BOOKS & TALKS
30 September - 13 October 2014
The two week London Literature Festival begins at the very end of this month and it’s worth perusing the Southbank’s website now to plan your diary and book events before they sell out. As you can imagine with a London festival, the range of writers and speakers on the line-up is wide and diverse, from Stephen Fry, John Cooper Clarke and prison writing to Sheila Hancock, Colm Toibin, and the Man Booker Prize Readings. Our top picks include Hilary Mantel reading from her new collection of short stories, The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher, and in conversation with James Runcie on 10th October; a celebration of the life and work of the incomparable Maya Angelou on 5th October, with song, biography, poetry and testimony; NGO leader Jonathan Powell’s talk, Talking to Terrorists, on 3rd October about how to end armed conflicts through communication; and photographer Martin Parr‘s illustrated lecture on 7th October. If we could only go to one thing, however, it would have to be the world premiere of a specially commissioned new poem, Tithonus – 46 minutes in the life of the Dawn by Alice Oswald, read by the poet herself, on 9th October. The story of Tithonus in Greek mythology is that the Dawn asked Zeus to make him immortal after she fell in love with him, but she forgot to ask that he also not grow old. Thus,Tithonus simply got older and older until the Dawn locked him in a room by himself where, thousands of years later, he still sits babbling away to himself. Oswald’s poem is an account of his babbling and was written over a series of dawns earlier this year. The reading of the poem begins in darkness and goes on for 46 minutes – the length of a midsummer dawn. Do book now for this event, and any others you’d like to go to, as many of the tickets have already been snapped up.