Southbank Centre’s London Literature Festival 2019

Southbank Centre

Bringing new resonance to timeless narratives, Southbank Centre’s London Literature Festival returns for its 13th year with an exploration of fairy tales for our times with today’s leading writers, thinkers and cultural observers. 

Over 11 days of talks, readings, poetry and performance, the festival features Elizabeth Day, Armistead Maupin, Brett Anderson, Heather Morris, Lemn Sissay, Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Nikki Giovanni, Fatima Bhutto and Jung Chang. 

The festival once again opens with Poetry International, Southbank Centre’s longest running festival, founded by Ted Hughes, former poet laureate, in 1967. This year follows the theme of disruption. 

Southbank Centre Locations

These are some of the selected free events taking place at The Southbank Centre. Click on the event title for further information.


Southbank Centre Map
Southbank Centre Locations. Click to enlarge

(B)old Words

17 Oct 2019 – 27 Oct 2019 | Various times | Royal Festival Hall, Blue Side Foyer, Level 5 | Free

Voices from the Poetry for Dementia programme come through loud and clear in a sound installation

B)old Words: Poetry for Dementia took place in spring 2019 in the National Poetry Library under the guidance of poet Antosh Wojcik.

The installation, curated by Wojcik, shares audio recordings of some of the poems created by these ordinary yet extraordinary individuals.

Fairy Tales of the Turntable: Family Dance Workshop

Mon 21 Oct 2019 | 10.30am | Free | Royal Festival Hall, The Clore Ballroom, Level 2

Red shoes not required for a free dance and music workshop on all things fairy tale, led by ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company.

Work with a dancer from the theatre company to learn some new moves, inspired by ZooNation’s productions Into the Hoods, The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and Tales of the Turntable.

The Fairy Tale Trail

21 Oct 2019 – 27 Oct 2019 | Various times |Free | Royal Festival Hall, Green Side Foyer, Level 2

Set off on a do-it-yourself adventure for families, as magical as the words ‘once upon a time’

Fairy Tales of the Turntable: Lunchtime DJ & MC

Mon 21 Oct 2019 | 12.30pm | Free |Royal Festival Hall, The Clore Ballroom, Level 2

Put your fairy tale moves into practice on Southbank dance floor, after your free workshop.

The chance to work with a dancer from the theatre company to learn some new moves, inspired by ZooNation’s productions Into the Hoods, The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and Tales of the Turntable.

Age recommendation
For ages 3+

Anansi Rhythms: Drumming and Vocal Workshop

Tue 22 Oct 2019 | 10.30am | Free | Royal Festival Hall, The Clore Ballroom, Level 2

Eight legs are great in a Ghanaian drumming workshop inspired by a cheeky spiderman from West Africa.

Join African Activities to hear the sounds of the West African village where Anansi the spiderman was born.

Lunchtime Tales: Anansi, the Long Journey

Tue 22 Oct 2019 | 12:30 pm | Free |Royal Festival Hall, The Clore Ballroom, Level 2

Let the tale of Anansi weave its web around you in a storytelling session inspired by the spiderman. In this interactive event, featuring drama, music, poetry and song, both teller and listener create something magical.

Age recommendation
For ages 3+

Tales from the Library Attic: Story Workshop

Wed 23 Oct 2019 | 10:30 am | Free | Royal Festival Hall, The Clore Ballroom, Level 2

Conjure up your own fairy tale with mysterious paper-cut art in a story workshop.

The Patchlarks are friendly storytellers who make wondrous fairy tales from the things left behind in the library attic of the City of Stories.

Join them for story-inventing activities calling on the oral tradition, and visual story-telling with paper-cut shadow collages

Age recommendation
For ages 3+

Lunchtime Tales: Live from the Library Attic

Wed 23 Oct 2019 | 12:30 pm | Free | Royal Festival Hall, The Clore Ballroom, Level 2

‘Once upon a time’ goes live and interactive in a rambunctious storytelling performance

Age recommendation
For ages 3+

Akademi: The Milk White Ocean – Dance Workshop

Thu 24 Oct 2019 | 10:30 am | Free | Royal Festival Hall, The Clore Ballroom, Level 2

Learn Indian dance moves for the whole family to tell an enchanting story of creation and care

Age recommendation
For ages 3+

Lunchtime Tales: The Milkwhite Ocean with Akademi

Thu 24 Oct 2019 | 12:30 pm | Free | Royal Festival Hall, The Clore Ballroom, Level 2

Submerge yourself in an ancient tale from dancer Anusha Subramanyam, or join in and make a splash. This storytelling session is presented by Akademi, the UK’s leading South Asian dance organisation.

Age recommendation
For ages 3+

Edible Books and Folklore Craft Workshop

Fri 25 Oct 2019 | 10:30 am | Free | Royal Festival Hall, The Clore Ballroom, Level 2

Two children follow a trail of breadcrumbs in the woods… to discover a bookcase heaving with edible books!

Using wafer paper and edible ink, collage ideas and draw inspiration from foody tales from across the globe to eat your own delicious folklore.

Age recommendation
For ages 3+

Friday Lunch: Embers Collective

Fri 25 Oct 2019 | 1:00 pm | | Free | Royal Festival Hall, Central Bar, Level 2

Come, gather round for wild and wonderful music and stories for all ages, inspired by fairy tales

#Music

futuretense: Sinead O’Brien

Fri 25 Oct 2019 | 6:00 pm | Free

Answer a call to arms from the Irish poet and performer, equal parts Mark E Smith and Patti Smith

London Literature Festival Writers’ Day 2019

Sat 26 Oct 2019 | 1:00 pm | Free

Find out about prizes, initiatives and schemes that can advance your writing career in a day of free short talks

Disclaimer: WISE16 cannot be held responsible for any event changes or cancellation. We strongly recommend to check with the organiser if you have any questions, especially for those events which require paying a fee.