The Southbank Centre’s London Literature Festival – the longest-running celebration of the written and spoken word of its kind in the capital has announced its 2022 programme taking place from 20th – 30th October. Now in its 15th year, the festival features prestigious authors alongside rising literary stars.
I am truly thrilled that Greta Thunberg is headlining this year’s festival in a world exclusive launch of The Climate Book. With inclusivity and accessibility at the Southbank Centre’s heart, we’re also live streaming this event for free around the world. We welcome everyone to join us to celebrate the power of language and explore the most timely story of today – how and why our planet is changing.Ted Hodgkinson, Head of Literature & Spoken Word at the Southbank Centre
This year’s London Literature Festival promises to inspire, entertain and empower audiences of all
ages. We’re combining the very best of our year round programme with a wider range of aspiring
writers and events, featuring emerging homegrown London talent alongside internationally acclaimed
authors, artists and thinkers, plus an exciting and engaging free programme for all the family.
NEW COMMISSIONS AND EVENTS FOR EMERGING WRITERS
London Literature Festival 2022 opens with We Move: Debut London Literature, celebrating debut titles from some of the city’s most exciting writers including James Cahill, Gurnaik Johal, Arji Manuelpillai and Sheena Patel. Premiering in the Purcell Room is newly commissioned performance piece, Jay Bernard’s Joint, which builds on their work about joint enterprise, a contested law that is often used in racist and classist ways. The Southbank Centre’s inaugural New Poets Collective perform readings for the first time showcasing the culmination of their year with lead mentors Vanessa Kisuule and Will Harris. These 15 exciting poets will also publish an anthology to celebrate their achievements. London Literature Festival partners with Creative Future for Writers’ Day – a day packed full of talks for writers, publishers and literary professionals to share hints, tips and initiatives. New and emerging voices are recognised by the prize for under-represented writers in the Creative Future Writers’ Awards Showcase 2022, hosted this year by novelist Dorothy Koomson and poet Joelle Taylor. The 2022 Booker Prize Winner joins the Festival for their very first public event on 20th October.
To coincide with the world-exclusive launch of Greta Thunberg’s The Climate Book, the London Literature Festival explores the climate crisis. Science journalist, author and broadcaster Gaia Vince reframes the crisis and demonstrates how migration could be the answer in an event around her new book Nomad Century. In a special live recording, BBC Radio 4’s Open Book explores how the urgency of our natural environment has shaped our fictional landscapes. Writers Jessie Greengrass and Daisy Hildyard discuss the imminent emergencies of everyday life as they launch their respective new books. The Southbank Centre’s National Poetry Library – situated in the Royal Festival Hall – hosts Earthbound Press for a stellar evening of contemporary poetry featuring twelve critically-acclaimed poets, including Iain Sinclair, Nisha Ramayya and Eley Williams.
Author of the acclaimed My Struggle series Karl Ove Knausgård delivers the New Statesman Goldsmiths Prize lecture in Why the Novel Matters. Knausgård’s talk draws on a body of work ranging from visual art to religion to find new ways to express the autobiographical in fiction. Nobel laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah uses the 2022 Edward W Said London Lecture to address the significance of place. Gurnah refers to critical and fictional contemporary writing from Europe, Africa and the Caribbean, including that of Edward Said, Eric Auerbach and Joseph Conrad. In a special live stream celebrating The Goldsmiths Prize’s tenth anniversary, Natasha Brown, Guy Gunaratne and Ali Smith debate their favourite books. Chaired by Erica Wagner, each author picks their fantasy Goldsmiths Prize winner – a favourite book published before the award was founded – to discuss.
The opening weekend features a free programme for all the family. Performances and readings celebrating the natural world and the environment, heroes and heroines that make a difference,
alongside talks and readings by emerging and upcoming children’s authors. The wider free programme takes a deep dive into the world of the short story, with events across music, theatre and comedy. BBC’s World Book Club radio programme marks its 20th anniversary at a live show with multi-award winning writer Tahmima Anam. The National Poetry Library based in the Royal Festival Hall invites the public to explore the world’s biggest public collection of modern poetry in the world, as it shows off its hidden gems at an Open Day on 29 October, featuring workshops and live readings with a particular focus on the environment. The library hosts a brand new interactive exhibition Poetry Games, looking at how poetry and play run hand in hand
The programme features a plethora of book events in its three auditoriums: the Royal Festival Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Purcell Room. Minnie Driver delves into the stories from her ‘tell-most’ memoir Managing Expectations. In the UK for the first time in five years, the Booker Prize-winning author George Saunders celebrates the global publication of his short story collection liberation day. Josh Widdicombe and Rob Beckett share anecdotes from their new book Parenting Hell. Broadcaster Jon Snow reflects on the state of the nation in The State of Us. Mathematician Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon discusses She’s in CTRL, as she calls for women everywhere to claim their seats in tech. Malorie Blackman is in conversation with Candice Brathwaite about her autobiography, Just Sayin’. Presenter and YouTube star Adam B presents his debut children’s book Adam Wins the Internet. LGBTQ+ Arab writers from the anthology This Arab is Queer, including journalist Elias Jahshan and author Saleem Haddad, celebrate a collection of 18 short memoirs and essays, as Arabs share their realities of what it is like to love freely in a place called home. Travis Alabanza discusses their new memoir None of the Above, asking what it means to live outside the gender boundaries. Graham Norton introduces his new novel Forever Home