We all know that autumn is the season for snuggling up on the sofa with a cosy blanket, a cup of tea and a really good book. Well, it just so happens that it’s also the season to get yourself down to the Southbank Centre for one of the most talked about events in the literary calendar: the London Literature Festival.
Running from October 18 – 29 at the iconic Southbank Centre, the London Literature Festival (now in its 16th year) is the capital’s longest running celebration of the written and spoken word. This annual literary extravaganza unites bibliophiles from across the country and this year, the festival will feature an impressive line-up (as always) and will showcase the explosive popularity of spoken word poetry.
For the first time ever, the opening night will be guest-curated by George the Poet, a London-born spoken word performer of Ugandan heritage. The first night will be dedicated to the artists he believes are making waves in the spoken word scene and are driving forces for the future of the artform.
The remainder of the twelve-day programme will be jam-packed with prestigious names and emerging talent alike, showcasing and honouring the diversity of British culture. Spoken word will be well-and-truly celebrated with the likes of TS Eliot prize-winner Joelle Taylor hosting a vibrant evening with Out-Spoken (the Southbank Centre’s resident poetry and live music collective) and The National Poetry Library hosting a gala day of spoken word performances with BBC Radio 4 broadcaster Roger McGough CBE.
Expect to see new books from esteemed actor Jada Pinkett Smith, celebrated novelist Teju Cole, actor and writer Nick Frost (just to name a few) and the Black British Book Festival will also be bringing its vibrant annual day-long festival to the London Literature Festival, celebrating Black British authors across all genres.
With a whole host of free and family-friendly events happening throughout the festival as well (including Jacqueline Wilson presenting the sequel to her top-selling title Sleepovers after 22 years which I am quite frankly thrilled about), there really is something for all bookworms (and budding literary lovers) to enjoy.
Ted Hodgkinson, Head of Literature & Spoken Word at the Southbank Centre, says: “there are a range of collaborations across the twelve-day festival and I’m thrilled to welcome a fantastic programme curated by the Black British Book Festival, to further the Southbank Centre’s commitment to support and champion Black British talent. London Literature Festival is a celebratory event for everyone to see shining new talent, hear from their favourite authors and enjoy our spaces with the free events on offer across the site”.
Tickets for London Literature Festival go on sale to Southbank Centre Members on Wednesday July 5 and to the general public on Thursday July 6.