A conspiracy is afoot. Literary London is listless and lethargic these next few days – after back-to-back Burns Night and Australia Day outings this weekend, we can relate – yet there’s an explosion of midweek activity, leaving us paranoid that the powers-that-be are plotting to drive us crazy, leave us whimpering and indecisive, cursing our inability to be in two places at once. Yes, between this and the stock market madness, we’re a short rope from storing all our savings in pillowcases and donning a tinfoil hat – if it weren’t for all these interesting events to draw us out of our hole...
Monday: The book grocer will from now on be referring to the start of the week as Poetry Monday, as this seems to be the day the poets like most to come out and play. Join the Littlest Birds for open mic poetry at the Poetry Café, 8–11pm, £3.50 tickets, £2.50 concessions.
Wednesday: If you’re into the occult, Tarot cards, and blockbuster novels, head to the Soutbank Centre to hear Labyrinth author Kate Mosse reading from her latest novel, Sepulchre. 7.45pm, £10 tickets, £5 concessions. Also on tonight is UnSilenced Voices, featuring Somali and other exiled writers and musicians, at the Oxford House Café. 7pm, free.
Thursday: Thursday really gets our knickers in a twist. Too many events, not enough book grocer to attend them all. To start, we have Irish poet Eavan Boland delivering the annual Poetry Society lecture, this year entitled ‘Shades & Contours: A Cartography of the State of Poetry’, over at the Bishopsgate Institute. If Boland suggests that poetry be sexed up a bit by locking a group of poets in the Big Brother house, you’ll know where she got the idea. Lecture at 7pm. £12 tickets, £8 concessions/Poetry Society members. Or there’s author Gilles Leroy discussing his Prix Goncourt-winning novel Alabama Song, a fictional autobiography of Zelda Fitzgerald, with Independent literary editor Boyd Tonkin, at the Institut français, 7.30pm, £3 tickets, £2 concessions. Meanwhile, the National Portrait Gallery hosts an evening of readings to celebrate the 800th anniversary of Persian poet Rumi’s birth. 7pm, £5 tickets, £3 concessions. There’s also the third and final of Oliver James’s Selfish Capitalism seminars at UCL’s J Z Young Theatre, this one entitled ‘Modern False Consciousness’ and featuring NEF director Stewart Wallis. 7–9.30pm, £5 tickets. Finally, time things to the minute and you might be able to catch both one of the earlier events and the later Book Slam at Neighbourhood, this month featuring Will Self. Doors open at 6.30, event starts at 8.30. Tickets £6 in advance, £8 at the door. And we’re spent.
Friday: You’ll need Friday off to recover from Thursday.
Saturday: Don’t you just love precocious youth who write critically acclaimed books when they’re barely out of their teens? Following the publication of his debut novel, Apples, 22-year-old Richard Milward has been likened both to Irvine Welsh and to J.D. Salinger. Suppress those tiny twinges of jealousy and go listen to the phenom read from his novel at the Acton Library this weekend. Free, 2.30–3.45pm.
Also on this week: The Watercolours & Drawings Fair, including selections of artist’s books; and the Destinations Holiday & Travel Show, featuring sessions on travel writing and selections from travel bookshops – when funds are lacking, this is the next best thing to a holiday getaway. Both run from 31 January to 3 February.
Know of an event that belongs in the book grocer listings? E-mail it to londonist-at-gmail-dot-com.
Image courtesy of The Pack’s Flickr photostream