The week ahead in literary London
Wednesday: International PEN launches its Free the Word! Festival with The Ex-Empire Strikes Back, with Maya Jaggi, Margaret Busby, James Kelman and Olive Senior examining how English has been shaped to express identity across the world. (Purcell Room @ QEH, 7.45pm, £10.)
Rupert Thomson is discussing his memoir of his father's death with Alex Clark at the London Review Bookshop (7pm, £6).
Women writers get a space to air their work at Loose Muse at the Poetry Cafe (8pm, £5 / £3).
Thursday: One of our favourite booky events, the Firestation Bookswap, is back with acclaimed novelist Ray Robinson and feminist campaigner Kat Banyard. There will be talk from hosts Scott Pack and Marie Phillips (at least some of which will relate to books) and cake. Bring a book to swap and have a ball (7.45pm, £5).
Eric Kaufmann, author of Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?, discusses increasing religious populations and the decline of liberal secularism at the RSA (6pm, free).
Free the Word! meets Beirut as Adania Shibli and Ala Hlehel to share their work with London audiences (Free Word Centre, 1pm, free). Also at the Festival Deon Meyer, Natalia Morari and Leonardo Padura talk about fiction and non-fiction crime writing at Foyles (6.30pm, free but email to reserve a ticket). Finally, Nawal El Saadawi is in conversation with Lisa Appignanesi at the QEH (7.45pm, £10).
Like mud wrestling, only with words, promise Bang Said the Gun. Regulars Dan Cockrill, Martin Galton, Sjannekke Milligan and Rob Auton are joined by Fran Landesman and Tongue in Chic (8pm, £5).
Friday: Over at Free the Word!, they're celebrating 50 years of the Writers in Prison Committee with Irakli Kakabadze, Nawal El Saadawi and Marian Botsford Fraser - all of whom have worked with the programme (LSE, 1pm, £8). In the evening, Richard Ford is in conversation with Blake Morrison at the QEH (7.45pm, £10), while Ross Sutherland and friends bring you word-related cabaret at the Southwark Playhouse (9.30pm, £8).
If you're up for things of a more rhythmic persuasion, get to the Trinity United Reform Church in Camden for the Camden Poetry Series (6.30pm, £4 / £3). All of the poets come from the floor, so expect a varied and fun evening.
Saturday: The London Book Fair is on next week; prepare yourself with one of their Masterclasses. Meg Rosoff and Lionel Shriver, publisher Mark Booth and agent Carole Blake are the panel for How to Get Published (11am, £35), while Julian Friedmann, David Nicholls, Paul Ashton and Dr Craig Batty share their experience on How to Write for the Screen (2.30pm, £35).
Workshops are also on the mind at Free the Word! - poetry workshops, this time. John Mateer (9.30am) and Olive Senior (2pm, £65 for both workshops) are leading. For those of a less participatory nature, Donato Ndongo-Bidyogo, Gillian Slovo and Juan Gabriel Vásquez take a look at historical fiction (RFH, 2pm, £7.50), Rutu Modan, Amruta Patil and Jakob Strid talk about graphic novels (RFH, 4.30pm, £7.50), and Korash Atahan, Ubax Cristina Ali Farah, John Mateer and Victor Teran introduce some of tomorrow's great poets (RFH, 7.45pm, £7.50).
Katherine Gallagher, Mark Roper, Lynda How and Christine Vial are doing the Poetry in Palmers Green tonight at 7.30pm (£5 / £3.50), while Roger Taber launches his new poetry collection at the Poetry Cafe (7.30pm).
Authors Imogen Robertson (Instruments of Darkness) and Rosemary Furber (The Most Intimate Place) talk about their latest books and the art of writing and researching fiction at Battersea Park Library (2pm, free).
Sunday: The Firestation Bookswap turns its attention to the younger reader, with Tamsyn Murray and Peter Cocks. Kids aged 9-14 will probably enjoy it most - get them to bring a random question for the question jar, a book to swap and their cake-eating mojo (2pm, free).
Free the Word! rounds off with a literary lunch (Young Vic bar, 1pm, free) featuring morsel-sized chunks from many of the festival writers. Maureen Freely, Daniel Hahn and Juan Gabriel Vásquez are all involved in the 2010 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, and will be talking about some of their favourite past winners at the Royal Festival Hall (4pm, £7.50). Sujata Bhatt, Maureen Freely, Blake Morrison and Derek Walcott take part in a finale of writers who have proved revolutionary in various ways (QEH, 7pm, £10).
Monday: Poet in the City and Keats House hold a celebration of the life and the poetry of John Keats at Kings Place (£9.50 / £11.50). Andrew Motion, Pamela Neville-Sington, Peggy Reynolds and Andrew Dawson will talk about various aspects of the great Romantic poet.
South African writers Antjie Krog, Achmat Dangor, Mandla Langa and Zoe Wicomb are at Foyles Charing Cross Road (6.30pm, free but email to reserve a place) to talk about the ways to deal with a troubled history - is it best to remember, or forget?
Tuesday: Christopher Davidson and Jim Krane discuss the phenomenal economic growth and contraction of Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the final event leading up to the Festival of Asian Literature (Asia House, 6.45pm, £10 / £6).
If you couldn't get to Battersea on Saturday, there's another chance to catch Imogen Robertson and Rosemary Furber at Blackheath Village Library (7pm).