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The London Literature Festival

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by Sandra Lawson (subscribe)
To paraphrase Dorothy: 'There is no place like London.' I hope I can convince you of that here. Also check out my blog at and my theatre reviews at
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The London Literature Festival Celebrates World Writing
For an entire month the London Literature Festival at the Southbank Centre will be celebrating the power of words and literature; not only concerned with our vibrant capital city, but also drawing on writers from other countries in a celebration of the multicultural melting pot that is modern day London.

London Literature Festival
The London Literature's Festival Bee Logo

The events are too numerous and diverse to cover in detail, so I will just offer you a few snippets to tempt your literary taste buds, and refer you back to the festival's website so that you can browse and pick and mix your preferred options.

The starter course for this mouth-watering banquet at the Queen Elizabeth Hall is a giant serving dish of ten international writers contending for the International Man Booker Prize. Following on this huge bellyful of literature are events that include the launch of Melvyn Bragg's new novel, Grace and Mary;

London Literature Festival
London Literature Festival: Melvyn Bragg

a discussion between the musician Jarvis Cocker and the artist Gavin Turk in which Amanda Sawyer poses questions about fame, reputation and artistic development

London Literature Festival
London Literature Festival: Gavin Turk and Jarvis Cocker

and Drawing the Story: in which three authors discuss graphic novels.

London Literature Festival
London Literature Festival: Drawing the Story

To continue the diversity of the festival, forty female poets and performers (including Samantha Bond, Anna Chancellor, Miranda Richardson, Juliet Stevenson and Harriet Walter) will each read one of Sylvia Plath's Ariel poems.

London Literature Festival
London Literature Festival: Sylvia Plath

Audrey Niffenegger discusses her life and work and introduces her new novel, The Raven Girl; German chanteuse Ute Lemper will be celebrating the poetry of Pablo Neruda in song, and biographer Claire Tomalin will deliver several lectures based on her subjects, including Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy.

If you thought this was just a month-long meal where you just sit and digest information, you're very much mistaken. Rachel Lichtenstein, the author of Diamond Street The Hidden World of Hatton Garden will take you out to explore the streets of London's famous jewellery quarter.

London Literature Festival
London Literature Festival: Diamond Street

Cerys Matthews will be in charge of a family sing-along: Hook, Line and Singer, and Spin is an interactive wordplay session for children of five years and over. Finally The Spectacular Translation Machine will take place over two weekends when you will assist in the collaborative translation of a book from French into English.

Additional information is on the website, where you can also book tickets for all events. Are you hungry for more?
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Why? To lose yourself in literature
When: Between 20 May and 20 June
Where: The Southbank Centre
Cost: All information is on the website
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