About The London Literary Salon

What is a Salon?

“The Salon is 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 it in all of its messy glory. . . It’s the cornerstone of my intellectual world and it’s terrific fun as well!”

Ulysses Salon participant, 2011

 

The London Literary Salon draws on the Salon tradition of a regular meeting of a committed group of people for the exchange and exploration of ideas. Salon studies are non-didactic, open-ended gatherings where people of all backgrounds come to talk about literature and ideas. Together we work to develop meaning in response to the literature that resonates with our contemporary lives.

Each study is led by a salon facilitator, who strives to create an inclusive atmosphere that emphasizes the insights and questions each participant brings to the discussion. Our facilitators use careful questioning and thorough knowledge of their texts to help participants develop a richer understanding of a complex and rewarding piece of writing. The works of Homer and Shakespeare, Eliot and Joyce, Proust, Faulkner and Morrison are enlivened by a variety of perspectives.

A typical Salon study meets weekly for six to ten weeks—though we also offer one-day intensives, ongoing studies that meet monthly, and even a Proust study that runs for over 2 years. Most of our studies meet in North, Central and South London, in schools, cafes, pubs and private homes. Our group sizes are intentionally small—usually 6 to 12 participants—so that we can keep the atmosphere relaxed and personal, with room to sit back and think.

For each meeting of a study, participants pre-read a portion of the book—usually 30 to 50 pages, depending on the work. We keep reading assignments manageable, to encourage careful reading and to fit our studies into busy lives.

Over the two or three hours of a Salon session, prompted by the questioning of the salon facilitator, your group will give thought to the ideas an author sets out, work your way through unclear passages, and explore the intricacies of a plot, the layers of meaning in a poetic word or phrase, the richness of a dramatic character, and the wealth of connections to broader social and historical movements. Along the way, you’ll be supported with notes and questions to help deepen your immersion into these great books and their world.

You don’t need any specialized knowledge or background in literature to enjoy a Salon study. It is our expectation that most participants will be reading many of the authors for the first time. All you really need is a willingness to read carefully, listen thoughtfully and entertain new and sometimes-challenging ideas.

 

Click here  to see our schedule of upcoming Salon studies.

Image credit: Jose Barba www.jajed.com 

Cancellations and Refunds Policy:

For weekly, virtual or local studies:
In the rare case that the facilitator needs to cancel the study, participant payment will be refunded 100%
If the participant is unable to attend a study that they have committed to with full payment, the refund will be at the instructor’s discretion–usually based on the ability to re-sell the participant’s place.
For travelling studies:
In the rare case that the facilitator needs to cancel the study, participant payment will be refunded 100%
If the study needs to be cancelled for reasons beyond the facilitator’s control (weather, pandemic, force majeure), the majority of the payment will be refunded less the administrative cost of setting up and preparing the study (up to 30%).
If the participant is unable to attend a study that they have committed to with full payment, the refund will be at the instructor’s discretion–usually based on the ability to re-sell the participant’s place.

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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
Read more feedback ...

What’s coming up?

june 2021

03jun6:00 pmBIRCHES BY ROBERT FROST6:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:One Off EventDuration:One day

10jun10:00 amBeloved by Toni Morrison 4-week study: MorningsVIRTUAL STUDY: 10:00 am VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Four weeks

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

11jun7:00 pmWomen of Greek DramaSIX-MEETING VIRTUAL STUDY7:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Six Weeks

15jun2:00 pmFree Sample Discussion: The Iliad Unhurried2:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:One Off Event

16jun6:00 pmAN ARUNDEL TOMB BY PHILIP LARKIN6:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:One Off EventDuration:One day

22jun4:00 pmTrees and Us:  A Reading and Writing Workshop for WellbeingNEW: *The Salon's first creative writing workshop*4:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:Creative writingFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Four weeks

23jun2:00 pmThe Iliad UnhurriedA slow reading of Homer’s tragic poem of the Trojan War2:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Twelve weeks

23jun6:00 pmLong Ago and Far Away: Egil's SagaOngoing virtual study6:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:Literature,PhilosophyFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Ongoing

july 2021

07jul6:00 pmSANDPIPER BY ELIZABETH BISHOP**This Study is Now Full**6:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:One Off EventDuration:One day

21jul6:00 pmTHE TYGER by William Blake6:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:One Off EventDuration:One day

august 2021

04aug2:00 pmGerard Manley Hopkins: The Windhover*NEW DATE*2:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:One Off EventDuration:One day

16aug5:00 pmThe Best of Shakespeare: An Evening of Poetry from ‘the Bard of All Bards’5:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:One Off Event

september 2021

13sep3:00 pmThe Guermantes Way -- Volume III of Proust's In Search of Lost TimeVIRTUAL STUDY3:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Three months

14sep5:00 pmThe Sound and The Fury by William Faulkner*New Study! *5:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Five weeks

15sep5:00 pmTHE WINGS OF THE DOVE BY HENRY JAMES5:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Nine weeks

22sep(sep 22)5:00 pmTime Regained- Final Volume of Proust's SearchSTUDY FULL5:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Eleven weeks

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

october 2021

22sep(sep 22)5:00 pmTime Regained- Final Volume of Proust's SearchSTUDY FULL(september 22) 5:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Eleven weeks

06oct1:30 pmFinnegans Wake- The Slow Read1:30 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Nine weeks

november 2021

22sep(sep 22)5:00 pmTime Regained- Final Volume of Proust's SearchSTUDY FULL(september 22) 5:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Eleven weeks

01nov6:00 pmTHE DUCHESS OF MALFI BY JOHN WEBSTER6:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Seven weeks

december 2021

22sep(sep 22)5:00 pmTime Regained- Final Volume of Proust's SearchSTUDY FULL(september 22) 5:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Eleven weeks

january 2022

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

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