Later this month, the London Literature Festival commences at the Southbank Centre. Lovers of fiction, poetry, drama and philosophy have a vast and eclectic programme of events to enjoy for the whole of the summer and to commemorate the launch, a truly landmark poetry reading is due to be held at the Royal Festival on May 26th.
Sylvia Plath's Ariel celebrates the launch of a newly restored edition of Plath's famous posthumous collection. Forty leading female poets, writers and performers will assemble to read one poem each from the new edition, which is based on Plath's final unedited manuscript.
Ariel is widely considered to be Plath's greatest achievement in poetry, with the writer Robert Lowell saying: "in these poems Sylvia Plath becomes herself, becomes something imaginary, newly, wildly and subtly created."
The unique evening will be introduced by Plath's daughter Frieda Hughes. Tickets are still available, starting at £10, but are expected to sell out quickly. Potential attendees are advised to act soon.
Running until September 8th, the London Literature Festival promises to be at the centre of the capital's literary calendar for the coming months. The South Bank is already a major destination for tourists wishing to sample the city's cultural delights and this summer book lovers will have dozens of great reasons to visit.
Other events in May include an evening of readings from ten novelists shortlisted for this year's Man Booker International Prize. The award, which will be presented later this year following the deliberations of a panel of judges, recognises a writer's overall contribution to literature. Both English language novelists and those whose works are available in translation are considered. The event is held at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on May 20th.
With an attractive location served by the Waterloo, Embankment and Charing Cross tube stops, the Southbank Centre is a short trip for anyone staying in hotels in central London.