Events For Book Lovers In London This Winter

Events For Book Lovers In London This Winter
Two women standing outside of the Kirkdale Bookshop.
Kirkdale Bookshop hosts a Matthew Caley poetry evening. Image: Jesse Rose

This time of year, few things can beat getting stuck into a juicy book or three. Here's our roundup of book clubs, literary exhibitions, book swaps, launches and more.

Fantasy: Realms Of The Imagination, British Library

British Library's newest exhibition, Realms of Imagination invites you to lose yourself in the fictional worlds you know and love. From middle-earth to Pan’s Labyrinth, the exhibit brings the mystical worlds off the page and into central London. We gave it ★★★★☆ in our review. Also look out for various events themed around this exhibition. (At time of writing, the British Library's website isn't working due to technical issues, but the exhibition remains open.)

Fantasy: Realms Of The Imagination, British Library, until 25 February 2024

Ella Risbridger & Kate Young: The Dinner Table, London Review Bookshop, Bloomsbury

Listen to Ella Risbridger and Kate Young discuss The Dinner Table, an anthology of 100 different writers, on the ever-topical subject of food — from Samuel Pepys on the glories of parmesan, to Nigella Lawson on mayonnaise. The evening includes an apéro hour.

Ella Risbridger & Kate Young: The Dinner Table, London Review Bookshop, 9 November 2023

Part of the Fantasy exhibition with a London skylines
Fantasy: Realms Of The Imagination is on at the British Library till February. Image: Matt Brown/Londonist

Orbital: Samantha Harvey in Conversation with Emily Rhodes, Daunt Books, Marylebone

Here's an event for lovers of books and outer space alike. Samantha Harvey's new book, Orbital, tells the tale of six astronauts orbiting Earth for scientific research, who begin to ask: "What is life without Earth? What is Earth without humanity?".

Orbital: Samantha Harvey in Conversation with Emily Rhodes, Daunt Books, 14 November 2023

Forward Book of Poetry 2024 launch, Foyles, Charing Cross

Celebrate the launch of the Forward Book of Poetry 2024 a collection of UK contemporary poetry published in 2023 — along with reading from  some of the contributing poets including Anthony Anaxagorou, Laurie Bolger, Declan Ryan, and Jacqueline Saphra. The event's chaired by poet Arjunan Manuelpillai.

Forward Book of Poetry 2024 launch, Foyles, 21 November 2023

The Lonely Girls Club Winter Book Swap, Little Orange Door, Clapham

Meet new friends and pick up a tasty winter read at The Lonely Girls Club's book swap this November. The club is one of the UK's largest communities for women, and the book exchange includes lots of pizza, prosecco... and books.

The Lonely Girls Club Winter Book Swap, Little Orange Door, 26 November 2023

Women from The Lonely Girls Club holding the books they have acquired at the book swap
Book swapping with prosecco? That'll be The Lonely Girls Club Book Swap.

Matthew Caley To Abandon Wizardry, Kirkdale Bookshop, Sydenham

Calling all poets! Kirkdale Bookshop hosts a night featuring Matthew Caley, readings from his seventh collection of poems, To Abandon Wizardry, which explores a world where it's increasingly hard to tell what's real and what's not.

Matthew Caley: To Abandon Wizardry, Kirkdale Bookshop, 28 November 2023

An Evening with Margaret Atwood at St Mary’s Church Marylebone

The legendary author of The Handmaid's Tale, The Testaments, Cat's Eye — and many other influential works — discusses her newest collection of essays, Burning Questions, with writer and filmmaker, Afua Hirsch. There'll also be a chance to get your booked signed.

An Evening with Margaret Atwood at St Mary’s Church Marylebone, 30 November 2023

London Christmas Book Fair, Holiday Inn Bloomsbury

Looking for special gifts for the bookish people in your life/yourself? The Provincial Book Fair Association's Christmas Book Fair sells are range of rare and vintage books — plus posters, original artworks and more.

London Christmas Book Fair, Holiday Inn Bloomsbury, 2 December

Warm winter sunlight slices through the early morning cold of a February fog lingering on Wood Pond, Kenwood, Hampstead Heath.
Go on a walking book club around Hampstead Heath this winter. Image: Tony Hall via creative commons

Christmas Grotto at Pickled Pepper Books, Crouch End

The holidays are a magical time for many children, and Pickled Pepper Books is bringing a bookish element to the proceedings with their Christmas Grotto. Children can enjoy a theatrical performance from Santa and his elf, Gingersnap, this December. They will receive a wrapped book, chosen by an expert 'book fairy'.  

Christmas Grotto at Pickled Pepper Books, Crouch End, 2, 3, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17 December 2023

Emily’s Walking Book Club, Hampstead Heath

Emily's Walking Book Club has been meeting since 2012; as the name suggests, the idea is you discuss the chosen book while walking around beautiful Hampstead Heath. November's read is Just Kids by Patti Smith, and December's is The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. The walks depart from Daunt Books Hampstead. If you can't attend the walk, there is a Zoom option.

Emily's Walking Book Club, 19 November and 10 December 2023

And a couple more bookish ideas for this winter...

BookBar Patrons enjoying a drink outside of the book shop.
BookBar encourages you to read with a glass of wine in hand.

Take a stroll down 'Booksellers Row', Charing Cross

Cecil Court, also known as 'Booksellers Row' is flanked with a plethora of bookshops, and over Christmas it's festooned with pretty bunting, making it a picturesque spot for holiday shopping, or simply a festive read. Every shop here has its own merits, although why not pick up a signed edition of Denzil Meyrick's festive Murder at Holly House from Goldsboro Books, or pick up an esoteric stocking filler from Watkins Books.

Pick up a festive read at BookBar, Highbury  

BookBar is exactly what it sounds like: a book shop which happens to serve wine — which in our opinion, makes it perfect for a festive visit! Enjoy a glass of vino while flicking through a good read, and picking up some books (or vouchers) for friends and family. Now THAT'S how you do your Christmas shopping.

Last Updated 06 November 2023

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