literature & poetry

Southbank Centre is the home of literature and spoken word events in the UK, and the venue for London Literature Festival and Poetry International. Our programme is brimming with today’s bestselling authors, award-winning poetry and spoken word, and dramatised readings of iconic novels from some of the world’s most inspiring writers.

The 2019 literature programme encompasses exclusive in-conversation discussions with award-winning authors including Marlon James, Angie Thomas, Ian McEwan and James Ellroy; a dramatic live reading of Max Porter's latest novel Lanny; debut novelists Candice Carty-Williams and Ocean Vuong on their much anticipated new novels; specially commissioned musical performances in response to The Lost Words by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris; a celebration of working class writers with the launch of the Common People Anthology; an expanded series of new courses, exhibitions, prizes and for poetry fans our series of National Poetry Library Lates and our new partnership with Out-Spoken will see the best new poetry showcased monthly. 

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Photo portrait of the author Philip Ardagh, who appears at Southbank Centre's Imagine festival
11:00 am
Sun 17 Feb 2019
11:00 am | Sun 17 Feb 2019
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Join Kitty Cask for deeds of derring-do at an interactive storytelling session for ages 7 - 10
Join Kitty Cask for deeds of derring-do at an interactive storytelling session for ages 7 - 10
Child enjoying Rug Rhymes at Southbank Centre

Free

Free

10:30 am
Mon 18 Feb 2019
10:30 am | Mon 18 Feb 2019
Literature
Poetry
A short session of nursery rhymes, poems and stories for under-5s and their carers
A short session of nursery rhymes, poems and stories for under-5s and their carers
Elmer, the patchwork elephant
11:00 am
Mon 18 Feb 2019
11:00 am | Mon 18 Feb 2019
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
It’s Elmer’s birthday! Celebrate 30 years of the patchwork elephant at a talk by his creator
It’s Elmer’s birthday! Celebrate 30 years of the patchwork elephant at a talk by his creator
Photo of a girl holding up a drawing she has done at a Southbank Centre poetry workshop
11:30 am
Mon 18 Feb 2019
11:30 am | Mon 18 Feb 2019
Literature
Poetry
Create cosmic illustrations that take poems to a different dimension at a children’s workshop with Ed Boxall
Create cosmic illustrations that take poems to a different dimension at a children’s workshop with...
Unavailable
Illustration of a dog for the Woof Woof Wag Wag Puppy Poems event at Southbank Centre's Imagine festival
1:30 pm
Mon 18 Feb 2019
1:30 pm | Mon 18 Feb 2019
Literature
Poetry
Pad along to hear poems about our waggiest friends at this poetry reading for ages 5 - 7
Pad along to hear poems about our waggiest friends at this poetry reading for ages 5 - 7
Photo of an audience of children and adults at the National Poetry Library at Southbank Centre
3:00 pm
Mon 18 Feb 2019
3:00 pm | Mon 18 Feb 2019
Literature
Poetry
In the mood for some powerfully persuasive poetry? Pile in to a poetry reading for ages 8 - 11
In the mood for some powerfully persuasive poetry? Pile in to a poetry reading for ages 8 - 11
Unavailable
Jeremy Strong, writer
1:00 pm
Tue 19 Feb 2019
1:00 pm | Tue 19 Feb 2019
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Laugh your socks off with Jeremy Strong as he shares the giggles from his latest children's story
Laugh your socks off with Jeremy Strong as he shares the giggles from his latest children's...
Under embargo until 13:45 7th June...Pictured at Hull City Hall is the presentation of the new Tenth Waterstones Children's Laureate. Shown is Lauren Child, the new laureate and the medal she has been awarded. Pictures copyright Darren Casey / DCimaging
1:00 pm
Thu 21 Feb 2019
1:00 pm | Thu 21 Feb 2019
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
The mind behind beloved children’s book characters Clarice Bean, Ruby Redfort and Charlie and Lola
The mind behind beloved children’s book characters Clarice Bean, Ruby Redfort and Charlie and Lola
Photo portrait of author Alex Bell
Various times
Fri 22 Feb 2019
Various times | Fri 22 Feb 2019
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Write your way to the land of ice and snow with the author of The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club
Write your way to the land of ice and snow with the author of The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club
Unavailable
Being Green illustration from The Great Big Green Book
11:00 am
Sat 23 Feb 2019
11:00 am | Sat 23 Feb 2019
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Make eco-warriors of your little ones at a reading from The Great Big Green Book
Make eco-warriors of your little ones at a reading from The Great Big Green Book

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literature & poetry highlights

25 Feb
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
The Man Booker winning author launches the first novel in his Dark Star trilogy

Ian McEwan: Machines Like Me

Image Credit 
Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/ Getty
Ian McEwan, novelist
15 Apr
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
In an exclusive event Ian McEwan reflects on his life in writing and his latest novel
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If our literature programme has you feeling inspired to put pen to paper, but you're not sure how or where to start, join one of our writing courses led by professional writers.

Choose from a selection of poetry or prose classes (or both) to develop your talent and find your voice, guided by expert instruction.

Bearing Witness in Poetry with Mary Jean Chan

23 Apr –  2 Jul 2019

Navigating Otherness: A Creative Writing Course

24 Apr –  3 Jul 2019

Out-Spoken Poetry Masterclass: Anthony Anaxagorou

11 May 2019

Out-Spoken Poetry Masterclass: Joelle Taylor

15 Jun 2019

Out-Spoken Poetry Masterclass: Raymond Antrobus

13 Jul 2019

blog: literature & poetry

story
Take a look at the inspirational writers and poets appearing here with us in summer 2019
podcast
Listen to readings and discussion from poets Richard Scott, Zaffar Kunial and winner Hannah Sullivan