June 20, 2024

Book buzz: the best literary events this Spring

For the love of books | © RebeccaVC1/ Flickr
For the love of books | © RebeccaVC1/ Flickr
Spring has sprung (well, officially it starts on Saturday but the sun is shining and we’ve spotted our first daffodil so that’s good enough for us) and there’s lots of lovely literary happenings to enjoy. Here’s our pick of the best…

London Book and Screen Week

Now in its third year, London Book and Screen Week returns to the capital for seven days of storytelling in all its forms. Literary events will be popping up across London, uniting readers, writers, gamers and film and TV fans. There’s something for everyone – from poetry jams to meet the author events. Highlights include an evening of Scandi noir at Waterstones Piccadilly; cocktails and readings in Soho’s The Light Lounge hosted by award-winning LGBT literary salon, Polari; a special screening of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel; and an improvised show based on audience suggestions at Leicester Square Theatre by all-star comedy troupe, Austentatious.
13 – 19 March, various locations

World Poets Series: Polish Poets in London

This year, the London Book Fair is putting Poland firmly on the literary map. As the focus country for 2017, event organisers will be highlighting its dynamic book industry and raising awareness of its rich cultural heritage. In partnership with the British Council, the National Poetry Library will also be celebrating Poland in this free (but ticketed) event. Jacek Dehnel and Marzanna Kielar, along with TS Eliot prize-winning poet George Szirtes, will be reading from their work and discussing the country’s vibrant poetry scene.
16 March, National Poetry Library, Level 5, Blue side, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

Adrian Mole: The Collected Poems by Sue Townsend

Misunderstood intellectual and tortured poet Adrian Mole turns 50 this year. And to celebrate, Penguin are launching new imprint Mole Press with the publication of his collected poems. The slim volume will feature over 30 works salvaged from his eight diaries – from an unforgettable first foray into rhyme dedicated to first love, Pandora, to his angry political verse railing against the tyranny of Mrs Thatcher.
Available 16 March

Daunt Books Festival

Bibliophiles won’t need any encouragement to visit London’s most beautiful bookshop. But for two days this week, Daunt’s wood-panelled Marylebone store is hosting a series of talks and events with an impressive line-up of guests. Highlights include Antonia Fraser in conversation with Mark Lawson, a talk with George Saunders, whose first novel Lincoln in the Bardo has been hailed as a literary masterpiece, and a walking book club that takes in a stroll around Regent’s Park. Delicious treats will be provided by local eateries including La Fromagerie, Rococo Chocolates and The Ginger Pig.
16 – 17 March, Daunt Books, 83 Marylebone High Street, London, W1U 4QW

On Being Archived: Will Self, Hanif Kureishi and Guests

Bestselling novelist, prolific journalist and walking dictionary Will Self has just donated his archives to the British Library. The collection ranges from drafts of books and cartoons, to family photos and letters from his contemporaries. He’ll be joined by another literary heavyweight, Hanif Kureishi, whose own archive at the Library dates back to a diary written at just 15 years old. Alongside Brendan King (former assistant to Beryl Bainbridge), they’ll be discussing how it feels to pass on a lifetime’s work to the nation.
24 March, Knowledge Centre, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB

The Baileys Prize Book Bar 

What’s the one thing that’s better than books? Books with booze of course. Celebrating the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2017 shortlist, the pop-up bar returns to Waterstones this April for five days of fantastic events. Exclusive readings, mixology classes and literary quizzes all feature, alongside appearances by writer and comedian Sarah Pascoe, Louise Doughty, author of Apple Tree Yard, and last year’s winner, the talented Lisa McInerney. And if you buy one of the shortlisted books, you’ll get a complimentary Baileys. What’s not to love?
4 – 7 April, Waterstones, 19-20 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 1BJ


As literary heroines go, Anne Shirley is hard to beat: feisty, flame-haired and always embroiled in an adventure. Now Lucy Maud Montgomery’s beloved childhood classic, Anne of Green Gables, is being adapted into a mini-series by Breaking Bad writer Moira Walley-Beckett. Newcomer Amybeth McNulty will play the spirited orphan who’s sent to live with an ageing brother and sister on their farm in Prince Edward Island – and ends up transforming the lives of everyone in town. Bookworms rejoice.
12 May, Netflix

Reading Arundhati Roy: A discussion of The God of Small Things

In 1997, Arundhati Roy’s debut novel rocketed to the top of the charts, and scooped its author the Man Booker Prize. Set in Kerala, its lush descriptions of India and heartbreaking story gripped the imagination of readers all over the world. To mark 20 years since its publication, Foyles are devoting the month of May to reading The God of Small Things. Take along your well-thumbed copy and settle down with other fans to re-visit this timeless classic and marvel in Roy’s masterful storytelling.
18 May, Foyles, 107 Charing Cross Road, Soho, London WC2H 0DT

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