The Book Grocer

By Julie PH Last edited 128 months ago
The Book Grocer

Tra la, it’s May, the lusty month of May – and we, apparently, feel like singing. Is it the gorgeous weather? The lovely literary events in our diary? Our trips up and down the too-hot-to-trot Northern Line? The Pimm’s coursing through our veins? (No, surely not that.) Need to ramp up your own book lust for the week? Then have a gander at our groceries:

Wednesday: Your choice of poetry events today: As part of its American Scene exhibit, the British Museum hosts Poets Among Painters, a gallery talk (1.15pm, free) highlighting the engagement of such twentieth-century American poets as Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, Frank O’Hara, and John Ashbery with contemporary painters. Meanwhile, the Southbank Centre’s Poetry Library hosts an evening of readings and discussion of the poetry of Sylvia Townsend Warner as well as that of Valentine Ackland, Warner’s partner of nearly 40 years (8pm, free).

Thursday: To say that Ma Jian’s Beijing Coma has been well received would be an understatement; the Telegraph calls it a “breathtaking novel” and a “landmark work of fiction”. You can hear Ma Jian read from his latest, featuring a comatose protagonist injured during the demonstrations at Tiananmen Square, at the Southbank Centre tonight (7.45pm, £7.50, 50% off concessions).

Friday: Poet Lavinia Greenlaw reads from her work as part of the Somerset House’s lunchtime series, That Mighty Heart: Poets' Visions of London (1.10pm, free; to request a ticket, e-mail And because it’s Friday, and because all good festivals must have a proper launch, Housmans kicks off the festivities for 1968 and All That (free, 7pm onwards), dubbed as a “major international conference, bookfair and multi-media event celebrating the global resistance of 1968 and its legacy”. The Housmans launch will include film and music, vintage 1968, and, of course, wine (just hazarding a guess here but probably not vintage 1968).

Saturday: Said festival actually runs today, if you can pull yourself out of bed after consuming all that non-1968-vintage wine the night before. Socialists, Surrealists, Situationists, and even plain-old square bibliophiles should all find something of interest in this full-day event (free, 10am onwards).

Also on: If your activism takes a greener bent, you might want to check out London Aware 08 at the Barbican this weekend. Promoting green ideas for everyday living, the event includes a number of author talks on global warming, organic gardening, vegetarianism, and green resources. Tickets are £5. Talks run both Saturday and Sunday.

Sunday: Attention all (five of) you Miltonians: The Hampstead and Highgate Festival hosts John Milton: Pre-eminence Lost? in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the poet's birth. Actor Lance Pierson will be on hand to read from Milton’s work and to explore whether the poet’s reputation should and can be salvaged from the likes of bad jokes about there being only five Miltonians. 7.30pm, £10/£7 concessions.

Know of an event that belongs in the Book Grocer listings? Please e-mail us at londonist-at-gmail-dot-com.

Image courtesy of mjkmjk’s Flickrstream

Last Updated 05 May 2008