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.

This season Malcolm Gladwell explores the mysteries of strangers, Celeste Ng talks character development, Richard Dawkins makes an argument for atheism and Richard Ayoade reflects on his award-winning films and comedy. Our upcoming events also include talks from Louis Theroux, Nadiya Hussain and Sir Lenny Henry. 

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London Literature Festival & Poetry International

16 – 27 OCT 2019

Over 11 days of talks, readings, poetry and performance, featuring Elizabeth Day, Armistead Maupin, Brett Anderson, Heather Morris, Lemn Sissay, Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) – and many more.

view full line-up

The Bolds Go Wild, illustration
10:15 am
Thu 17 Oct 2019
10:15 am | Thu 17 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
An interactive event for Key Stage 2 pupils, with laugh-out-loud readings, amazing live drawing and more
An interactive event for Key Stage 2 pupils, with laugh-out-loud readings, amazing live drawing and...
The Bolds with Julian Clary & David Roberts

Free

Free

11:00 am
Thu 17 Oct 2019
11:00 am | Thu 17 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
writers
Live-stream the creators of The Bolds, Julian Clary and David Roberts, into your classroom for a fun-packed reading
Live-stream the creators of The Bolds, Julian Clary and David Roberts, into your classroom for a...
Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Free

Free

Various times
16 Oct 2019 - 17 Nov 2019
Various times | 16 Oct 2019 - 17 Nov 2019
art & exhibitions
literature & poetry
Toast to Beat poet, painter and activist Lawrence Ferlinghetti's 100th birthday at this exhibition
Toast to Beat poet, painter and activist Lawrence Ferlinghetti's 100th birthday at this...
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
Out-Spoken: October at Southbank Centre
7:45 pm
Thu 17 Oct 2019
7:45 pm | Thu 17 Oct 2019
gigs
literature & poetry
Ring in Poetry International festival with your monthly dose of stellar live music and poetry
Ring in Poetry International festival with your monthly dose of stellar live music and poetry
Lex Amor, musical artist

Free

Free

5:30 pm
Fri 18 Oct 2019
5:30 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
Valzhyna Mort
10:15 am
Sat 19 Oct 2019
10:15 am | Sat 19 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
courses & workshops
Train your eye and ear on the choices that construct poetic meaning in a poetry masterclass
Train your eye and ear on the choices that construct poetic meaning in a poetry masterclass

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highlights

22 Sep
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Join the author as he helps us rethink the big questions about how our world came to be
8 Sep
literature & poetry
talks & debates
The wait is over for the next novel in the groundbreaking young adult fiction series Noughts & Crosses
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A variety of events in our literature and poetry programme, including talks, spoken word and live performances, are British Sign Language interpreted and/or Speech-to-Text transcribed. Access information for each event can be found in the ‘need to know’ section, underneath the main description of the event. 

If an event in our literature programme does not have an access provision, you can request one by emailing Customer Relations at customerrelations@southbankcentre.co.uk or by phoning our Ticket Office on 020 3879 9555 at least one month ahead of the event. We will try to provide a service wherever possible.

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You may be eligible for concessionary tickets if you have specific seating requirements, with a complimentary seat for your companion, under our Access Scheme.

find out more about access & facilities

view accessible literature events

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. 

see what's on

blog: literature & poetry

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The poet on the importance of Picasso’s work and the challenge of responding to it
story
Take the chance to hear from authors, writers and publishers in a series of intimate short talks
story
Introducing an award-winning author with an increasingly global following

explore our programme