Talk of the town: Southbank Centre Literary Events

Dulwich’s Young Writer of the Year award winner Max Porter (pictured above) is among the chief attractions at the Southbank Centre’s programme for January to March next year.

Booker Prize winner Marlon James is another of the authors talking about his writing in the complex’s string of literary events.

The season encompasses exclusive in-conversation discussions with award-winning authors, specially-commissioned live readings and performance, an expanded series of new writing courses, exhibitions, prizes and the launch of a new poetry initiative, National Poetry Library Lates.

In a world exclusive pre-publication event, Max Porter the award-winning author of Grief Is the Thing With Feathers, presents a dramatic reading of scenes from his second novel, Lanny, in a live performance about art, myth and the extraordinary strangeness of everyday life.

Marlon James, Booker Prize winner

This one-off specially-commissioned live reading features a cast of actors alongside Mr Porter who will conjure the voices of English village life past and present.

The bestselling and award-winning author of The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas travels to the UK from her native Mississippi to present her second novel, On the Come Up in her debut appearance at Southbank Centre.

Paying homage to hip-hop, On the Come Up explores the art that sparked Thomas’s passion for storytelling.

The new novel takes a look at the many realities of poor and working-class black families in America.

Award-winning British writer Robert Macfarlane makes an exclusive appearance to introduce Spell Songs, a series of new musical commissions based on his book The Lost Words, with artist Jackie Morris.

Eight leading folk musicians will perform the works inspired by the book which explores the removal of everyday nature words from a children’s dictionary and celebrates nature’s wonders.

Projections of Morris’ artwork will accompany the music as she paints live on stage during the performance.

Other highlights include:

  •  A UK exclusive appearance from Leila Slimani, author of the bestselling Lullaby, discussing her new novel, Adele
  •  Man Booker Prize winning author Marlon James launching the first in his new Dark Star trilogy Black Leopard, Red Wolf
  • An appearance from Mexican award-winning author Valeria Luiselli who discusses her new novel Lost Children Archive
  • The launch of National Poetry Library Lates, a new regular late night poetry salon in the recently refurbished Hayward Gallery Cafe, the first of which features poets Hannah Lowe and MacGillivray
  • Robert Macfarlane making an exclusive appearance to introduce Spell Songs, a series of new musical commissions performed by leading folk artists based on his book The Lost Words
  • The annual TS Eliot Prize readings, showcasing the poets shortlisted for the 2018 prize
  • The return of Polari, London’s leading LGBTQ+ literary salon featuring Julie Cohen and VG Lee
  • New six-week spring courses in poetry and short story writing
  •  Imagine Children’s Festival returning for its 18th year

Ted Hodgkinson, Head of Literature and Spoken Word at the Southbank Centre, said: “We start the year as we mean to go on, by pushing the boundaries of literature with an innovative Spring 2019 Literature Season featuring new initiatives, world exclusive events, cross-artform performances and a stellar line-up of award-winning international writers and poets.

Angie Thomas , Bestselling author

From first glimpses of highly anticipated new books by pioneers of the novel, including Marlon James, Leila Slimani, Valeria Luiselli and Angie Thomas, to our brand new National Poetry Library Lates series in partnership with our Hayward Gallery, and an exclusive dramatic live reading of scenes from Max Porter’s new novel, this is a season packed with one-off, revelatory experiences.

“Alongside this we see the return of annual and seasonal favourites including Polari, the TS Eliot Prize Readings and Imagine Children’s Festival providing something for all literature lovers.”

Tickets are now on general sale, with the exception of Imagine Children’s Festival which will go on sale at a later date.

The 2019 Spring Season follows a successful year of literature at the Southbank Centre in 2018 featuring popular events with Matt Haig, Khaled Hosseini, Caitlin Moran, Margo Jefferson, Gordon Brown and more as well as upcoming appearances from Barbara Kingsolver, Lee Child, Ian Rankin, Roxane Gay and the twelfth London Literature Festival.

For times, dates, tickets and more information see the Southbank Centre website at

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