Cities in Contemporary UK Literature

How do we write about the cities that we live in? How does the urban environment inspire and influence contemporary British literature?  #BritLitBerlin will connect writers, academics and lovers of reading alike. Join the discussion and engage with new and established UK writers first hand in workshops, discussions and readings.

Registration now open! 


Whether you are a student, academic, publisher, translator, journalist or literature fan from across Europe, #BritLitBerlin gives you the chance to hear the latest writing from the UK and engage with the writers and their work first hand.

We are delighted that the multiple award-winning poet and Professor of Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University, Michael Symmons Roberts, has agreed to chair the event . 

Follow our livestream

If you can't make it to the seminar in person, why not follow the readings and discussion via our livestream? Connect with other the authors and literature fans worldwide by tuning in and engage online by using #BritLitBerlin. We will be streaming the seminar on this page as well as on our social media channels.

Information and ticket prices

Seminar information

  • Where: Werkstatt der Kulturen, Wissmannstr. 32, 12049 Berlin
  • When: Thursday 24 January to Saturday 26 January 2019
  • Seminar focus: cities in contemporary UK Literature.
  • Participating authors: Susan Barker, Liz Berry, Olivia Laing, Michael Symmons Roberts, Robin Robertson and the Young Identity Group.

Ticket prices

  • Complete Seminar - full price (€160.00)
  • Complete Seminar - student price (€60.00)

*All prices include a hot two-course lunch each day (with vegetarian and non-vegetarian options available), plus tea, coffee, water, fruit and other snacks, which will be available throughout the seminar.

**Journalists interested in covering the event can send their accreditation requests to

Public readings

On each of the three evenings of the seminar there will be a public reading given by one of the authors.

Unable to make the entirety of the seminar? Get a glimpse of the action! We are delighted to announce the following:

  • Thursday 24th January, 7:30pm: Reading with Michael Symmons Roberts
  • Friday 25th January, 7:00pm: Reading with Robin Robertson
  • Saturday 26th January, 4pm: Reading with Olivia Laing
  • Saturday 26th January, 7pm: Poetry performance by Young Identity Group

Box office tickets available

Tickets: 8€ / 6€ (reduced) available in person at the box office at the Werkstatt der Kulturen.

Seminar programme

Take a look at the programme and tune in on the day

Please note: all times refer to the German time (GMT+1).

Thursday 24 January

Public Reading: Michael Symmons Roberts chaired by Felix Sprang

Time Live stream

Greeting by Rachel Launay, Director, British Council Germany
Reading: Michael Symmons Roberts chaired by Felix Sprang


Friday 25 January

Time           Live stream
09.30                   Reading: Susan Barker chaired by Michael Symmons Roberts    
11.30 Reading: Liz Berry chaired by Matthias Kniep        
14.00 Panel Discussion: “The City as Subject” with Robin Robertson and Susan Barker chaired by Michael Symmons Roberts    
16.00 Reading: Zaffar Kunial chaired by Cortina Butler            
19.00 Public Reading:Robin Robertson Chaired by Helge Nowak      

Saturday 26 January

Time            Live stream
14.00 Panel Discussion: The City as Practice with Zaffar Kunial, Olivia Laing and Liz Berry chaired by Michael Symmons Roberts    
16.00 Public Reading: Olivia Laing chaired by Michael Symmons Roberts            
19.00 Public Poetry Performance: Young Identity Group chaired by Shirley May

*please note that the programme might be subjectto change.

An introduction to the seminar by Michael Symmons Roberts

"More than half – and rising – of our world’s population lives in cities. They are engines of social and political change, crucibles of conflict and transformation. Our cities are as complex and diverse as we are, even more so if we take in the wider ‘urban’ constellation of towns and edgelands.

This Berlin seminar - as befits a city with so many novels and poems in its honour – will explore how British writers have shaped and reflected all kinds of cities – real and mythic, utopian and dystopian, concrete and virtual."

Any questions? 

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to email us at