Wednesday: Why, the pairing of St Pancras’s Betjeman Arms and Lance Pierson’s one-man show, The Best of John Betjeman, seems very much like a match made in heaven – and surely not in Slough. Through dramatic readings of Betjeman’s poems, interwoven with stories from the poet laureate’s life, Pierson invites his audiences on “a journey through Betjeman’s life and passions” (performances at 12 and 2pm, with a sandwich lunch [a sandwich lunch!] included in the £8 admission).
Thursday: A wealth of options from which to choose this evening, and if you’re as indecisive as us, you could do worse than to base your gig of choice on geography: First up, head west, young man (or woman) for Book Slam, now staging at Tabernacle. Performing this month are novelist David Nicholls, reading from his latest; poet and poetry boy band Aisle16 member Luke Wright; and “post-folk poster girl” Lettie (doors at 6pm, £8).
Staying central? Head to Dick’s Bar (23 Romilly Street) for Pen Pusher’s launch of issue number lucky 13, with readings from Robert Twigger, Roddy Lumsden, Joe Dunthorne, Ashna Sarkar, Nathan Penlington, Inua Ellams, Tim Wells and John Hegley (7pm). Meanwhile, Kentish Town’s Owl Bookshop is where it’s at for you Northerners: Ambit magazine hosts an evening of poetry and prose, with readings from Doug Thompson, Alan Brownjohn and Tim Liardet (7pm, free entry, free wine).
South Londoners can get their Pink Floyd-inspired poetry fix at Battersea’s The Duchess. On a Trip to Cirrus Minor will feature new poems from a slew of familiar names from the London poetry circuit, including Simon Barraclough, Julia Bird, Isobel Dixon, Katy Evans Bush and Chris McCabe (7pm, £3).
And last but not least for you East Londoners: 14 Hour Presents Donut Press, with readings from John Hegley, Wayne Smith, Annie Freud and, pulling off the neat trick of being two places at once, Tim Wells (Whitechapel Gallery, 7pm, free).
Friday: Skedaddle out of work early this Friday (or, if you’re a responsible type, take a long lunch break) for London: Glamour & Grime, at the Old Operating Theatre (1pm). Greg Gallant will read from shortlisted entries and announce the winner of the London Fringe Short Fiction Competition as part of the London Bridge Festival.
In the evening, head to the Farrago London Grand Slam at The Drill Hall (6.30pm, £7). The London qualifier for the BBC Radio 4 Poetry Slam competition will bring together a stellar lineup of competitiors, special guests and judges, but we’ll make particular mention of Jasmine Cooray, she of WRITELondon, who will be reading from her first collection, Everything We Don’t Say.
Saturday: Utter! brings us its MisGuided Tour of Hackney, with Richard Tyrone Jones as host of this exploration of E8 and its literary associations past and present. Includes open mic opportunities for the brave. (Meet at 2pm at Hackney Central Station, £5)
Sunday: For Keats in Hampstead, you are advised to bring a picnic whilst you “spend an afternoon in the company of an English poet.” Ah, it sounds so very refined. Join James Veitch at the Keats House for this dramatic exploration of the relationship between Keats and the girl next door, one Miss Fanny Brawne (performances at 3pm and 6pm, £7).
Monday: Whilst Henry Allingham’s death may have brought to a close one more chapter of World War I history, author Diane Atkinson resurrects another in Elsie and Mairi Go to War. Atkinson will be at Harefield Library (7pm, free) reading from this true story of two friends whose founding of a frontline first aid post made them the most famous women of the war.
Tuesday: Not much on today that we could find, so why not do a little creative DIY? John Ashbery, Malcolm Lowry, Beatrice Potter and Gerard Manley Hopkins were all born on the 28th of July (82, 90, 143 and 165 years ago, respectively). Redress any omissions in your literary schooling and have an impromptu reading of your own in birthday celebration.
Also of note today: The Man Booker longlist is announced.