London Literature Festival 2023: Guide to Southbank Centre events inc Patrick Stewart and Jada Pinkett-Smith

Programme highlights include new memoirs by Sir Patrick Stewart, Kerry Washington, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Ed Gamble, alongside new work by literary excellence including Yu Miri, Teju Cole, Ian Rankin and Bryan Washington.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The annual London Literature Festival returns to the Southbank Centre this month featuring a line up of prestigious names and exciting new writers.

Running from October 18 to 29, London Literature Festival is the longest running celebration of the written and spoken word of its kind in the capital, and this year marks its 16th edition.

Programme highlights include new memoirs by Sir Patrick Stewart, Kerry Washington, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Ed Gamble, alongside new work by literary excellence including Yu Miri, Teju Cole, Ian Rankin and Bryan Washington.

The opening night at the Royal Festival Hall will be guest-curated by George the Poet, a spoken word performer of Ugandan heritage who was born in London.

George the Poet (left) and Jada Pinkett-Smith  (right)George the Poet (left) and Jada Pinkett-Smith  (right)
George the Poet (left) and Jada Pinkett-Smith (right)

The Black British Book Festival will also take place outside Birmingham for the first time, partnering with the Southbank Centre.

Kicking off with an anticipated memoir launch by Leigh-Anne Pinnock, the Black British Book Festival then brings its vibrant annual day-long festival to London Literature Festival, celebrating Black British authors across all genres.

London Literature Festival will also feature Debut London Literature, platforming debut titles from some of the city’s most exciting new writers, including Hong Kong author Nicola Dinan, Dublin-born Bryan Moriarty and London-born author Wiz Wharton of Chinese-European heritage.

A range of family events with the likes of Jacqueline Wilson, Jeffrey Boakye and free activities offer ways for families to enjoy literature and culture over October half term.

There are also free events for adults: Johny Pitts and Elizabeth Day host a special live recording of BBC Radio 4’s popular Open Book, joined by a panel of celebrated writers for a deep dive into the world of books and reading.

Ted Hodgkinson, Head of Literature & Spoken Word at the Southbank Centre, says: “London Literature Festival this year celebrates the explosive talent, energy and creativity of the city’s spoken word community.

“We’re excited to have George the Poet open the first weekend with a night dedicated to the artists he believes are driving the future of the artform.

“Throughout the festival, we celebrate the emerging talents and pioneers of spoken word and its unmediated power to connect and captivate us, with events from the Poet Laureate for Lambeth, our own New Poets Collective and the Southbank Centre’s resident poetry and live music night, Out-Spoken.

“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.”

For all the events and information about the London Literature Festival, check out their website here.