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.

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Guernica Remakings at Southbank Centre

Free

Free

Various times
26 Jul 2019 - 22 Sep 2019
Various times | 26 Jul 2019 - 22 Sep 2019
art & exhibitions
literature & poetry
Picasso's anti-war masterpiece is seen anew in a multimedia exhibition curated by Nicola Ashmore
Picasso's anti-war masterpiece is seen anew in a multimedia exhibition curated by Nicola...
Etgar Keret, writer
7:15 pm
Tue 03 Sep 2019
7:15 pm | Tue 03 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Hear from renowned short-story writer Etgar Keret as he presents a new collection, Fly Already
Hear from renowned short-story writer Etgar Keret as he presents a new collection, Fly Already
A Homage to Razz at Southbank Centre
8:00 pm
Wed 04 Sep 2019
8:00 pm | Wed 04 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
Celebrate the life of poet and musician Razz in an evening of readings and tribute
Celebrate the life of poet and musician Razz in an evening of readings and tribute
Richard Ayoade, actor, comedian, writer and director
7:30 pm
Thu 05 Sep 2019
7:30 pm | Thu 05 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
The writer and director reflects on his award-winning films and comedy in conversation with Adam Buxton
The writer and director reflects on his award-winning films and comedy in conversation with Adam...
Malorie Blackman, writer
2:00 pm
Sun 08 Sep 2019
2:00 pm | Sun 08 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
The wait is over for the next novel in the groundbreaking young adult fiction series Noughts & Crosses
The wait is over for the next novel in the groundbreaking young adult fiction series Noughts &...
Sara Pascoe, comedian
7:30 pm
Sun 08 Sep 2019
7:30 pm | Sun 08 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Assess what really matters to humans at this talk with the award-winning comedian and author
Assess what really matters to humans at this talk with the award-winning comedian and author
Nathan Filer, writer
7:15 pm
Mon 09 Sep 2019
7:15 pm | Mon 09 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Hear from two award-winning writers as they challenge myths and misconceptions around patient care
Hear from two award-winning writers as they challenge myths and misconceptions around patient care
7:30 pm
Fri 13 Sep 2019
7:30 pm | Fri 13 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
performance & dance
Taking us from Lagos to London, the writer tells the story of her life through narrative, music and dance
Taking us from Lagos to London, the writer tells the story of her life through narrative, music and...
Akala, rapper and activist
2:45 pm
Sat 14 Sep 2019
2:45 pm | Sat 14 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Consider who decides how and where black cultural memory is preserved at our talk
Consider who decides how and where black cultural memory is preserved at our talk

Free

Free

6:00 pm
Sat 14 Sep 2019
6:00 pm | Sat 14 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
What is the experience of Black men in Britain? Black British poets present a night of poetry and music
What is the experience of Black men in Britain? Black British poets present a night of poetry and...
Letters Live at Southbank Centre
7:00 pm
Sat 14 Sep 2019
7:00 pm | Sat 14 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
Great performers read remarkable letters from down the centuries and around the world
Great performers read remarkable letters from down the centuries and around the world
Philippa Perry
7:30 pm
Thu 19 Sep 2019
7:30 pm | Thu 19 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
How much does our own upbringing affect our parenting?
How much does our own upbringing affect our parenting?
Workshop participants sat at a table
1:00 pm
Sat 21 Sep 2019
1:00 pm | Sat 21 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
Channel your inner poet at this monthly poetry masterclass
Channel your inner poet at this monthly poetry masterclass
Richard Dawkins, ethologist
7:30 pm
Sun 22 Sep 2019
7:30 pm | Sun 22 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Join the author as he helps us rethink the big questions about how our world came to be
Join the author as he helps us rethink the big questions about how our world came to be
Sabrina Mahfouz, poet
7:45 pm
Mon 23 Sep 2019
7:45 pm | Mon 23 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Join us for the launch of this anthology of working-class artists on art, life and making it happen
Join us for the launch of this anthology of working-class artists on art, life and making it happen
Will Harris, poet
7:00 pm
Wed 25 Sep 2019
7:00 pm | Wed 25 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
What can poetry tell us about others and about ourselves?
What can poetry tell us about others and about ourselves?
Antoni Porowski, TV personality
7:30 pm
Wed 25 Sep 2019
7:30 pm | Wed 25 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Serve up your burning questions about food and healthy living for the Queer Eye star and author
Serve up your burning questions about food and healthy living for the Queer Eye star and author
Louis Theroux, filmmaker
7:30 pm
Wed 25 Sep 2019
7:30 pm | Wed 25 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Journey through the highs and lows of two decades of groundbreaking work with the documentarian
Journey through the highs and lows of two decades of groundbreaking work with the documentarian
Out-Spoken: September at Southbank Centre
7:45 pm
Thu 26 Sep 2019
7:45 pm | Thu 26 Sep 2019
gigs
literature & poetry
Kick off Out-Spoken’s Southbank Centre residency with a night of superlative poetry and live music
Kick off Out-Spoken’s Southbank Centre residency with a night of superlative poetry and live music
Lenny Henry, comedian
7:30 pm
Mon 30 Sep 2019
7:30 pm | Mon 30 Sep 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Get ready to guffaw as the cherished comedian takes the stage to share his long-awaited autobiography
Get ready to guffaw as the cherished comedian takes the stage to share his long-awaited...
Courttia Newland, writer
7:00 pm
Wed 02 Oct 2019
7:00 pm | Wed 02 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
Learn to map the ever-shifting terrain of the urban metropolis in a six-session course
Learn to map the ever-shifting terrain of the urban metropolis in a six-session course
A Bargain with the Light: Poems after Lee Miller
8:00 pm
Wed 02 Oct 2019
8:00 pm | Wed 02 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
Poet Jacqueline Saphra reflects on photos of, and by, the photographer, model and war journalist
Poet Jacqueline Saphra reflects on photos of, and by, the photographer, model and war journalist
10:30 am
Thu 03 Oct 2019
10:30 am | Thu 03 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Get wordy with your class at a day of workshops and performances on National Poetry Day 2019
Get wordy with your class at a day of workshops and performances on National Poetry Day 2019

Free

Free

2:00 pm
Thu 03 Oct 2019
2:00 pm | Thu 03 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Round off National Poetry Day with performances on the year’s theme of ‘truth’
Round off National Poetry Day with performances on the year’s theme of ‘truth’
Celeste Ng, author
7:30 pm
Sun 06 Oct 2019
7:30 pm | Sun 06 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
What creates compelling and realistic characters? Ask the bestselling author at this in-depth talk
What creates compelling and realistic characters? Ask the bestselling author at this in-depth talk
Fantastical Futures at Southbank Centre

Free

Free

Various times
12 Oct 2019 - 20 Oct 2019
Various times | 12 Oct 2019 - 20 Oct 2019
family & young people
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
Out-Spoken at Southbank Centre
1:00 pm
Sat 12 Oct 2019
1:00 pm | Sat 12 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
Unlock your poetic mind and get valuable feedback at this masterclass facilitated by leading poets
Unlock your poetic mind and get valuable feedback at this masterclass facilitated by leading poets
Man Booker at Southbank Centre
7:30 pm
Sun 13 Oct 2019
7:30 pm | Sun 13 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Meet the 2019 Booker Prize shortlist in an evening of readings and conversation
Meet the 2019 Booker Prize shortlist in an evening of readings and conversation
The Perseverance by Raymond Antrobus (Penned in the Margins)
6:30 pm
Mon 14 Oct 2019
6:30 pm | Mon 14 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
Get closer to the poet's extraordinary debut, The Perseverance, at our National Poetry Library Book Club
Get closer to the poet's extraordinary debut, The Perseverance, at our National Poetry Library...
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...
Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Free

Free

7:30 pm
Wed 16 Oct 2019
7:30 pm | Wed 16 Oct 2019
art & exhibitions
literature & poetry
Raise a glass to artist Lawrence Ferlinghetti in his 100th year at this exhibition launch
Raise a glass to artist Lawrence Ferlinghetti in his 100th year at this exhibition launch
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...
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
Meena Kandasamy, writer and translator
11:00 am
Sat 19 Oct 2019
11:00 am | Sat 19 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
A panel of poets and translators discuss the disruptive and transformational nature of translation
A panel of poets and translators discuss the disruptive and transformational nature of translation
Gold patten print

Free

Free

12:00 pm
Sat 19 Oct 2019
12:00 pm | Sat 19 Oct 2019
art & exhibitions
literature & poetry
Peek into the National Poetry Library's collections to browse hidden gems and enjoy live readings and displays
Peek into the National Poetry Library's collections to browse hidden gems and enjoy live...
Raymond Antrobus

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

1:30 pm
Sat 19 Oct 2019
1:30 pm | Sat 19 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
Poets Raymond Antrobus, Ilya Kaminsky and Lisa Kelly share the stage to perform their latest works
Poets Raymond Antrobus, Ilya Kaminsky and Lisa Kelly share the stage to perform their latest works
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
Iris Colomb, poet and translator
3:00 pm
Sat 19 Oct 2019
3:00 pm | Sat 19 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
Hear the work of three poets who are at the forefront of a new generation of experimentation
Hear the work of three poets who are at the forefront of a new generation of experimentation
Nineb Lamassau

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

6:30 pm
Sat 19 Oct 2019
6:30 pm | Sat 19 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
Be here for the launch of a groundbreaking anthology of poetry written in endangered languages
Be here for the launch of a groundbreaking anthology of poetry written in endangered languages
Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman, writers

Multi-buy discount

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...
My Name is My Own at Southbank Centre
10:00 pm
Sat 19 Oct 2019
10:00 pm | Sat 19 Oct 2019
performance & theatre
literature & poetry
Confront issues of rights at a performance by black and brown women and non-binary people
Confront issues of rights at a performance by black and brown women and non-binary people
Audience members at Imagine festival

Free

Free

12:00 pm
Sun 20 Oct 2019
12:00 pm | Sun 20 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
Ping, whoosh, kapow: there's a poem going off
Ping, whoosh, kapow: there's a poem going off
Adonis and Khaled Mattawa: A New Divan

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

12:00 pm
Sun 20 Oct 2019
12:00 pm | Sun 20 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
poetry
Mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of Goethe's great work of world literature
Mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of Goethe's great work of world literature

Pages

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

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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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blog: literature & poetry

story
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