London Library celebrates 180 years with literary festival

London Library celebrates 180 years with literary festival

The London Library is holding a literary festival to mark its 180th anniversary this spring, featuring Salman Rushdie, Sarah Waters and Simon Schama.

Taking place from 1st to 3rd May, it will feature digital talks, workshops and performances exploring libraries and the London Library venue itself as “places of community, discovery and refuge”.

In an exclusive public event, Rushdie will celebrate 40 years since the publication of his trailblazing novel Midnight's Children (Vintage). He will discuss the inspiration and genesis of that book, his body of work since, freedom of expression and the role the London Library and English PEN have played in his writing life. The event forms part of Common Currency, English PEN’s 2021 centenary programme.

Other talks with leading writers will include Waters in conversation with Hallie Rubenhold, Simon Schama discussing friendships and rivalries in art and literature, and Polly Samson and Edmund de Waal 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 another event. In partnership with the Brighton Festival, Monique Roffey and C Pam Zhang will be discussing myth and discovery.

Elsewhere on the line-up, 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.

Philip Marshall, director of The London Library, commented: “The London Library aims to inspire, support and promote reading and writing. We are, therefore, incredibly excited to be celebrating our 180th birthday in the shared company of so many wonderfully talented writers and our online festival audiences. We look forward to welcoming everyone to what is sure to be a tremendously insightful and enjoyable weekend of talks, readings and discussions.”

Hatchards will run the festival bookshop and all the books featured in the festival can be purchased from its website.

The full programme including event details and dates, plus ticket information, is available online.