The second LSE Literary Festival runs 11th-13th February, exploring the edges of the arts and science - and it's all completely free. Ian Visits has a comprehensive run-down of the talks on Saturday 13th (we like the sound of Reading London with Dan Cruickshank; Lionel Shriver reading from her latest novel; and AS Byatt, Ben Okri, Helen Simpson and Colin Thubron musing on love) but there's other stuff happening too.
Appealing to our inner nerd is the festival's launch event, How Would a Robot Read a Novel? LSE researchers used text mining software to examine The Kilburn Social Club by Robert Hudson, trying to discover whether a machine can make less prejudiced judgements on a novel than more fleshy reviewers. All will be revealed on Thursday 11th under the watchful eye of Mark Lawson. (As with a couple of other events on the schedule, this one's followed by a drinks reception.)
Also worth pointing out are a discussion on whether we learn more about global poverty and international development from fiction than academic research (the panel includes Last King of Scotland author Giles Foden) and a debate on the effect of the recession on the publishing industry (totally comprehensible economist John Lanchester will be appearing), both on Friday 12th.
LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival: Off the Edge runs 11th-13th February at the London School of Economics. All tickets are free but must be reserved in advance. For more information see the LSE website.