festival

London Literature Festival

17 – 27 Oct 2019

Bringing new resonance to timeless narratives, Southbank Centre's London Literature Festival returns for its 13th year with an exploration of fairy tales for our times with today's leading writers, thinkers and cultural observers. 

Over 11 days of talks, readings, poetry and performance, the festival features Elizabeth Day, Armistead Maupin, Brett Anderson, Heather Morris, Lemn Sissay, Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Nikki Giovanni, Fatima Bhutto and Jung Chang. 

The festival once again opens with Poetry International, Southbank Centre's longest running festival, founded by Ted Hughes, former poet laureate, in 1967. This year follows the theme of disruption. 

Poetry International

This year’s festival features poets including Adonis, Khaled Mattawa, Patricia Smith, Nikki Giovanni, Valzhyna Mort and many more. 

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Enjoy fantastic fiction and powerful prose selected by literary experts.
Your best photos and tweets from this year's events
Enjoy some of the highlights of last year’s festival, including Hillary Rodham Clinton and Tom Hanks
Hear the DJ and visual artist in a candid discussion about his life and work
Enjoy an exclusive podcast, featuring readings and discussion on the life of the great politician, from a host of big names.
Hear the author discuss his latest work, La Belle Sauvage, in this exclusive podcast
Get to know Nordic Noir in our short interview with the Finnish crime writer
All you need to know about one of Philip Pullman’s most fascinating characters.
All you need to know about this year’s packed programme
Listen to highlights of Hillary Rodham Clinton's exclusive London appearance at Southbank Centre
The team at National Poetry Library pick out their Anne Carson must reads
Dive into 50 years of Poetry International with Chris McCabe and Sophie Mayer
The Handmaid’s Tale author on the real world her novel reflects
Listen to the tracks that take Goldie back
The drum & bass stalwart is back with his third artist album and his second autobiography
See how Hillary Rodham Clinton went from First Lady of the United States, to the cusp of Presidency
Discover more about the author ahead of his appearance at London Literature Festival
Read how photographer Annie Leibovitz considers her work on Women never done.
Use our timeline to discover what our experts predict will take place over the century to come

all events

Armistead Maupin, writer
7:30 pm
Thu 17 Oct 2019
7:30 pm | Thu 17 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
The much-loved author recounts his favourite Tales of the City in his first ever UK tour
The much-loved author recounts his favourite Tales of the City in his first ever UK tour
Readers in The Clore Ballroom, Southbank Centre

Free

Free

Various times
17 Oct 2019 - 27 Oct 2019
Various times | 17 Oct 2019 - 27 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
Voices from our Poetry for Dementia programme come through loud and clear in a sound installation
Voices from our Poetry for Dementia programme come through loud and clear in a sound installation
Jacqui, spoken word artist

Free

Free

1:00 pm
Fri 18 Oct 2019
1:00 pm | Fri 18 Oct 2019
The spoken word artist and songwriter wants us to break the rules for a reason
The spoken word artist and songwriter wants us to break the rules for a reason
Lex Amor, musical artist

Free

Free

6:00 pm
Fri 18 Oct 2019
6:00 pm | Fri 18 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
gigs
Find calm in the powerful cadences of rapper, DJ and producer Lex Amor
Find calm in the powerful cadences of rapper, DJ and producer Lex Amor
Heaux Noire illustration
6:30 pm
Fri 18 Oct 2019
6:30 pm | Fri 18 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Listen up as womxn* of colour share their stories through poetry and music
Listen up as womxn* of colour share their stories through poetry and music
Ayelet Gunder-Goshen, author
7:00 pm
Fri 18 Oct 2019
7:00 pm | Fri 18 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
What is power in the age of #MeToo? The award-winning novelist discusses her latest novel, Liar
What is power in the age of #MeToo? The award-winning novelist discusses her latest novel, Liar
Lemn Sissay, author and broadcaster

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

8:15 pm
Fri 18 Oct 2019
8:15 pm | Fri 18 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Reflect on self-expression and Britishness at this discussion on Sissay’s new memoir
Reflect on self-expression and Britishness at this discussion on Sissay’s new memoir
Novelist, record producer
10:00 pm
18 Oct 2019 - 19 Oct 2019
10:00 pm | 18 Oct 2019 - 19 Oct 2019
gigs
Once ‘poster boy of Grime’ now 2018 Mercury Prize nominee: meet the distinctive south London rapper
Once ‘poster boy of Grime’ now 2018 Mercury Prize nominee: meet the distinctive south London...
Fantastical Futures at Southbank Centre

Free

Free

Various times
12 Oct 2019 - 20 Oct 2019
Various times | 12 Oct 2019 - 20 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
Create visionary fiction in a three-day writing course led by award-winning writers and poets
Create visionary fiction in a three-day writing course led by award-winning writers and poets
Jung Chang, author

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

2:00 pm
Sat 19 Oct 2019
2:00 pm | Sat 19 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Delve into the gripping secrets of 20th-century China in this talk with the acclaimed author
Delve into the gripping secrets of 20th-century China in this talk with the acclaimed author
Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman, writers

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Sat 19 Oct 2019
7:30 pm | Sat 19 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Discuss the themes of the groundbreaking essay collection with those who edited and contributed to it
Discuss the themes of the groundbreaking essay collection with those who edited and contributed to...
Bernardine Evaristo
5:00 pm
Sun 20 Oct 2019
5:00 pm | Sun 20 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
Get a fresh perspective on ourselves, others and the UK at a conversation between the two authors
Get a fresh perspective on ourselves, others and the UK at a conversation between the two authors
7:00 pm
Sun 20 Oct 2019
7:00 pm | Sun 20 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
The best poetry being published in the British Isles today is read and recognised at this ceremony
The best poetry being published in the British Isles today is read and recognised at this ceremony
Break dancers

Free

Free

10:30 am
Mon 21 Oct 2019
10:30 am | Mon 21 Oct 2019
courses & workshops
family & young people
Red shoes not required for a free dance and music workshop on all things fairy tale
Red shoes not required for a free dance and music workshop on all things fairy tale
A child colouring at a workshop

Free

Free

Various times
21 Oct 2019 - 27 Oct 2019
Various times | 21 Oct 2019 - 27 Oct 2019
tours & activities
family & young people
Set off on a do-it-yourself adventure for families, as magical as the words ‘once upon a time’
Set off on a do-it-yourself adventure for families, as magical as the words ‘once upon a time’
Photo of children and adults joining in a dance workshop together at Southbank Centre

Free

Free

12:30 pm
Mon 21 Oct 2019
12:30 pm | Mon 21 Oct 2019
family & young people
literature & poetry
Put your fairy tale moves into practice on our dance floor, after your free workshop
Put your fairy tale moves into practice on our dance floor, after your free workshop
Planet Omar illustration
2:00 pm
Mon 21 Oct 2019
2:00 pm | Mon 21 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
Meet Omar, an accidental trouble magnet with a huge imagination
Meet Omar, an accidental trouble magnet with a huge imagination
Kishani Widyaratna, editor
7:00 pm
Mon 21 Oct 2019
7:00 pm | Mon 21 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
writers
Get advice on how to evaluate your manuscript and tackle rewriting from the Picador Books editor
Get advice on how to evaluate your manuscript and tackle rewriting from the Picador Books editor
Sold out
Fatima Bhutto, writer

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:15 pm
Mon 21 Oct 2019
7:15 pm | Mon 21 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Mass culture from the East is taking on Hollywood and finding a truly global audience
Mass culture from the East is taking on Hollywood and finding a truly global audience
East West Street book cover

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Mon 21 Oct 2019
7:30 pm | Mon 21 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
A partly staged reading inspired by Philippe Sands’ award-winning bestseller about the Nuremberg trials
A partly staged reading inspired by Philippe Sands’ award-winning bestseller about the Nuremberg...

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Multi-buy ticket offers

Book three or more literature and poetry events in the same transaction and receive a 25% discount. Selected events only.

To take advantage of our multi-buy offers look out for literature and poetry events displaying the yellow multi-buy label. You will be able to navigate back to the full list of events in each multi-buy by clicking the links below the titles on event pages or the multi-buy links in the 'what's on' listings. 

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literature stories

story
The internationally bestselling author on the fascinating story of Lale Sokolov
story
The popular children’s author discusses his new book
story
What to see and hear at our longest running festival

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Literary 'Tea Large Enough' Tote Bag

Capri Bookmark

'Isometric Books' Coaster Set

The Poetry Pharmacy Return