A selection of bookshop readings, performances, literary lunches, salons, festivals and other writerly goings-on are listed here and regularly updated. Please send details of any forthcoming events you’d like us to feature to events @ bookanista . com

 

to Sunday 15 September
Smoke and Mirrors: The Psychology of Magic
Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE
10 am to 6 pm, Tuesday to Sunday; to 9 pm Thursday
Free

What can magic and conjuring tell us about the human mind? This new exhibition brings together the worlds of psychology and entertainment in search of the truth about deception. Artefacts on display include the head of the gorilla costume worn by Derren Brown, Harry Houdini’s ‘Bell Box’, Tommy Cooper’s fez and Paul Daniels’ sawing-in-half box. With an accompanying book, The Spectacle of Illusion, by magician-turned-experimental psychologist Dr Matthew L. Tompkins, and a live performance programme on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
More info

 

Monday 22 July
Literature in Crisis? 40 Years of Granta
Knowledge Centre, The British Library, London NW1 2DB
7 pm
£12/£8 under-18s/other concessions

40 years ago, Granta magazine was relaunched to celebrate the most exciting literature and to rail against what was seen as a ‘crisis in publishing’. Following the recent acquisition by the British Library of the Archive of Granta Material, we ask: what was the crisis they saw? What role do literary magazines such as Granta play in shaping the literary landscape and the authors who make it there? And is publishing and literature still ‘in crisis’ today? Featuring AL Kennedy in conversation with Granta’s Rosalind Porter. Chaired by Samira Ahmed.
More info

 

Tuesday 23 July
Moon Gazing: A Night of Lunar Explorations
Knowledge Centre, The British Library, London NW1 2DB
7 pm
£12/£8 under-18s/other concessions

Fifty years since the first mission to land on its surface, guest speakers including Alice Bunn (UK Space Agency), TV science presenter Dallas Campbell, Moon Festival director Livia Filotico and biographer and historian of science Richard Holmes reflect on the Moon’s past, present and future in an entertaining and illuminating evening devised by Unlimited Theatre and hosted by Jon Spooner.
More info

 

Friday 26 July
Codex Talks: Nature’s Magic Ingredient – Water
Knowledge Centre, The British Library, London NW1 2DB
7 pm
£20/£17 under-18s/other concessions

Recent research has revealed that around 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year. That is equivalent to the weight of the combined populations of Spain and the United Kingdom. What can we do – right now – to solve this problem? The good news is that innovators have dedicated themselves to developing powerful technologies that could reverse mankind’s mistakes. Speakers include Stephen Parkin, Leonardo Curator, British Library; Adrian Griffiths, CEO, Recycling Technologies; Henrik Hagemann, CEO, CustoMem; Felix Schill, CTO, Hydromea.
More info

 

Tuesday 6 August
Martin Kemp on Leonardo’s Greatest Hits
Knowledge Centre, The British Library, London NW1 2DB
7 pm
£15/£10 under-18s/other concessions

One of the world’s leading authorities on Leonardo da Vinci offers a fresh way of looking at the master’s work in this illustrated lecture focusing on key milestones that cover an extraordinary range of topics across Leonardo’s many fields of discipline: painting, anatomical studies, engineering marvels, and his progressive engagement with a range of sciences including optics, dynamics, statics, geology and mathematics.
More info

 

Wednesday 7 August
Bonjour, Monsieur Robinet
National Poetry Library, Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
8 pm
£7; limited concessions

The English performance poet, comedian, musician and songwriter John Hegley reflects on his Gallic roots in conversation and song with Cina Aissa. Having a more than half-French father has made Hegley take more than half an interest in his dad’s native land and mother tongue. He talks about this aspect of his work with bilingual artist and musician Aissa, and the pair present songs in French by Edith Piaf, Fréhel and Charles Trenet. Forming the backdrop to the event are Hegley’s drawings of the playful Monsieur Robinet, whose latest adventures are illustrated in verse prose and movement, with musical accompaniment from Adam Bradbury and Mike Tomes.
More info

 

Wednesday 28 August
The Nowhere Man by Kamala Markandaya
The Nehru Centre, 8 South Audley Street, London W1K 1HF
6:30 pm
Free – booking essential

Kim Oliver, the daughter of Kamala Markandaya, will be in conversation with Emma Garman, who wrote the introduction to the new edition of this modern classic about racial tension and violence shattering London’s illusions about a society of tolerance and equality.
More info

Read an extract

 

Thursday 29 August
Thomas Keneally in Conversation
Knowledge Centre, The British Library, London NW1 2DB
7 pm
£15/£10 under-18s/other concessions

On a rare visit to Britain Thomas Keneally, author of the Booker Prize-winning Schindler’s Ark, talks about his new work The Book of Science & Antiquities, a bold, millennia-spanning novel about what it means to be human as an ancestor in unearthed from a dry lake in New South Wales.
More info

 

Tuesday 3 September
Mark Radcliffe: In Search of the Moments that Changed Music
Knowledge Centre, The British Library, London NW1 2DB
7 pm
£12/£8 under-18s/other concessions

The broadcaster and writer talks to Edith Bowman about his new book Crossroads, a warm, intimate account of a momentous time in his life. Standing at the Mississippi crossroads of Robert Johnson and the devil’s infamous meeting, Radcliffe found himself facing his own personal crunch point. Aged sixty, he had just mourned the death of his father, only to be handed a diagnosis of mouth and throat cancer. He considers pivotal tracks in music and how the musicians who wrote and performed them – from Woodie Guthrie to Gloria Gaynor, Bob Marley to Kurt Cobain – had also reached a crossroads that led to epoch-changing rhythms.
More info

Etgar Keret: Fly Already
Purcell Room, Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
7:15 pm
£12; limited concessions

In a rare and exclusive London event, the globally renowned short-story writer presents a new collection. In Keret’s wickedly funny and disarmingly humane style, each story uncovers emotional truths in settings that range from the familiar to the surreal. Hear from a writer who combines hilarity and humanity about the art of the short story, and the real world his fiction reflects.
More info

 

Thursday 5 September
Richard Ayoade: Ayoade on Top
Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
7:30 pm
£15–£35; limited concessions

Hear from the writer and director as he reflects on making comedy and films, in conversation with Adam Buxton. Drawing on his latest book, Ayoade on Top, Ayoade takes us on a journey from Peckham to Paris by way of Nevada and other places we don’t care about. Along the way we encounter unforgettable and forgettable characters, descend into madness and ascend to the sublime summit of a film that celebrates capitalism in all its victimless glory.
More info

 

Sunday 8 September
Malorie Blackman in conversation
Queen Elizabeth Hall, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
2 pm
£20; limited concessions

Join the author of the groundbreaking YA fiction series Noughts & Crosses for an introduction to Crossfire. Blackman’s new novel takes place thirty-four years after Sephy Hadley – a Cross – first met Callum McGregor – a nought. She also discusses the forthcoming TV adaptation of Noughts & Crosses and the stories that have survived and impacted generations, shedding necessary light on the social injustices present in the world.
More info

Sara Pascoe: Sex Power Money
Queen Elizabeth Hall, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
7:30 pm
£15–25; limited concessions

The award-winning comedian turns her attention to the things that really matter to humans in her new book, in conversation with Deborah Frances-White. Sex Power Money is thought-provoking and riotously funny: a fresh take on the oldest discussion. Following her hit book Animal, and drawing on anecdotal experience, unqualified opinion, interviews and research, Pascoe confronts her fear of the male libido, examines blind spots in relationships and skewers sexual inequalities, taking a comedic and educational hopscotch over anatomy, the history of sexual representation and the sticky way all human interactions are underwritten by wealth.
More info

 

Thursday 12 to Sunday 15 September
Noirwich Crime Writing Festival
Dragon Hall, the University of East Anglia and Jarrold department store, Norwich
Various times daily
Events individually priced

The Noirwich Crime Writing Festival returns with a new line-up of renowned crime writers. A limited number of Season Passes and individual event tickets are now on sale. Headliners for 2019 include George Alagiah, Louise Doughty, James Ellroy and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, each making their first appearance at Noirwich. Other confirmed authors include James Runcie, Denise Mina, Lisa Jewell, Sarah Hilary, Martin Walker, Erin Kelly, Leye Adenle, Simone Buchholz and Laura Shepherd-Robinson.
More info

 

Friday 13 September
Palestine 2048: Science Fiction and the Future Past
Knowledge Centre, The British Library, London NW1 2DB
7 pm
£12/£8 under-18s/other concessions

To mark the launch of Palestine + 100, a new anthology of short stories set a century after the Nakba, Comma Press hosts an evening of Palestinian futurism celebrating the power of Science Fiction to shed new light on historical events and contemporary politics in the Middle East. Featuring novelist and author of Out of It Selma Dabbagh, poet, journalist and novelist Anwar Hamed. Chaired by publisher Ra Page and translator and editor Basma Ghalayini.
Palestine + 100 is a recipient of an English PEN award.
More info

Chibundu Onuzu: 1991
Queen Elizabeth Hall, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
7:30 pm
£15; limited concessions

The author of The Spider King’s Daughter and Welcome to Lagos returns with her autobiographical show featuring narrative, music, song and dance. Taking us on a journey from Lagos to London, 1991 premiered in a sell-out show at Southbank Centre’s London Literature Festival in 2018. This Nigerian odyssey features a live band, a choir and a healthy dose of West African rhythm.
Part of the Africa Utopia festival
More info

 

Friday 20 to Sunday 22 September
Brontë Festival of Women’s Writing
Brontë Parsonage Museum, Haworth, Keighley, West Yorkshire BD22 8DR
Various times daily
Early bird festival pass £25 (£40 after 30 August)

Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë were pioneering women writers and continue to inspire contemporary literature in limitless ways. The museum is hosting its ninth festival dedicated to showcasing and celebrating women’s writing, with guest programmer Kit de Waal (pictured) and a line-up also including Sara Collins, Liz Flanagan, Amy Liptrot, Sam Missingham, Cathy Rentzenbrink and Clare Shaw.
More info

 

Sunday 22 September
Richard Dawkins: An Argument for Atheism
Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
7:30 pm

£20–£40; limited concessions

Should we believe in God? Do we need God in order to explain the existence of the universe? Do we need God in order to be good? In his new book, Outgrowing God, Dawkins dissects everything from Abraham’s abuse of Isaac to the construction of a snowflake, in a concise, provocative guide to thinking for yourself. A copy of the book is included with every ticket.
More info

 

Wednesday 25 September
Louis Theroux in conversation
Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
7:30 pm
£15–£35; limited concessions

In his latest book, Gotta Get Theroux This, the much-loved documentarian reflects on a weird, wonderful journey through two decades of groundbreaking television. Join Theroux as he looks back on some of the larger-than-life characters he has encountered along the way, reflects candidly on some of the biggest challenges he has faced and discusses what draws him back, again and again, to offbeat corners of contemporary life.
More info

 

Monday 30 September
Lenny Henry in conversation
Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
7:30 pm
£10–£30; limited concessions

Sir Lenny Henry takes the stage to share his long-awaited autobiography. One of Britain’s best-known and most celebrated comedians, his new book Who Am I, Again? reveals the story of his early years and his rise to fame, chronicling his extraordinary story from his birth soon after his Jamaican parents arrived in the Midlands to being raised as one of seven siblings in a boisterous working household.. This is Henry in his own voice: charming, serious, vulnerable, perceptive and jaw-droppingly funny.
More info

 

Wednesday 2 October to Wednesday 7 November
Writing the City with Courttia Newland
Sunley Pavilion, Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
7 pm
£90 for a 6-week course

The urban metropolis is a constant source of wonder, delight and conflict. In a six-session course, learn to map its ever-shifting terrain through practical exercises and workshopping to stimulate and inspire your writing. The course includes close readings of key texts from a range of world-renowned writers, including Colson Whitehead, Vandana Singh and Rupert Thompson.
More info

 

Wednesday 4 to Sunday 13 October
The Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival
Various times and venues
Events individually priced

With the biggest names in books, food, comedy, politics, fashion, travel, history, art, sport, science, stage and screen, the world’s oldest literature festival returns to Cheltenham Town Hall and the Festival Village in Montpellier Gardens for its 70th anniversary edition. Early names announced include Ali Smith, Ian McEwan, David Nicholls, Simon Armitage, Elif Shafak and Celeste Ng, international poets, authors and essayists Chris Tse, Wana Udobang, Kanako Nishi, Esme Wang, Nicole Flattery, Sarah Henstra and Hernán Ronsino, and this year’s guest curators include novelist and editor Max Porter, novelist Tessa Hadley, poet and Out-Spoken founder Anthony Anaxagorou and Head of Chatham House US, Leslie Vinjamuri. The full programme will be announced on 16 August.
More info

 

Sunday 6 October
Celeste Ng in conversation
Queen Elizabeth Hall, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
7:30 pm
£15–£25; limited concessions

In her first London appearance to discuss her acclaimed novels, the award-winning and bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere reflects on creating compelling characters with deft psychological insight and breathtaking precision, laying bare the tensions that run beneath the surface of contemporary life, tackling themes of identity, motherhood, race and class.
More info

 

Thursday 10 October
2019 PEN Pinter Prize: Lemn Sissay
Knowledge Centre, The British Library, London NW1 2DB
7 pm
£15/£10 under-18s/other concessions

This year’s winner, poet, performer, playwright, artist and broadcaster Lemn Sissay, will deliver a special lecture and announce the winner of the 2019 PEN Pinter Prize for an International Writer of Courage. A limited edition booklet of the lecture published by Faber & Faber will be available to the audience at the event. In partnership with English PEN.
More info

 

Sunday 13 October
2019 Booker Prize Readings
Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
7:30 pm
£15–£35; limited concessions

The Booker Prize is a byword for the finest literary fiction; its roll call of shortlisted and winning authors includes some of the greatest writers of the last 50 years. On the eve of the announcement of the 2019 winner, join the shortlisted authors for an evening of readings and conversation around their novels. The 2019 Booker Prize for Fiction is chaired by Peter Florence and the judges are Afua Hirsch, Liz Calder, Xiaolu Guo and Joanna MacGregor.
More info