The sixth annual London Literature Festival returns to Southbank Centre this July, with a line-up of events showcasing the very best writing from around the globe including Tony Harrison, Siri Hustvedt, John Pilger, Clive Stafford Smith, Noo Saro-Wiwa, Stella Duffy, Michael Morpurgo, Andy Staton and Saul Williams.
As part of the site-wide Festival of the World with MasterCard, this year’s programme includes a raft of special guests including: author Siri Hustvedt delivering the 2012 Southbank Centre Lecture with a personal examination of what it means to live, think and look; Michael Morpurgo in a rare and candid conversation with his biographer Maggie Fergusson; and a very special reading from poet Tony Harrison, who, in his 75th year returns for his first solo event at Southbank Centre in over a decade. One of the world’s most celebrated living journalists, John Pilger will provide his unique perspective on military intervention and the Middle East; award-winning lawyer Clive Stafford-Smith will discuss his new book and personal journey to defending the rights of prisoners with broadcaster Jon Snow; and in an extremely rare event, the London Literature Festival will stage the European premiere of The Word for Snow, an unpublished dramatic work by Don DeLillo, directed by Jack McNamara.
This year’s festival will consist of three broad strands: Capital Stories; Arab Revolutions; and poetry slam, Shake the Dust.
In celebration of the festival’s urban setting, Stella Duffy will be joined by Alexei Sayle, Iain Sinclair and Oscar Zareta as part of Capital Stories for an evening of new work exploring the dark corners and unseen side of London life. In London: One Year On, a panel, including Daily Mail columnist Harriet Sergeant examines the impact of the riots on the London they have known and know today.
Egyptian novelist Ahdaf Souief and writer and activist Salma Said will together curate a timely and ambitious multi-media event - All You Ever Wanted to Know About the Arab Revolutions but Were Afraid to Ask. A day of discussion, performance and exchange - with live satellite link-ups to parts of the Arab world - activists, writers, bloggers and artists will share their extraordinary first-hand experiences of revolution from on the ground.
The centre point of the festival will be a weekend-long poetry extravaganza with the culmination of Shake the Dust, the biggest youth poetry slam competition in the country, led by Saul Williams, one of the most influential voices on the international spoken word scene, and the UK’s very own rap battling, hip-hop MC Kate Tempest.