Dust off the old cobwebs and put your thinking hat back onwith our selection of the best discussions, debates, and literary talks coming to London throughout the rest of 2017.

Margaret Atwood

Seminal Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s literature has become more relevant today that it ever has been before. The rise of Donald Trump has lead to increasing fears for women’s safety worldwide, an issue directly addressed in her most successful novel A Handmaid’s Tale – for those who aren’t familiar, is a dystopian tale where women are captured and used for the procreating means. Atwood will be discussing the relevance of her best-selling novel and the lessons it teaches us about the rise of right wing regimes evolving across the world. Sold out. Monday 2nd October. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX.

John le Carré: An Evening with George Smiley

The tubby and bespectacled George Smiley came to life in 1961 in le Carré’s first novel, and has since become one of the defining characters of espionage literature. In this extremely rare event, his creator John le Carré will be discussing and reflecting upon his character and his writing career, with a unique question and answer session following the discussion. Tickets start at £25. Thursday 7th September. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX.

Vivienne Westwood: Get a Life

No other living fashion designer’s influence stretches as far as that of Dame Vivienne Westwood. Over her 50 year career Westwood has been heavily involved in arts & culture, as well as a campaigning for the environment and social justice. Never shying away from an opportunity to debate or campaign, there is no doubt that Westwood will be as unapologetic as ever as she offers her insights into the importance of classical art and literature and the influences they have had on her work and life. Tickets start at £15Sunday 24th September. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX.

An Evening with Robert Webb, how to: Academy

What are we really saying when we say to men and boys ‘man up’? Comedian and one half of Mitchell & Webb duo Robert Webb will be discussing all matters of masculinity in the modern age and his upcoming comic memoir How Not to be a Boy at the Emmanuel Centre. Joining him will be his comedic partner’s other half, writer, broadcaster and poker playing extraordinaire Victoria Coren Mitchell, for a frank discussion about the trials and tribulations of boyhood. Tickets start at £25. Tuesday 12th September. Emmanuel Centre, 9-23 Marsham Street, SW1P 3DW.

Philip Pullman: La Belle Sauvage

Author of the bestselling trilogy His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman will be appearing at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall to launch the prequel to Northern Lights La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One. Part of Southbank’s Literature Festival, a rare public appearance by Pullman will give fans a chance to discover more about the world of His Dark Materials and the process of writing

Tickets start at £20. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX

AC Grayling: Democracy and its Crisis

An appraisal of democracy, the talk will chart and discuss times when democracy has been previously threatened and what was done about it, the fallout of any actions taken, and what we can learn from this. AC Grayling, one of the UK’s foremost philosophers, will be leading the talk, aiming to “explain why the concept and the actuality of ‘representative democracy’ emerged, what its justification is, what has gone wrong with it, and how it should be fixed.” Tickets start at £8. Monday 25th September. British Library, 96 Euston Road, NW1 2DB.

Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005 – 2016

World famous celebrity photographer is coming to the Southbank Centre to discuss her new book Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005 – 2016, and her most defining works from throughout her illustrious career. You may not know her by name but you will know her by her internationally famous pictures, from Demi Moore’s naked pregnancy cover for Vanity Fair to portraits of Her Majesty The Queen, her distinctive work has been seen world-over. Tickets start at £15. Sunday 22nd October. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX.