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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WS Graham, poet

Free

Free

6:30 pm
Mon 25 Mar 2019
6:30 pm | Mon 25 Mar 2019
Literature
Poetry
Uncover the work of Scottish poet WS Graham at National Poetry Library's spring book club
Uncover the work of Scottish poet WS Graham at National Poetry Library's spring book club
Image credit Barrie Tullett

Free

Free

Various times
30 Apr 2019 - 30 Jun 2019
Various times | 30 Apr 2019 - 30 Jun 2019
Art
Literature
Journey to Paradise with artist Barrie Tullett in an exhibition responding to the Divine Comedy
Journey to Paradise with artist Barrie Tullett in an exhibition responding to the Divine Comedy
 Ten Years of Long Poem Magazine

Free

Free

8:00 pm
Wed 03 Apr 2019
8:00 pm | Wed 03 Apr 2019
Literature
Poetry
Celebrate the magazine's 10th birthday with editors Linda Black and Claire Crowther and guest poets
Celebrate the magazine's 10th birthday with editors Linda Black and Claire Crowther and guest...
Ian McEwan, novelist
7:30 pm
Mon 15 Apr 2019
7:30 pm | Mon 15 Apr 2019
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
In an exclusive event Ian McEwan reflects on his life in writing and his latest novel
In an exclusive event Ian McEwan reflects on his life in writing and his latest novel
Candice Carty-Williams, writer
7:45 pm
Wed 17 Apr 2019
7:45 pm | Wed 17 Apr 2019
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
The novelist behind funny and frank debut Queenie talks life, love, race and family with June Sarpong
The novelist behind funny and frank debut Queenie talks life, love, race and family with June...
Mary Jean Chan, author
7:00 pm
Tue 23 Apr 2019
7:00 pm | Tue 23 Apr 2019
Literature
Poetry
Uncover the ways in which poetry enables us to utter what is unspeakable in a six-week course
Uncover the ways in which poetry enables us to utter what is unspeakable in a six-week course
Women Rewriting Homer: Madeline Miller & Sharlene Teo
7:00 pm
Wed 24 Apr 2019
7:00 pm | Wed 24 Apr 2019
Literature
Writers
How do we write different perspectives from our own?
How do we write different perspectives from our own?
Unavailable
Writer, Hisham Matar
7:15 pm
Tue 30 Apr 2019
7:15 pm | Tue 30 Apr 2019
Art
Literature
Hear the Pulitzer Prize-winning author on the themes of his work, from memory and family to war and repair
Hear the Pulitzer Prize-winning author on the themes of his work, from memory and family to war and...
Image credit Barrie Tullett

Free

Free

7:30 pm
Tue 30 Apr 2019
7:30 pm | Tue 30 Apr 2019
Art
Literature
See the Divine Comedy anew at the launch of Barrie Tullett's exhibition responding to the epic poem
See the Divine Comedy anew at the launch of Barrie Tullett's exhibition responding to the epic...
Kit de Waal, writer
7:30 pm
Wed 01 May 2019
7:30 pm | Wed 01 May 2019
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
What does it mean to be working class in Britain today?
What does it mean to be working class in Britain today?
Kim Hyesoon, poet
8:00 pm
Wed 01 May 2019
8:00 pm | Wed 01 May 2019
Literature
Poetry
Our new series of poetry salons continues with poets Kim Hyesoon and Don Mee Choi
Our new series of poetry salons continues with poets Kim Hyesoon and Don Mee Choi
Rose McGowan, author and activist
7:30 pm
Sat 04 May 2019
7:30 pm | Sat 04 May 2019
Literature
Talks & Topics
The actor and activist discusses her life and the realities of exposing the truth about injustice
The actor and activist discusses her life and the realities of exposing the truth about injustice
Robert Macfarlane
7:15 pm
Tue 07 May 2019
7:15 pm | Tue 07 May 2019
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
The author of The Lost Words takes us on a voyage into the Earth's underworlds with his new book
The author of The Lost Words takes us on a voyage into the Earth's underworlds with his new...
Bang Said The Gun, poet on stage with a Mic
8:00 pm
Wed 08 May 2019
8:00 pm | Wed 08 May 2019
Literature
Poetry
Like mud wrestling, only with words: the stand-up poetry night that's an antidote to dreary poetry
Like mud wrestling, only with words: the stand-up poetry night that's an antidote to dreary...
Unavailable
Workshop participants sat at a table
1:00 pm
Sat 11 May 2019
1:00 pm | Sat 11 May 2019
Literature
Poetry
When is a poem finished? Find out at a workshop with the poet and founder of Out-Spoken
When is a poem finished? Find out at a workshop with the poet and founder of Out-Spoken
Poet performing on stage
7:45 pm
Thu 16 May 2019
7:45 pm | Thu 16 May 2019
Literature
Poetry
Poets Raymond Antrobus, Inua Ellams and Rebecca Tamás share their work in the first of a new series
Poets Raymond Antrobus, Inua Ellams and Rebecca Tamás share their work in the first of a new series
Olga Tokarczuk at the Man Booker podium
7:45 pm
Mon 20 May 2019
7:45 pm | Mon 20 May 2019
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Join this year’s shortlisted authors and translators for an evening of readings and conversation
Join this year’s shortlisted authors and translators for an evening of readings and conversation
 Headshot of James Ellroy, American crime writer
7:30 pm
Mon 27 May 2019
7:30 pm | Mon 27 May 2019
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
The ‘demon dog of American literature’ on new novel This Storm and his life in writing
The ‘demon dog of American literature’ on new novel This Storm and his life in writing
7:15 pm
Thu 30 May 2019
7:15 pm | Thu 30 May 2019
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
Funny and furious, bold and clear-sighted: the latest novel from the constantly evolving writer
Funny and furious, bold and clear-sighted: the latest novel from the constantly evolving writer
Karen Armstrong, author
7:15 pm
Mon 03 Jun 2019
7:15 pm | Mon 03 Jun 2019
Literature
Talks & Topics
One of the world’s leading commentators on religion speaks on the use and abuse of holy texts
One of the world’s leading commentators on religion speaks on the use and abuse of holy texts

Pages

literature & poetry highlights

23 Apr
Literature
Poetry
Uncover the ways in which poetry enables us to utter what is unspeakable in a six-week course
27 May
Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
The ‘demon dog of American literature’ on new novel This Storm and his life in writing
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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
The author introduces her new novel Lost Children Archive
story
Take a look at the inspirational writers and poets appearing here with us in summer 2019