Ian McKellen and Gene Robinson to talk gays and religion at London festival

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

London’s Literature Festival will feature an appearance by the only openly gay bishop in the Anglican communion, it has been revealed.

Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, will be at the festival in July to promote his new book, a spiritual memoir entitled In The Eye of the Storm.

The UK premiere of acclaimed documentary about religion and homosexuality, For the Bible Tells Me So, which features Bishop Robinson, will be shown.

After the screening he will discuss the issues with actor Sir Ian McKellen.

The London Literature Festival will be held from Saturday 5th to Saturday 19th July 2008 at the Southbank  Centre, following the success of last year’s inaugural event.

The eclectic and urban character of the festival is reflected in the 2008 programme.

Julian Clary, Stella Duffy and Andy Bell are just some of the lesbian and gay performers and writers appearing in The House Of Homosexual Culture, as it takes up residence at Southbank Centre for the duration of the festival.

Specially commissioned performances, readings from prize-winning authors and poets, interactive and improvised writing events, debates, and three major book prizes, will all take place during an exciting two-week period across the 21-acre site, including the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, Spirit Level and foyer spaces including The Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall.

With literary themed cocktails and food on offer, a samba band on the festival terrace and the return of the popular festival deckchairs, organisers said the festival “will be the ultimate summer destination for lovers of books, writing and relaxation.”

Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre, said:

“The London Literature Festival is the flagship of a thriving programme of spoken and written word that runs throughout the year, weaving in and around all art forms, explaining and linking a diverse programme, providing a platform for debate. It is central to what we do here.”

Tickets for the festival are on sale now at www.southbankcentre.co.uk or on telephone 0870 160 2522.