23 June 2017 | 23.9 °C

Join Top Authors For A Celebration Of London Literature

By Londonist Last edited 15 months ago
Join Top Authors For A Celebration Of London Literature
See Simon Schama, Joanna Trollope, Ian Hislop and others at the Words In The Square festival at the London Library.

Not only hosting an extraordinary collection of over a million books and periodicals, the London Library is also steeped in history. Some of the greatest names in literature, from Dickens to Darwin and Woolf to Christie, perused the periodicals and borrowed the books.

To celebrate 175 years since its opening, the library has organised a literary festival, Words In The Square, featuring over 50 well-known speakers.

Running 5-8 May, the programme includes Victoria Hislop, Nick Hornby, Elif Shafak and Joanna Trollope discussing Why I Write; historian Simon Schama talking about The Books That Made Me; and Sebastian Faulks and Sophie Hannah explaining what it's like to continue a series of books written by a famous author.

Meanwhile, Private Eye editor Ian Hislop, Pepys biographer Claire Tomalin, London historian Jerry White and others will talk about 1841 — the year in which the library opened.

Elsewhere, if you've ever wondered what about Philippa Gregory's guilty pleasure read, or Ned Beauman's favourite childhood story, Desert Island Books will give you the answers, as broadcaster Tom Sutcliffe asks a panel of authors a series of quickfire questions.

See the London Library's Reading Room and the 17 miles of shelves housing over a million books. Photo by Philip Vile.

This is just a taste of the 16-event programme created under the stewardship of directors James Runcie and David Kynaston, which is packed with even more literary gems befitting such an institution's 175th birthday.

And if that's tickled your fancy, you can dive deeper into the fascinating collection in St James's Square by joining a tour of the library and nosing through the 17 miles of books covering history and humanities, art, science, literature and biography.

Words In The Square runs from 5-8 May at the London Library, 14 St James's Square, SW1Y 4LG. Tickets to individual events are £17.50 (some evening events cost more); or get a one-, two- or three-day pass (£55-£185), which include a tour of the library. Tickets are available from the box office.

Last Updated 23 March 2016