Woman, which interweaves an investigation into a thirty year old murder in Istanbul and a fictional inquiry into the fundamental myths of the West and the East.

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Monday 2 October

Margaret Atwood

The legendary writer of science-fiction returns to Royal Festival Hall in an exclusive London appearance to discuss her most famous works, including The Handmaid’s Tale, looking not only at the book’s past, present and future, but also the real world it reflects.

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Monday 30 October

Rebecca Solnit

In another exclusive London event, the award-winning author presents her new collection of essays, The Mother of All Questions. Solnit offers indispensable commentary on women who refuse to be silenced, and her new work aims to open up feminism for everyone.

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Monday 6 November

William Boyd

A multi-award winning author, William Boyd is one of Britain’s most prolific storytellers alive today. The author takes to the stage alone to talk about his life as a creator of many fictions, including his new book of short stories The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth, from which he gives an exclusive reading.

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be first in line

Becoming a member is the only way to ensure you don’t miss out on our fascinating literature programme. Our members enjoy priority booking for all Southbank Centre events plus many other benefits, including 10% off at Foyle’s bookshop at Royal Festival Hall.