A place for the meeting of minds . . .

“Thank you, thank you, thank you. I never would have read Ulysses but am very glad that I have. It was frustrating, moving, enigmatic, and uplifting – and that was just the first page. It – and the salon – were also a gift for me this year. Life has been challenging and the Salon was a pocket of time when everything else went away. It was a rare moment  in which I was truly immersed in the here and now. And that doesn’t seem to happen much these days.”  

Ulysses Salon participant 

Image credit: Jose Barba www.jajed.com

Gerard Manley Hopkins: The Windhover

Single evening poetry intensive 28 March

Composed on 30 May 1887, Hopkins called The Windhover ‘the best thing I ever wrote’ and since its publication it has been celebrated for its daring, innovative language and stunningly accurate evocation of a kestrel in mid-flight. 
Over the course of two hours we will study the poem in depth, look at its form and construction and, through repeated readings, unlock the secrets of this acclaimed poem.

Within a Budding Grove

Beginning 29 March

Vol. II of Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu

“When we are in love, our love is too big a thing for us to be able altogether to contain it within ourselves. It radiates towards the loved one, finds there a surface which arrests it, forcing it to return to its starting-point, and it is this repercussion of our own feeling which we call the other’s feelings and which charms us more then than on its outward journey because we do not recognise it as having originated in ourselves.”
                                                                                                ― Marcel Proust, Within a Budding Grove

Henry James: The Ambassadors

Beginning 30 March with Keith Fosbrook

‘I am able to estimate this as, frankly, quite the best, “all round”… of all my productions.’
                                                                                                                                                     – Henry James

Joyce's The Dubliners

Beginning 13 April

“My intention was to write a chapter of the moral history of my country and I chose Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to me the centre of paralysis. I have tried to present it to the indifferent public under four of its aspects: childhood, adolescence, maturity and public life. The stories are arranged in this order.”
—James Joyce as quoted in Herbert Gorman’s James Joyce (NY, 1939)


Beginning 15 April with Geoff Brown

Faulkner’s Sanctuary has attracted wide controversy from the moment of its publication. The novel has contributed significantly to the author’s reputation as a writer of Gothic, melodramatic tales of violence and sexual misconduct. This new study will look at the extent to which that view is justified by this work, and will give participants the opportunity to discuss the novel in the wider context of Faulkner’s other writing.

Class Act

Beginning 20 April

Barb Turk facilitates this study into New York Times bestselling author Jerry Craft’s companion book to New Kid, winner of the 2020 Newbery Medal, the Coretta Scott King Author Award, and the Kirkus Prize. This time, it’s Jordan’s friend Drew who takes centre stage in another laugh-out-loud funny, powerful, and important story about being one of the few kids of colour in a prestigious private school.

Coming Travel Studies 2021

Literary adventures abound: Virginia Woolf in St Ives, The Odyssey and then The Iliad in Greece, Henry James and Dacia Maraini in Umbria with Yoga

On-going Proust studies

In Search of Lost Time Vol. V & VI – The Captive and the Fugitive

“Every reader, as he reads, is actually the reader of himself. The writer’s work is only a kind of optical instrument he provides the reader so he can discern what he might never have seen in himself without this book. The reader’s recognition in himself of what the book says is the proof of the book’s truth.” 

Joyce's Ulysses - Online Study

For first timers – afternoon and evening options

“Plenty to see and hear and feel yet. Feel live warm beings near you. They aren’t going to get me this innings. Warm beds: warm full blooded life.”

Welcome to the London Literary Salon

The London Literary Salon creates community around the study of great literature and ideas.

In light of the global crisis facing us, all of the Salons are now offered virtually, using face-to-face video conferencing that recreates the live, interactive, small-group experience of our in-person Salons.  We will offer some donation-only studies alongside the regular-priced opportunities. In recognition of the extraordinary stress of the times and the need for connection that the Salon offers, if you are interested in a study but are unable to pay, please contact the facilitator. We will also offer free tutorials on the conference platform. 

The Salon offers unique discussion-based studies of outstanding works of fiction, philosophy, poetry and drama. We welcome all readers with a curiosity and openness to the insights of others—no academic preparation is necessary.

Our expert facilitators help to weave the ideas of participants with questions the books raise about what it is to be human. We visit realms imagined by writers and thinkers from ancient times to modern.

Studies range from one-meeting intensives to six-month and two-year odysseys, along with travel retreats to locations around the UK and Europe.

Click here to read more about the Salon experience or browse upcoming studies below.

What's coming up this year?

april 2021

12apr6:00 pm8:00 pmDubliners: Between Paralysis and EpiphanyUpdate *ONE SPACE AVAILABLE*6:00 pm - 8:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Eight weeks

13apr2:00 pm4:00 pmDubliners: Between Paralysis and EpiphanyUpdate *ONE SPACE AVAILABLE*2:00 pm - 4:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Eight weeks

15apr1:00 pm3:00 pmSanctuary by William FaulknerNEW study! 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Five weeks

20apr4:30 pm5:30 pmClass Act by Jerry Craft - *Virtual Study*The highly anticipated sequel to New Kid, winner of the 2020 Newbery Medal4:30 pm - 5:30 pm GMT VIRTUALType Of Study:Middle Grades LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Five weeks

20apr5:00 pm7:00 pmMiddlemarch by George Eliot*ONE SPACE REMAINING*5:00 pm - 7:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Seven weeks

21apr5:00 pm7:00 pmHENRY JAMES: THE AMBASSADORS*** New Dates***5:00 pm - 7:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Seven weeks

27apr6:00 pm8:00 pmThe Sonnet - Creativity and ConstraintDual Facilitation with Jane and Caroline6:00 pm - 8:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Two weeks

28apr6:00 pm8:00 pmLong Ago and Far Away: The NorseOngoing virtual study6:00 pm - 8:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:Literature,PhilosophyFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Ongoing

29apr4:00 pm6:15 pmVergil's Aeneid—New translation by Shadi Bartsch4:00 pm - 6:15 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Nine weeks

may 2021

06may4:30 pm6:30 pmThe Bible as Literature: Job and the Search for Wisdom*NEW Virtual study*4:30 pm - 6:30 pm VIRTUAL

08may2:00 pm4:00 pmGerard Manley Hopkins: The Windhover*NEW DATE*2:00 pm - 4:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:One Off EventDuration:One day

10may6:00 pmA Midsummer Night's DreamThis STUDY IS NOW FULL6:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:Weekly Event TagsA Midsummer Night's Dream,Jane Wymark,Julie Sutherland,William Shakespeare

12may6:00 pm8:00 pmWintering by Sylvia PlathNEW study! 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:One Off Event

june 2021

10jun5:00 pm7:30 pmBeloved by Toni Morrison 4-week studyVIRTUAL STUDY5:00 pm - 7:30 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Four weeks

september 2021

29sep6:00 pm12:00 pmThe Years by Virginia Woolf Five-day study in St Ives *NEW DATES*Immersive Study of Woolf's family saga in her beloved Cornwall6:00 pm - 12:00 pm St Ives, CornwallType Of Study:Literature,TravelFrequency:One Off EventDuration:Five days

january 2022

10jan2:30 pm7:00 pmUlysses by James Joyce: First-timers Afternoon and Evening options*100 year Anniversary special*2:30 pm - 7:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Six months

Can't find what you're looking for?

Would you like to study something else? Have a look at our past salons to see what events we have run previously.

Or do you have a suggestion for a salon? We'd love to hear your ideas. Please let us know.

“A place for the meeting of minds- to connect, to agree and disagree and to use books as a means through which to ponder the various aspects of human existence and experience in all of its messy glory.” — Ulysses Salonista 


Thank you to Jose Barba for the wonderful illustrations he has created for the London Literary Salon. Click on the images below to enlarge and scroll.

Latest Salon News

Reflections on Their Eyes Were Watching God

Reflections on Their Eyes Were Watching God      by Alison Cable The Dream Keeper, by Langston Hughes Bring me all of your dreams, You dreamers, Bring me all of your Heart melodies That I may wrap them In a blue cloud-cloth Away from the too-rough fingers Of the...

read more

Coming Studies September 2020

“There is one peculiarity which real works of art possess in common. At each fresh reading one notices some change in them, as if the sap of life ran in their leaves, and with skies and plants they had the power to alter their shape and colour from season to season....

read more

‘The Plot Against America’ comes back to haunt me

Sue Fox is a Salon member who has added her good mind and passionate reading  to studies on Invisible Man, Hamlet, Faulkner-- just to name a few....this article first appeared in the on-line magazine JewThink. Thanks to Sue for letting us publish here as well. I can...

read more

Reading to Widen Perspective

Reading to Widen Perspective  The London Literary Salon has always been committed to using literature to combat prejudice. I have been leading discussions on literature by Black Americans for 30 years- and continue to find the study of the passionate writing by Toni...

read more

LLS Press Release

  MEDIA RELEASE – 8 APRIL 2020 (for immediate release) KEEP CALM, READ ULYSSES AND CARRY ON . . . The impact of COVID-19, which initially threatened disaster, has resulted in one London business going global almost overnight. The Kentish Town-based London...

read more

Community Events

The Dressmaker of Paris by Georgia Kaufmann

Thrilled for Salonista Georgia Kaufmann-- whose debut novel, The Dressmaker of Paris-- is getting rave reviews!! Breathtaking and utterly enthralling, The Dressmaker of Paris is perfect for fans of Lucinda Riley, Kate Morton and Dinah Jefferies. ‘The Dressmaker of...

read more

Rejoice in Joyce: Toby’s article in the Camden New Journal

Toby wrote an article for the Camden New Journal advocating for (what else?) the joy of Big Reads: Full article may be found here: http://camdennewjournal.com/article/review-book-club-take-time-to-rejoice-in-joyce "Does it help to know that others before us have felt...

read more

Life After Hummus: Community Support

Since the Corona Virus crisis began, we have all been looking for ways to reach out to those in need. The LLS has been supporting LifeAfterhummus with Salons that are donation-only-- the Salon can be joined for as little as a pound-- and the donations go to local...

read more

Why Read Ulysses??

Than there is the writing: to grapple with the words and linguistic pyrotechnics of James Joyce—to enter into his exploration of the body, mind and street-life, to sit in awe of his allusions, musicality, interweaving structures and thematic developments is to expand...

read more

Concert in Paris 15 November

The wonderful Hélène Larisch-- Paris Salonista and organiser for the Tout en Parlant association --offers this fabulous concert to raise money to support the great work of providing cultural offerings and connections for people with limited sight. 

read more

Newsletter Sign Up

* indicates required
I would recommend courses led by Toby to anyone who wants to look at a text in detail in a study group
I was certainly surprised at how much I was thrown off balance by these two astounding writers…I look forward to returning for more
We all came to the group with different backgrounds and interests but Mark has skillfully guided us through a stimulating programme of Greek literature.
I always leave the meetings with a much broader understanding of what we are reading than when I arrived
Everyone feels they get heard and therefore that each of us has a contribution to make
In all of the courses I have attended I have felt a bond within the group, and this contributes significantly to the quality of the discussions
Lovely, intimate groups with in-depth discussions, lots of learning, and friendships are made for life there
I’ve read things I’d never dared read before.  I’ve made new friends and met really interesting people.
On facilitation
Read more feedback ...