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

The Portrait of a Lady

Beginning 15 February

“It’s just as when one has been trying to spell out a book in the twilight, and suddenly the lamp comes in. I had been putting out my eyes over the book of life, and finding nothing to reward me for my pains; but now that I can read it properly I see that it’s a delightful story.”

                                                                                      ― Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

Homer's Iliad

Beginning 16 February with Mark Cwik

“Rage—Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles,
murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses,
hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls. . .”

New Kid - Online Study

Beginning 23 February

Barb Turk leads this study of the 2020 Newbury Medal winner New Kid by Jerry Craft, examining the experience of a Black student starting out in a predominantly white secondary school in the Bronx.  

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?

february 2021

08feb6:00 pm8:00 pmHamlet by William Shakespeare with Jane Wymark*** SALON FULL***6:00 pm - 8:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Six Weeks

15feb6:00 pm8:00 pmHenry James: The Portrait of a Lady Seven-week Virtual study2.7.21: One space remaining!6:00 pm - 8:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Seven weeks

16feb2:00 pm4:15 pmHomer's Iliad*** SALON FULL ***2:00 pm - 4:15 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Eight weeks

23feb4:30 pm5:30 pmNew Kid by Jerry Craft - *Virtual Study*Winner of the 2020 Newbery Medal for Excellence in Children's Literature4:30 pm - 5:30 pm GMT VIRTUALType Of Study:Middle Grades LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Five weeks

24feb6:00 pm8:00 pmThe Sonnet - Creativity and Constraint6:00 pm - 8:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Two weeks

march 2021

04mar4:30 pm6:30 pmThe Bible as Literature: One-meeting taster**This Study is now FULL**4:30 pm - 6:30 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:One Off EventDuration:One day

10mar6:00 pm8:00 pmMacbeth with Jane Wymark*** SALON FULL***6:00 pm - 8:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Eight weeks

29mar12:30 pm2:30 pmWithin a Budding Grove - Vol. II Proust's A la recherché...12:30 pm - 2:30 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Three months

april 2021

06apr2:00 pm4:00 pmDubliners: Between Paralysis and EpiphanyVirtual Salon2:00 pm - 4:00 pm Kentish Town, LondonType 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

20apr5:00 pm7:00 pmMiddlemarch by George EliotVirtual Salon5:00 pm - 7:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Seven weeks

may 2021

02may(may 2)12:00 pm09(may 9)12:00 pmHomer's Odyssey in Greece: One-week immersionNew Dates12:00 pm - 12:00 pm (9) Island of Agistri, GreeceType Of Study:TravelFrequency:One Off EventDuration:Eight Days

29may11:00 amReading the Body: Salon and Yoga retreat in Umbria DATE CHANGE11:00 am Umbria, ItalyType Of Study:TravelFrequency:One Off EventDuration:One Week

september 2021

29sep(sep 29)6:00 pm03oct(oct 3)12:00 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 - (october 3) 12:00 pm St Ives, CornwallType Of Study:Literature,TravelFrequency:One Off EventDuration:Five days

october 2021

29sep(sep 29)6:00 pm03oct(oct 3)12:00 pmThe Years by Virginia Woolf Five-day study in St Ives *NEW DATES*Immersive Study of Woolf's family saga in her beloved Cornwall(september 29) 6:00 pm - (october 3) 12:00 pm St Ives, CornwallType Of Study:Literature,TravelFrequency:One Off EventDuration:Five days

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.

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‘The Plot Against America’ comes back to haunt me

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LLS Press Release

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Why Read Ulysses??

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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. 

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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
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