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

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

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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

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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...
Nikki Giovanni , poet

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Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Mon 21 Oct 2019
7:30 pm | Mon 21 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Named as one of Oprah Winfrey’s 25 ‘living legends’, the poet discusses the power of literature
Named as one of Oprah Winfrey’s 25 ‘living legends’, the poet discusses the power of...

Free

Free

10:30 am
Tue 22 Oct 2019
10:30 am | Tue 22 Oct 2019
courses & workshops
family & young people
Eight legs are great in a Ghanaian drumming workshop inspired by a cheeky spiderman
Eight legs are great in a Ghanaian drumming workshop inspired by a cheeky spiderman
Family drumming

Free

Free

12:30 pm
Tue 22 Oct 2019
12:30 pm | Tue 22 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Let the tale of Anansi weave its web around you in a storytelling session inspired by the spiderman
Let the tale of Anansi weave its web around you in a storytelling session inspired by the spiderman
I Believe in Unicorns, part of London Literature Festival
Various times
22 Oct 2019 - 23 Oct 2019
Various times | 22 Oct 2019 - 23 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
performance & dance
Tomas’ world changes the day he meets the Unicorn Lady, in a show based on Michael Morpurgo’s children's book
Tomas’ world changes the day he meets the Unicorn Lady, in a show based on Michael Morpurgo’s...
High Rise Mystery at Southbank Centre
2:00 pm
Tue 22 Oct 2019
2:00 pm | Tue 22 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
South-east London, the hottest summer on record, and there’s been a murder in the Tri high-rise
South-east London, the hottest summer on record, and there’s been a murder in the Tri high-rise
Baby Yaga, part of London Literature Festival
Various times
22 Oct 2019 - 23 Oct 2019
Various times | 22 Oct 2019 - 23 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
performance & dance
A new take on an old Russian folktale, guaranteed to give you lots to chew on
A new take on an old Russian folktale, guaranteed to give you lots to chew on
Emma Paterson headshot
7:00 pm
Tue 22 Oct 2019
7:00 pm | Tue 22 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
What do literary agents do and how can you find the right one for you?
What do literary agents do and how can you find the right one for you?
Sold out
7:00 pm
Tue 22 Oct 2019
7:00 pm | Tue 22 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
From Hong Kong to the English countryside, these poets reflect the diversity of poetry in London today
From Hong Kong to the English countryside, these poets reflect the diversity of poetry in London...
Tracey Thorn, singer-songwriter
7:30 pm
Tue 22 Oct 2019
7:30 pm | Tue 22 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
The Polari Book Prize winners are announced at an evening from the LGBTQ+ literary salon
The Polari Book Prize winners are announced at an evening from the LGBTQ+ literary salon
Heather Morris, author

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Tue 22 Oct 2019
7:30 pm | Tue 22 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Find out what happened to Cilka Klein from author Heather Morris at a London-exclusive event
Find out what happened to Cilka Klein from author Heather Morris at a London-exclusive event
Elizabeth Day, writer and journalist
7:30 pm
Tue 22 Oct 2019
7:30 pm | Tue 22 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Part memoir, part manifesto, this is a book for anyone who has ever failed – in other words, everyone
Part memoir, part manifesto, this is a book for anyone who has ever failed – in other words,...
Elif Shafak, writer

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:45 pm
Tue 22 Oct 2019
7:45 pm | Tue 22 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Journey into the minds of the dead with the renowned authors’ latest narratives
Journey into the minds of the dead with the renowned authors’ latest narratives
Children at workshop

Free

Free

10:30 am
Wed 23 Oct 2019
10:30 am | Wed 23 Oct 2019
courses & workshops
family & young people
Conjure up your own fairy tale with mysterious paper-cut art in a story workshop
Conjure up your own fairy tale with mysterious paper-cut art in a story workshop
Tales from the Library Attic

Free

Free

12:30 pm
Wed 23 Oct 2019
12:30 pm | Wed 23 Oct 2019
courses & workshops
performance & theatre
‘Once upon a time’ goes live and interactive in a rambunctious storytelling performance
‘Once upon a time’ goes live and interactive in a rambunctious storytelling performance
Brett Anderson, singer-songwriter

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Wed 23 Oct 2019
7:30 pm | Wed 23 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Here they come, the beautiful ones: Suede's frontman reads from his second volume of memoirs
Here they come, the beautiful ones: Suede's frontman reads from his second volume of memoirs

Free

Free

10:30 am
Thu 24 Oct 2019
10:30 am | Thu 24 Oct 2019
courses & workshops
family & young people
Learn Indian dance moves for the whole family to tell an enchanting story of creation and care
Learn Indian dance moves for the whole family to tell an enchanting story of creation and care
Children listening to stories

Free

Free

12:30 pm
Thu 24 Oct 2019
12:30 pm | Thu 24 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
family & young people
Submerge yourself in an ancient tale from dancer Anusha Subramanyam, or join in and make a splash
Submerge yourself in an ancient tale from dancer Anusha Subramanyam, or join in and make a splash
7:00 pm
Thu 24 Oct 2019
7:00 pm | Thu 24 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Whether you’ve been writing for a while or are just starting, get some tips on the routes to publication
Whether you’ve been writing for a while or are just starting, get some tips on the routes to...
Querulous Insomnia, HM Prison Shotts, acrylic on canvas
7:00 pm
Thu 24 Oct 2019
7:00 pm | Thu 24 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
Hear illuminating performances of written and recorded work produced in the UK’s prisons
Hear illuminating performances of written and recorded work produced in the UK’s prisons
Sold out

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Thu 24 Oct 2019
7:30 pm | Thu 24 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Break down what’s behind contemporary Britain's culture, attitudes and roots at this talk
Break down what’s behind contemporary Britain's culture, attitudes and roots at this talk
King Midas Sound

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

9:00 pm
Thu 24 Oct 2019
9:00 pm | Thu 24 Oct 2019
gigs
electronic
Lean into the sound of loss with a live performance of the group’s ‘deep and dark’ fourth album
Lean into the sound of loss with a live performance of the group’s ‘deep and dark’ fourth...

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

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The Poetry Pharmacy Return

Literary 'Tea Large Enough' Tote Bag

Capri Bookmark

'Isometric Books' Coaster Set