Line-up announcements have been made and tickets have gone on sale for this year’s London Literature Festival, happening at the Southbank Centre from 3-12 July. Amongst the big names making appearances in those ten days are Michael Morpurgo (whose Q&A will almost certainly consist entirely of variations on the question ‘so what’s Steven Spielberg really like?’), John Pilger, Will Self, Andy Kershaw, Siri Hustvedt, Clive Stafford Smith, Noo Saro-Wiwa, Stella Duffy, Mark Haddon and Andy Stanton.
The festival will also see the UK premiere of legendary American author Don DeLillo’s one-act 2007 play The Word For Snow, which follows ‘an encounter between a modern pilgrim and a self-exiled scholar, attempting to come to terms with the ultimate contemporary question: what is happening?’, and is definitely not just an adaptation of Bob Dylan’s “Ballad of a Thin Man”.
Other notable events include Arab Revolutions, a day of ‘discussion, performance and exchange’ centred around the uprisings that have shaken the world over the past year, and the London-focused Capital Stories, ‘a playful and provocative look at the city that the world calls home’ (except of course for the approximately 6,832,735,864 people who don’t live there, but that’s neither here nor there).
Most intriguing is the event Shake The Dust, billed as ‘the biggest UK youth poetry slam’, in which teams from across the country will compete and which will feature contributions from Kate Tempest and Saul Williams, both artists who have built solid careers around spoken word but are better known as rappers.
Tempest is a London native who has won the acclaim of several higher-profile English hip-hop artists, including Roots Manuva and Scroobius Pip. Williams, meanwhile, is perhaps best known for his initially free to download 2007 album The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!, made in collaboration with erstwhile Nine Inch Nails/How To Destroy Angels frontman and unlikely Oscar winner Trent Reznor. Maybe they can convince Will Self to join them on stage and drop a verse or two, nahmean? Word is bond, yo.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.