talks & debates

Our year-round programme of talks and debates showcases leading thinkers, activists, politicians and cultural observers. Be stimulated by new thoughts and ideas, or challenged to see the world with fresh eyes by today’s most exciting speakers.

This season documentarian Louis Theroux reflects on two decades of groundbreaking work and Lenny Henry takes us on a trip down memory lane. Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain talks cake and kids and comedian Sara Pascoe assesses what really matters to humans. We also welcome Malcolm Gladwell, Richard Dawkins, Hannah Gadsby and many more.

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Perhaps you don’t recognise that you have power but if you’re doing something to try to make a change you are already exercising power.
Cassa Pancho MBE, Founder of Ballet Black, speaking at Southbank Centre in 2018
The paradox of the last 20 years has been that we have increased our communication, its frequency, participants and methods to do so. But instead of taking this opportunity to produce a clear picture of the world, the content of that information, and what we actually know, is decreasing.
Yannis Varoufakis, speaking at Southbank Centre in 2015

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Headshot of  Jeremy Noel-Tod
2:00 pm
Sun 12 Jan 2020
2:00 pm | Sun 12 Jan 2020
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
On the day of the TS Eliot Prize Readings, the poetry critic assesses this year's shortlist
On the day of the TS Eliot Prize Readings, the poetry critic assesses this year's shortlist
Supertato illustration
11:00 am
Sat 15 Feb 2020
11:00 am | Sat 15 Feb 2020
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Supertato's always there for you when the chips are down
Supertato's always there for you when the chips are down
Cressida Cowell, author
10:45 am
Mon 17 Feb 2020
10:45 am | Mon 17 Feb 2020
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Calling creators of the future – hear from the pros on how to grow your own magical ideas
Calling creators of the future – hear from the pros on how to grow your own magical ideas
Robin Stevens, author
1:00 pm
Tue 18 Feb 2020
1:00 pm | Tue 18 Feb 2020
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Create and solve a mystery of your very own with the author of the Murder Most Unladylike series
Create and solve a mystery of your very own with the author of the Murder Most Unladylike series
Cerrie Burnell, author
3:15 pm
Fri 21 Feb 2020
3:15 pm | Fri 21 Feb 2020
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Children’s authors explain the wonderful things that can happen when you find yourself in the story
Children’s authors explain the wonderful things that can happen when you find yourself in the...
Young audience at a talk
12:00 pm
Fri 06 Mar 2020
12:00 pm | Fri 06 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Whet your appetite with amazing short talks, performances, readings and soapbox moments
Whet your appetite with amazing short talks, performances, readings and soapbox moments
Women at Wow - Women of the World talk event
12:00 pm
Fri 06 Mar 2020
12:00 pm | Fri 06 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
What can the traits of pioneering, trailblazing women teach us about how to change the world?
What can the traits of pioneering, trailblazing women teach us about how to change the world?
Sarah Blumenau, business tutor
12:00 pm
Fri 06 Mar 2020
12:00 pm | Fri 06 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Communicate with confidence, clarity and impact in front of any audience after this masterclass
Communicate with confidence, clarity and impact in front of any audience after this masterclass
 Shahroo Izadi, author
1:45 pm
Fri 06 Mar 2020
1:45 pm | Fri 06 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
If you're ready to make changes that last, you've come to the right place
If you're ready to make changes that last, you've come to the right place
People at a talk event
3:30 pm
Fri 06 Mar 2020
3:30 pm | Fri 06 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
talks & debates
What does the real face of ‘intimate terrorism’ look like?
What does the real face of ‘intimate terrorism’ look like?

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highlights

8 Apr
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Reflect on the book that changed the conversation around climate change at this talk with its author
19 Mar
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Find hope at a panel discussion with speakers who are fighting to protect the natural world around us
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blog: talks & debates

podcast
Listen to the Suede frontman discuss his latest book with Miranda Sawyer in this special podcast.
podcast
Listen to the poet and activist in this podcast recorded live at Poetry International