It’s our birthday! Join us to celebrate 180 glorious years of The London Library with The London Library Lit Fest.

We’re bringing together some of the brightest stars in the literary firmament for an eclectic and thought-provoking Bank Holiday weekend of online talks, workshops and performances, exploring libraries and The London Library in particular, as open places of community, discovery and refuge; where every book and every voice has a place; where ideas and creativity can form and grow. 

Salman Rushdie joins us to mark 40 years since the publication of Midnight’s Children - he’ll discuss the inspiration and genesis of that book, his extraordinary body of work since, freedom of expression and the role The London Library and English PEN have played in his writing life.

Other talks with leading writers will include Sarah Waters in conversation with Hallie Rubenhold; Simon Schama discussing friendships and rivalries in art and literature; Polly Samson on her latest novel A Theatre for Dreamers and artistic communities chaired by Edward Docx; and Edmund de Waal will be in conversation with Tom Stoppard.

Discussion and panel events include Philippe Sands, Daria Santini and George Prochnik discussing Stefan Zweig in London, with readings from Zweig’s letters in partnership with Insiders Outsiders. Suzannah Lipscomb, David Nicholls, Naomi Ishiguro and Yassmin Abdel-Magied will take part in a 5x15 event.  In partnership with Brighton Festival, Monique Roffey and C Pam Zhang will be discussing myth and discovery.

Bidisha will chair a discussion about publishers and publishing projects rediscovering and republishing classics by marginalised writers with Penguin’s Hannah Chukwu and Virago founder Lennie Goodings. For poetry lovers, Malika's Poetry Kitchen will host a poetry party to include performances by Inua Ellams, Kayo Chingonyi, Arji Manuelpillai, Malika Booker and Zakia Carpenter-Hall. Rebecca West was Vice President of The London Library and a founder of English PEN and played an important role in the development of both organisations; she will be remembered in a unique celebration event.

A series of workshops and interactive events will include a performance of a dramatic adaptation of A Room of One's Own by Linda Marshall-Griffiths and directed by Charlotte Westenra; creative writing workshops in partnership with Arvon; a workshop on Gender Swapped Fairytales with Karrie Fransmann and Jonathan Plackett; and a showcase of writers from The London Library’s Emerging Writers Programme in an event compered by John O’Farrell.

Tickets for most events cost £5 or you can buy a Festival Pass at the very reasonable price of £25 for all the weekend’s events.

FIND OUT MORE