Roxane Gay and Khaled Hosseini among huge names in an unmissable literature season

Tuesday, May 8, 2018 - 09:58

With a packed programme, featuring more than 120 speakers across 50 events, our 2018 literature season is certainly one not to be missed.

Between May and December this year Southbank Centre will be playing host to a star-studded line-up of award-winning literary greats, poets, emerging writers, political and social commentators and artists from across the globe.

Tickets for all the events listed below are now on general sale.

Roxane Gay headshot
10 December, Royal Festival Hall

Roxane Gay

We are proud to present the first ever UK appearance of this celebrated cultural critic and American novelist who takes to the stage to discusses her career including her most recent book Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body as well as her New York Times bestseller Bad Feminist.

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Khaled Hosseini headshot
4 September, Royal Festival Hall

Khaled Hosseini

In an exclusive UK event, is the bestselling author of The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns and And The Mountains Echoed will discuss his new illustrated story Sea Prayer with journalist Razia Iqbal, which charts the dangerous voyage made by a father and son away from their war-torn homeland in Syria.

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1 July, Queen Elizabeth Hall

Margo Jefferson with Reni Eddo-Lodge

The Pulitzer Prize winner and author of the 2016 Baillie Gifford shortlisted Negroland will be discussing her new book On Michael Jackson, which charts the rise and fall of the pivotal cultural icon, with Jhalak Prize-winning and bestselling author of Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race Reni Eddo-Lodge.

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Barbara Kingsolver headshot
12 November, Royal Festival Hall

Barbara Kingsolver

Best known for critically-acclaimed novels including The Lacuna, Flight Behaviour and The Poisonwood Bible the American author presents her much-anticipated new novel Unsheltered which explores the human capacity for resilience and compassion in times of great upheaval in an in conversation event.

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Adapted hero image of AM Homes
5 July, Queen Elizabeth Hall

AM Homes

Author of the Women’s Prize-winning May We Be Forgiven AM Homes will discuss her new book Days of Awe, exploring the aspirations and anxieties of contemporary American life.

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28 August

Jeet Thayil

The Indian writer, poet and author of the Man Booker Prize shortlisted Narcopolis presents his new work The Book of Chocolate Saints which examines the changing social and cultural landscapes of contemporary Indian life.

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Lee Child headshot
15 November, Queen Elizabeth Hall

Lee Child and Ian Rankin

Two of Britain’s leading crime writers make their Southbank Centre debuts in an exclusive London event where they will be in conversation together for the first time about their respective new books Past Tense and In A House of Lies.

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matt haig, autor, 2015
3 July, Queen Elizabeth Hall

Matt Haig

The bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive will be in conversation with journalist and fellow bestselling writer Bryony Gordon to discuss his new book Notes on a Nervous Planet - a personal look at how to stay happy in an age of anxiety.

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Anthony Horowitz headshot
1 June, Royal Festival Hall

Anthony Horowitz

The British novelist and author of over 40 books including the bestselling Alex Rider series discusses his prolific career and what it’s like to write a James Bond novel as he publishes his second book Forever and a Day about the world’s most famous spy.

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5 June, Queen Elizabeth Hall

Gordon Brown

The former British Prime Minister discusses his recent memoir My Life, Our Times which reflects on four decades on the frontline of British politics as well as a look to what happens next.

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26 June, Royal Festival Hall

Caitlin Moran

The comedian and journalist returns to Southbank Centre to present her new book How to Be Famous which examines everything from fame and how to deal with it, to why ‘bad boys’ have had their day and why we’re on the verge of a Lady Revolution.

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Man Booker 50

6-8 July

In July we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Man Booker Prize with a special festival bringing together five decades of literary greats for a series of talks and events. A unique series of ‘in conversation’s will bring together pairings including Pat Barker and Hilary Mantel on how historical fiction can shine a light on the present; Alan Hollinghurst and Marlon James considering the commonalities in their portrayal of gay sexuality and the political, cultural and sexual climates of their novels’ times; Peter Carey and Julian Barnes on literary passions, influences and storytelling techniques; and a rare public appearance from mother and daughter Anita and Kiran Desai - both prize alumni - who discuss writing across the generations.

We will also host past winners, from Penelope Lively (1987) and Kazuo Ishiguro (1989) to Eleanor Catton (2013) and Paul Beatty (2016), discussing their work in events that span literature, politics, history, art and film, plus an interview with 2017 Man Booker International winner David Grossman. The festival culminates with the awarding of the Golden Man Booker, a one-off crowning of the best work of fiction from the last five decades of the prize, as voted for by the public.

Tickets for this festival are now on general sale.

more on Man Booker 50

And that’s not all…

Reggae poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, British poet and playwright Tony Harrison, one of the greatest writers to come out of the Arab world, Egyptian feminist wordsmith Nawal El Saadawi, and acclaimed writer and illustrator Judith Kerr OBE are also all set to appear at Southbank Centre this year, as they join us for (B)old festival, which celebrates age and creativity and champions new and established artists aged 65 years and over.

And there’s more too, including a dramatic live reading of Justine and Juliette, two of Marquis de Sade’s remarkable and enduringly shocking novels, by Golden Globe Best Actress, Isabelle Huppert. Whilst The National Poetry Library hosts the world’s first instagram poetry exhibition among a packed programme of its own.


These events, and many more talks, workshops, exhibitions, festivals, live readings, performances, award ceremonies, family events and book signings all feature in our 2018 literature programme.

see the full programme