July 22, 2015

Southbank Centre to stage 4-day reading of Moby-Dick


The Southbank Centre (image via Wikipedia)

The Southbank Centre (image via Wikipedia)

The Southbank Centre has revealed its Autumn Literature Festival line-up and the centrepiece will be a four-day live reading of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick.

Taking place over four evenings, the live readings will involve famous faces, special Moby-Dick related surprises and audience participation. According to The Bookseller:

It will feature 160 ten-minute readings by actors, writers, comedians and special guests, with the readings incorporating newly commissioned work and “unique surprises” including choral performances and Moby Dick-themed food and drink.

As well as being free to the public, 100 reading slots have been kept free and members of the public will have the opportunity to apply to participate in the readings. The Southbank also promises “newly commissioned work from illustrators, artists and musicians” and a reading from Herman Melville’s great-great-great-granddaughter.

As a company who fondly borrows many things from Herman Melville including name, slogan and whale related imagery and jokes, it’s exciting news. But this of course is not the first time Moby-Dick has been at the heart of a reading project.

A few years back, our author Philip Hoare co-created the Moby-Dick Big Read, an ambitious project to turn the “great unread American novel” into something a little more accessible. Thus, each chapter was voiced by figures as varied as Tilda Swinton, Chad Harbach and David Cameron (but you can skip that chapter) and made available to download for free. It’s one of the best audio books out there, so heighten your anticipation for the Southbank’s festival by listening to it here.




Zeljka Marosevic is the managing director of Melville House UK.