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London Literature Festival: Reading the Future

Every now and then, far-sighted thinkers create a better world thanks to revolutionary thoughts. Some science fiction novels written years ago are now part of our every day reality. Visionary authors foresaw the future, shaped modern lifestyle, and influenced our lives.

What role could contemporary writers have for our coming future? The London Literature Festival at the Southbank Centre explores this question, and celebrates the influence of writers’ imaginations on modelling our future. Many notable intellectuals will attend the London Literature Festival. These include Richard Dawkins, ethologist, evolutionary biologist and celebrated author, and Marcus du Sautoy - a popular presenter for BBC, and professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. Both will offer an insight into the frontiers of scientific understanding.

With a wide assortment of events, readings and panels, there will be something for everyone. The festival opens with the reading of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, performed by the talented actors Christopher Eccleston, Emma Hamilton and Nikki Amuka-Bird. Brilliant emerging international authors will meet at the London Literature Festival, including Cixin Liu, the most famous science fiction Chinese author, and Hassan Blasim, prize-winning Iranian author who imagines Iran a century in the future.

A group of experts will discuss about David Bowie and his heritage. Biographer Paul Morley, author of The Age of Bowie: How David Bowie Made a World of Difference, will talk about Bowie’s prophetic lyrics that anticipated contemporary worries. And, if you are a fan of Alan Garner, author of fantasy and historical fiction, you can attend the panel about his 50-year career.

The future of literature will be questioned at the festival - from graphic novels to short stories. How will these approaches to fiction evolve? How will we read? Is the paper book dead? Alejandro Zambra and Iain Pears will show pioneering works that stimulate new ways of engaging to texts.

Can robots write poetry? Poets Edwin Morgan, Renee Gladman, Arthur Rimbaud and others will explore this fascinating topic. Among numerous authors will be best-selling writer Simon Garfield, accompanying us on a tour across time and history. Michel Faber will address how narrative and poetry can create different perspectives in time and space.

In addition to the lively lineup are two interesting initiatives: the first is the celebration of the National Poetry Day Live, to which the organisers will be dedicating numerous events, with abundant performances focused on poetry. The second is the Young Adult Literature Weekender, a day dedicated to young authors between 13 and 25 years, which rallies well-known bloggers, novelists, illustrators from all around the world.

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Written by Alessandro Volpino

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