Literature and love often come hand in hand. From love letters and poetry to connecting over a favourite book, the written word can incite romance in many forms. Whether you're looking for love, a special event for you and a partner, or even looking to celebrate singledom, here's a pick of some literary events you can attend for Valentine's Day.
My Literary Valentine - 10th February
Join an inspiring line-up of authors for a sophisticated Valentine's evening of love poetry readings, discussion, and exclusive snippets of forthcoming work. This annual event is hosted by The Authors Club, a group founded by Walter Besant in 1891 for those professionally involved in literature to meet and discuss. Graced by the likes of Oscar Wilde, George Meredith, Thomas Hardy, T.S Eliot and Mark Twain, the group is a staple of English literary tradition and continues to mark its influence with events like this.
Valentine's Guided Tour of John Keats' House - 12th February
The love story of John Keats and Fanny Brawne is one of literature's most famous romances, and you can visit the very house where their idyllic, passionate relationship began. The muse for some of Keats' poetry, and the love of his life up until his untimely death at 25, Fanny Brawne is responsible for much of what made Keats the beloved romantic poet that he was. Come along and learn the history of this inspirational pairing, and maybe pick up a tip or two from the romantics on how to live in love.
Valentines Day: Book Speed Dating - 14th February
Speed dating isn't always a surefire way to guarantee a date, and may feel like a highly pressurised environment for some. However, these Waterstones events are speed dating with a literary advantage. Two minute sessions with a partner and your favourite book in hand could become the start of your own romantic story. At the very least, you'll be spending time with fellow book lovers where your shared adoration for the written word has already broken the ice. See below for the two Waterstones event locations.
Translating Swahili Love Poetry - 14th February
The language of love is woven by poets the world over. Come along to this translation workshop run by the Poetry Translation Centre on Valentine's day, and broaden your romantic and literary horizons as you translate Swahili love poems and unlock their secrets.
Anti-Valentine's Night with Dead Good and Killer Women -14th February
Of course, there is an option for those of you who wish to escape the love fest. Dead Good and Killer Women, two prevalent suppliers of crime fiction, are more concerned with sharing the stories of spilled blood than spilled emotions on Valentine's day. The two organisations have come together to put on a night of crime fiction readings from four authors at Waterstones surrounding tales of love gone wrong. Hunker down away from Cupids arrows with Prosecco, cupcakes, a
goodie bag, and some anti-Valentine's Gothic crime fiction.
Twisted Love: An Antidote to Valentine's - 14th &17th February
For many people nowadays the thought of Valentine's day is repulsive. Some find the idea of the day fundamentally ugly in its over zealous display of emotion, while others see its true meaning as being hi-jacked by consumerism. In any case, there are still ways to variate the theme and start to enjoy the day again. Theatre company Hand of Doom are offering this very opportunity. At two separate events they will be showcasing talented spoken word artists for a night of alternative love stories that they hope will be an antidote to Valentine's day pain.
I Love Books: Valentine's Day Card Making - February 14th
Younger celebrators of Valentine's Day can get involved at Foyles, London, where the message of love is spread through a storytelling session, complimentary sweets, and a card designing workshop. Come along and handcraft your Valentine's Day message to send to your loved ones.