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Top 10 Things To See At The London Literature Festival
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Top 10 Things To See At The London Literature Festival

Picture of Niamh Cassidy
Updated: 12 December 2015
The London Literature Festival kicks off for the 9th year running this Saturday. From the 28th September until the 12th October, London’s South Bank will be overrun by written word enthusiasts, as they join acclaimed authors, poets and speakers in celebrating all things literary. The theme of this year’s festival is adventure. From Cocktail Hours to Comedy Couplets, a Death Match (purely verbal) to Moby Dick, The London Literature Festival explores worlds through words, and how storytelling can transport us to them. There’s an incredible array of events lined up over the fortnight…far too many to list here, so we’ve picked our top ten to get you started.

Moby Dick Unabridged

1st-4th October

In a four-day-long extravaganza, Herman Melville’s 1851 classic Moby Dick will be performed, in full, by a host of writers, actors and comedians. Among the performers will be members of the public and even Melville’s great-great-granddaughter, as well as surprise contributions by artists, illustrators and musicians whose newly commissioned works will accompany the epic adventure.

Selfie Consciousness

3rd October

Tackling themes of image, identity and the internet, Selfie Consciousness takes a look at the narrative projected by our news feeds and asks what (if any) relation it bears to real life. Hosted by best-selling Turkish novelist and social media siren Elif Shafak, consultant psychiatrist in addictions, Henrietta Bowden-Jones, and Tom Chatfield, author of How To Thrive In A Digital Age, the debate offers a fascinating look at whether the internet is just another form of expression or a distraction from the real drama of day-to-day life.

Alternate Worlds

4th October

For fans of graphic novels, Alternate Worlds is one event not to be missed. An art form that’s gathered apace in recent years, graphic novels take literature to another level, even challenging our understanding of the term itself. As they say, though, a picture paints a thousand words, and this enlightening session from graphic novelists Stephen Collins and Isabel Greenberg will explore the art of creating alternate worlds through alternative literature.

Comedy Couplets

5th October

The UK’s best (and perhaps only) comedy poet, Tim Key, will take to the stage at The London Literature Festival to talk wit and wordplay. Joined by an array of leading and lesser-known comedians, Key and company will show off their stand-up skills in a hilarious evening of laughter and literature.

Cocktail Hour

6th-8th October

This one might be our personal favourite here at The Culture Trip. The Cocktail Hour kicks off with a cocktail demonstration from a drinks writer, followed by a reading from different celebrated writers on each of the three sessions. With guest spots from big names including Man Booker Prize nominee Patrick de Witt, it’s the perfect double act of good booze and good books.

Inside The Head Of Terry Gilliam

7th October

Having first found fame as a member of Monty Python, Terry Gilliam has gone on to become one of the biggest names currently working in cinema. In an exclusive audience with the filmmaker, Gilliam will discuss his many and varied inspirations in an immersive, multimedia exploration of his influences that includes image, video and interview. It’s an unprecedented opportunity to get under the skin and inside the head of a true artistic trailblazer and attempt to understand the creative process.

Literary Death Match

6th October

Described as ‘part literary event, part gameshow, part comedy,’ Literary Death Match is literature like you’ve never seen it before. Four authors go face-to-face before a panel of judges to prove their comedic and academic shops, in a slapstick spectacle that somehow manages to make reading a competitive sport.

National Poetry Day Live

8th October

This year’s National Poetry Day Live delivers a day of free events, all based around the theme of light. With workshops and showcases, performances and installations, the collection covers everything from children’s and young people’s poetry to some of the most acclaimed voices in the UK today. Curated by a group of 18-25-year-old poetry producers, and with the chance to join in yourself, National Poetry Day Live will shed some light on the often overlooked UK poetry scene.

Global City

9th October

The London Literature Festival wouldn’t be complete without a celebration of the city itself. In a nod to the festival’s theme of adventure, discovery and new worlds, Global City looks at London through the eyes of an outsider and features the best new works on the capital by poets and writers from around the world.

The Hollow Of The Hand

9th-10th October

In 2011, Mercury Prize winner and Grammy Award nominee PJ Harvey joined forces with documentary maker Seamus Murphy on a three-year tour across Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington DC. The words and pictures they collected have now been collated into a book of the same name, which will be brought to life onstage through new songs, poetry and a short film, in an inspired collaboration by two critically acclaimed artists.