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Words at the Southbank

If ever we needed proof that literature is relevant, universal and timeless, the Southbank Centre’s summer and autumn programme provides it. Across the next few months authors, poets and writers will be responding to the current political and social climate through the magic or words.

John le Carré introduces his new novel, A Legacy of Spies, and iconic Cold War characters whilst author of The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood reflects on her visionary and dystopian work in the context of the Trump era and the real world it reflects. Along the same theme, Naomi Klein discusses her new book No Is Not Enough which looks at the tactics used to bring Trump into power and what happens next.

Feminism is still a big issue, and Laurie Penny and Rebecca Solnit each present their new essay collections, Bitch Doctrine: Essays for Dissenting Adults, a collection of Penny’s writing which provokes challenging conversations around the definitive social issues of today, and The Mother of All Questions, a piece that aims to open up a feminism for everyone.

The wonderful Zadie Smith reads from her most recent novel Swing Time and discusses writing fiction that responds to our current times, as White Teeth and On Beauty both did.

As part of Africa Utopia Poetry/music duo Gertrude & Jemma lead a performance of experimental and improvised sound exploring the relationship between words, music and silence in What The Trees Know / The Blindfold Session.

London’s award-winning LGBT literary salon, Polari, comes back for its tenth summer at the Southbank Centre, ad later in the year the Poetry Library will host exhibitions dedicated to The Mersey Soung, Joseph Conrad, the implications of Brexit and Indian poets.

There’s also the new exhibition A Fair Field Full of Folk which explores William Langland’s medieval poem Piers Plowman and features a rare opportunity to see an original sixteenth century manuscript of the poem, on loan from the University of London.

It’s all gearing up for the annual London Literature Festival in October, with even more education, entertainment, elucidation and astoundingly excellent literature on offer.

So if there’s anything that can tear you away from your book, it’s this.

Zadie Smith – Dominique Nabokov 2016 Copyright

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