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, Art Spiegelman discusses his harrowing graphic novel, Maus, podcaster Pandora Sykes of The High Low presents her brand new book, and world experts tackle the climate emergency.  

We also welcome Lisa Taddeo, Tayari Jones, Laura Bates, Samantha Irby and Ferran Adrià.

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Tayari Jones, writer
7:15 pm
Mon 01 Jun 2020
7:15 pm | Mon 01 Jun 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
The author's latest novel is a breathtaking story about the delicate threads that bind a family together
The author's latest novel is a breathtaking story about the delicate threads that bind a family...
scrapbook

Free

Free

Various times
30 Apr 2020 - 23 Aug 2020
Various times | 30 Apr 2020 - 23 Aug 2020
art & exhibitions
literature & poetry
Mark the centenary of the Scottish poet at an exhibition focused on his visual poetry and his life
Mark the centenary of the Scottish poet at an exhibition focused on his visual poetry and his life
David Sedaris, writer
Various times
10 Jul 2021 - 11 Jul 2021
Various times | 10 Jul 2021 - 11 Jul 2021
literature & poetry
Get to the heart of the human condition at a live show of the bestselling author’s sardonic wit
Get to the heart of the human condition at a live show of the bestselling author’s sardonic wit
 Ferran Adrià, chef
7:45 pm
Wed 03 Jun 2020
7:45 pm | Wed 03 Jun 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Famous for his pioneering culinary techniques, the chef has been applauded and imitated around the world
Famous for his pioneering culinary techniques, the chef has been applauded and imitated around the...

Free

Free

8:00 pm
Wed 03 Jun 2020
8:00 pm | Wed 03 Jun 2020
literature & poetry
poetry
Packed with wit, energy and heartache, it's a new anthology of Ethiopian Amharic poetry in English
Packed with wit, energy and heartache, it's a new anthology of Ethiopian Amharic poetry in...
Laura Bates, writer
7:45 pm
Thu 04 Jun 2020
7:45 pm | Thu 04 Jun 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
The founder of the Everyday Sexism Project discusses her explosive new book
The founder of the Everyday Sexism Project discusses her explosive new book
Children at poetry workshop

Free

Free

Various times
17 Jan 2020 - 10 Jul 2020
Various times | 17 Jan 2020 - 10 Jul 2020
family & young people
poetry
Find your spot on the poem rug for a short session of nursery rhymes and poems for under-5s
Find your spot on the poem rug for a short session of nursery rhymes and poems for under-5s
Out-Spoken Poetry Masterclass attendees
1:00 pm
Sat 06 Jun 2020
1:00 pm | Sat 06 Jun 2020
literature & poetry
poetry
Write your own truth at a workshop with the freethinking poet and host of Out-Spoken Joelle Taylor
Write your own truth at a workshop with the freethinking poet and host of Out-Spoken Joelle Taylor
Poet performing on stage
7:45 pm
Wed 10 Jun 2020
7:45 pm | Wed 10 Jun 2020
gigs
literature & poetry
Settle in for an evening of live music and poetry, headlined by Fiona Benson and Wayne Holloway-Smith
Settle in for an evening of live music and poetry, headlined by Fiona Benson and Wayne...
Anthony David
7:30 pm
Mon 22 Jun 2020
7:30 pm | Mon 22 Jun 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Do mental health problems lie in a person’s biology, their psychology or their circumstances?
Do mental health problems lie in a person’s biology, their psychology or their circumstances?
Jen Brister, writer
7:30 pm
Tue 23 Jun 2020
7:30 pm | Tue 23 Jun 2020
literature & poetry
poetry
Polari strides into summer with fiery new literary commentaries on queer hearts, hopes and heroes
Polari strides into summer with fiery new literary commentaries on queer hearts, hopes and heroes
Natalie Diaz, poet
7:45 pm
Wed 24 Jun 2020
7:45 pm | Wed 24 Jun 2020
literature & poetry
poetry
Bend your ear for poetry inspired by our Hayward Gallery exhibition Reverb: Sound Into Art
Bend your ear for poetry inspired by our Hayward Gallery exhibition Reverb: Sound Into Art
Brit Bennett, author
7:45 pm
Thu 25 Jun 2020
7:45 pm | Thu 25 Jun 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
The new novel from bestselling author of The Mothers details the parallel lives of estranged twin sisters
The new novel from bestselling author of The Mothers details the parallel lives of estranged twin...
Percival Everett, writer
7:00 pm
Sun 28 Jun 2020
7:00 pm | Sun 28 Jun 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
A master storyteller celebrates the UK publication of his hilarious take on race, class and identity
A master storyteller celebrates the UK publication of his hilarious take on race, class and identity
Rebecca Giggs, wirter
7:15 pm
Wed 01 Jul 2020
7:15 pm | Wed 01 Jul 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
What does it mean to write about the natural world in times of crisis?
What does it mean to write about the natural world in times of crisis?
Dara McAnulty, naturalist
7:00 pm
Thu 09 Jul 2020
7:00 pm | Thu 09 Jul 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
The activist launches his first book, Diary of a Young Naturalist, in conversation with Robert Macfarlane
The activist launches his first book, Diary of a Young Naturalist, in conversation with Robert...
6:30 pm
Mon 13 Jul 2020
6:30 pm | Mon 13 Jul 2020
literature & poetry
poetry
Playful and profound, innovative and humane, poet Edwin Morgan’s work comes alive at our book club
Playful and profound, innovative and humane, poet Edwin Morgan’s work comes alive at our book club
Pandora Sykes, writer
10:11 pm
Sun 31 May 2020
10:11 pm | Sun 31 May 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
What does the right life even look like? And why do so many women feel like they’re getting it wrong?
What does the right life even look like? And why do so many women feel like they’re getting it...
Poet performing on stage
7:45 pm
Thu 16 Jul 2020
7:45 pm | Thu 16 Jul 2020
gigs
literature & poetry
Headlining our monthly poetry and music evening, poet Caroline Bird reads from her latest collection
Headlining our monthly poetry and music evening, poet Caroline Bird reads from her latest collection
Out-Spoken at Southbank Centre
1:00 pm
Sat 18 Jul 2020
1:00 pm | Sat 18 Jul 2020
literature & poetry
poetry
Open the door to your creativity at our monthly three-hour weekend poetry writing workshop
Open the door to your creativity at our monthly three-hour weekend poetry writing workshop
Convenience Store Woman
7:45 pm
Mon 27 Jul 2020
7:45 pm | Mon 27 Jul 2020
literature & poetry
performance & dance
Sayaka Murata's quirky and profound novel comes to the stage for the first time
Sayaka Murata's quirky and profound novel comes to the stage for the first time
Rachel Long, poet
7:45 pm
Tue 28 Jul 2020
7:45 pm | Tue 28 Jul 2020
literature & poetry
poetry
The poet's debut navigates shame, the body, sex, faith, Blackness, lineage, prophecy and healing
The poet's debut navigates shame, the body, sex, faith, Blackness, lineage, prophecy and...
Diana Souhami, writer
7:30 pm
Fri 31 Jul 2020
7:30 pm | Fri 31 Jul 2020
literature & poetry
poetry
The LGBTQ+ literary salon shines a spotlight on the bestselling writer known for incisive biographies
The LGBTQ+ literary salon shines a spotlight on the bestselling writer known for incisive...
Caleb Femi: poet
7:45 pm
Fri 31 Jul 2020
7:45 pm | Fri 31 Jul 2020
literature & poetry
poetry
The trials and joys of London's youth are brought to light in the poet’s debut collection
The trials and joys of London's youth are brought to light in the poet’s debut collection
8:00 pm
Wed 02 Sep 2020
8:00 pm | Wed 02 Sep 2020
literature & poetry
poetry
Join us for the premiere of a new film and poster publication by the legendary London writer
Join us for the premiere of a new film and poster publication by the legendary London writer
Martha Lane Fox, businesswoman and philanthropist
6:30 pm
Tue 08 Sep 2020
6:30 pm | Tue 08 Sep 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
In its 25th year, the annual book award that honours fiction by women presents its shortlist
In its 25th year, the annual book award that honours fiction by women presents its shortlist
Lisa Taddeo, author
7:30 pm
Thu 17 Sep 2020
7:30 pm | Thu 17 Sep 2020
literature & poetry
accessible events
A record of unmet needs, unspoken thoughts, disappointments, hopes and unrelenting obsessions
A record of unmet needs, unspoken thoughts, disappointments, hopes and unrelenting obsessions
Fi Glover and Jane Garvey, BBC broadcasters
8:00 pm
Sun 20 Sep 2020
8:00 pm | Sun 20 Sep 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
The live show spin-off from the podcast experience no one knew they wanted, until they got it
The live show spin-off from the podcast experience no one knew they wanted, until they got it
Adam Buxton, comedian
7:00 pm
Sun 04 Oct 2020
7:00 pm | Sun 04 Oct 2020
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Parenthood, boarding school trauma and confrontations on trains: the comedian's memoir covers it all
Parenthood, boarding school trauma and confrontations on trains: the comedian's memoir covers...
David Mitchell, writer
7:30 pm
Mon 05 Oct 2020
7:30 pm | Mon 05 Oct 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
The bestselling author of Cloud Atlas launches his first novel in five years in a London exclusive
The bestselling author of Cloud Atlas launches his first novel in five years in a London exclusive
Candice Brathwaite, writer
4:00 pm
Sat 24 Oct 2020
4:00 pm | Sat 24 Oct 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
The blogger leads a thought-provoking, urgent and inspirational discussion on life as a black mother
The blogger leads a thought-provoking, urgent and inspirational discussion on life as a black mother
Johny Pitts, writer
7:00 pm
Tue 09 Mar 2021
7:00 pm | Tue 09 Mar 2021
gigs
literature & poetry
All aboard for an exhilarating whistle-stop tour of unseen Europe using music, words, images and film
All aboard for an exhilarating whistle-stop tour of unseen Europe using music, words, images and...

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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.

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podcast
The writer and star of Fleabag discusses the television phenomenon
story
The activist and writer on how the restrictions of lockdown have altered his interaction with nature

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