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.

see upcoming talks & debates

 

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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Lemn Sissay, author and broadcaster

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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
Jung Chang, author

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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
Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman, writers

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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...
Elizabeth Day, writer and journalist
7:30 pm
Tue 22 Oct 2019
7:30 pm | Tue 22 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Part memoir, part manifesto, this is a book for anyone who has ever failed – in other words, everyone
Part memoir, part manifesto, this is a book for anyone who has ever failed – in other words,...
Brett Anderson, singer-songwriter

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Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Wed 23 Oct 2019
7:30 pm | Wed 23 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Here they come, the beautiful ones: Suede's frontman reads from his second volume of memoirs
Here they come, the beautiful ones: Suede's frontman reads from his second volume of memoirs
Jade

Free

Free

1:00 pm
Sat 26 Oct 2019
1:00 pm | Sat 26 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Find out about prizes, initiatives and schemes that can advance your writing career in a day of free short talks
Find out about prizes, initiatives and schemes that can advance your writing career in a day of free...
Anthony Daniels and C-3PO

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Multi-buy discount

7:00 pm
Sun 27 Oct 2019
7:00 pm | Sun 27 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Join Star Wars actor Anthony Daniels as he reflects on his role as one of cinema's most famous droids
Join Star Wars actor Anthony Daniels as he reflects on his role as one of cinema's most famous...
Anne Carson, poet
7:30 pm
Wed 30 Oct 2019
7:30 pm | Wed 30 Oct 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Cheers to 40 years of the London Review of Books at an evening of poetry, music and collaboration
Cheers to 40 years of the London Review of Books at an evening of poetry, music and collaboration
Wretch 32, musician
7:00 pm
Sun 01 Dec 2019
7:00 pm | Sun 01 Dec 2019
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Delve into the creative process of an influential voice in UK grime at an event celebrating his new book
Delve into the creative process of an influential voice in UK grime at an event celebrating his new...
Caroline Criado Perez
7:00 pm
Fri 06 Mar 2020
7:00 pm | Fri 06 Mar 2020
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
See what is often unseen as the campaigner and writer discusses her groundbreaking book
See what is often unseen as the campaigner and writer discusses her groundbreaking book

highlights

21 Oct
literature & poetry
talks & debates
Named as one of Oprah Winfrey’s 25 ‘living legends’, the poet discusses the power of literature
19 Oct
literature & poetry
spoken word & live literature
Discuss the themes of the groundbreaking essay collection with those who edited and contributed to it
see all events

blog: talks & debates

podcast
Richard Ayoade reflects on his award-winning films and comedy in conversation with Adam Buxton
podcast
Listen to Malorie Blackman discuss her latest novel Crossfire