West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song

Open until 16 Feb 2016

An exhibition of literature and music – from the great African empires of the Middle Ages to the cultural dynamism of West Africa today

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Exhibition FREE

Treasures of the British Library

Monday to Sunday

The world's most beautiful and important books and documents, from Magna Carta and Gutenberg's Bible, to the music of the Beatles

Events at the Library


West Africa Writes

Exploring West Africa's literary and oral cultures heritage

Other events


Secrets of staying sharp in older age

Why do some people's brains and thinking skills age better than others?

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The Reading Agency Lecture: Shami Chakrabarti

The fourth annual Reading Agency lecture

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Panel Discussion

Digital Conversations@British Library

How are digital games being used for artistic entertainment and educational purposes?

Special Event FREE

In the Dark: Spoonface Steinberg by Lee Hall

This short season of classic radio drama listenings fittingly ends with Lee Hall’s extraordinary and controversial monologue

Tours of the Library

Library individual tour

Discover more about our history, collections and architecture on this tour - includes the Viewing Gallery

West Africa Curator Led Tour

A Curator Led Tour of the West Africa Exhibition

Conservation studio tour

Take a behind-the-scenes tour and see our world-renowned conservators in action

General guided group tour

Book a group tour for up to 15 people to discover more about our history, collections and architecture - includes the Viewing Gallery.