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Oxford Literary Festival Saturday 25 March to Sunday 2 April 2015



Saturday 25 March to Sunday 2 April 2015

There are a huge variety of events taking place in Oxford during the festival.  Most require you to book tickets in advance.

To view all the details click here.

Some of the weekend and evening events that might interest students are:

Saturday 25 March

Lisa Feldman Barratt Interviewed by Paul Blezard – How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain

Psychologist Professor Lisa Feldman Barratt explains her groundbreaking theories on how the brain constructs emotions – ones that shed new light on what it means to be human.

Darren Naish Interviewed by Stephen Law – Hunting Monsters: the Reality Behind the Myths

Palaeontologist Darren Naish looks at the debate about the existence of creatures such as the Loch Ness monster, the yeti and big foot and explains a bit about cryptozoology – research into the sightings of these mythical beings.

Rebecca Tsosie – The Rights of America’s Indian Tribes 

Expert in the laws around Amercia’s Indian tribes Professor Rebecca Tsosie talks about the rights of the country’s indigenous people and how they are impacted by climate change, sustainability and globalisation.

Lionel Shriver and Tom Fletcher Chaired by Paul Blezard – A Trumpian World 

American novelist Lionel Shriver and former ambassador and Downing Street adviser Tom Fletcher look at the circumstances that led to the election of Donald Trump as President of the USA and ask what its impact will be on the world.


Sunday 26 March

Peter Conradi – Who Lost Russia? How the World Entered a New Cold War 

The Sunday Times foreign editor Peter Conradi argues that the West has made a powerful new enemy in Russia because it has consistently failed to understand the country and its motives.


Sian Williams – RISE: A First-aid Kit for Getting Through Tough Times

Well-known television journalist and presenter Sian Williams talks about her life-changing experience of breast cancer and looks at the science of resilience and growth after trauma.

Paul Kingsnorth Interviewed by Paul Blezard – Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist 

Writer and poet Paul Kingsnorth talks about the impact of humans on the Earth and examines how we might live in this changing world.

Coline Covington – Everyday Evils: A Psychoanalytic View of Evil and Morality 

Leading psychoanalyst Coline Covington asks what we mean by evil and looks at what causes individuals to carry out atrocities such as the executions on behalf of the so-called Islamic state, the Rwandan massacres and the Nazi concentration camps.

Pippa Malmgren – Signals: How Everyday Signs Can Help us Navigate the Turbulent Economy 

Economic adviser Dr Pippa Malmgren explains how being aware of the signals around you can alert you to the troubles and opportunities the world economy brings.

Ian Goldin – The New Renaissance: Hope in an Uncertain Age

Former vice-president of the World Bank Professor Ian Goldin says a new Renaissance offers hope for our world, and reflects on Brexit, Donald Trump’s victory in the US elections and the dangers we face if we do not create more inclusive societies at a time of tumultuous change.

Jonathan Rose Interviewed by Eric Beinhocker – The Well Tempered City: the Future of Urban Life

Leading American thinker on urban planning and the creation of well-integrated communities Jonathan Rose argues that cities are well-placed to address the environmental, economic and social challenges of this century.

Monday 27 March

Richard Dannatt – Boots on the Ground: Britain and her Army Since 1945 

One of Britain’s leading soldiers of the last 40 years General Lord Richard Dannatt tells the story of the British Army since the end of World War II and explains how its role has changed against the backdrop of the country’s shifting security and defence policies.


Sarah Harper – How Population Change Will Transform our World

Expert in demographics Professor Sarah Harper explains how population change will transform the world and looks at what we can do to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

Wednesday 29 March

Victor Sebestyen and Steve Smith – Lenin and the Russian Revolution 

Historian Professor Steve Smith and journalist Victor Sebestyen look back at the events that led to and followed the Russian Revolution 100 years ago and discuss its impact on 20th-century history.

John Carey – The Essential Paradise Lost 

Leading literary critic John Carey introduces his new version of John Milton’s Paradise Lost and reveals new insights into the poet’s inspiration.

Thursday 30 March

Rob Johnson and Eugene Rogan – Fall of Ottoman Empire and Impact of First World War on Middle East Today 

Two leading scholars Professor Eugene Rogan and Dr Rob Johnson discuss the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the significant impact the First World War had on the Middle East of today.

Elys Dolan, Matty Long and Neill Cameron – I Paint, I Paint, I Paint. Being Funny in Pictures 

Illustrators Elys Dolan, Matty Long and Neill Cameron know all about being funny in pictures.  Hear them reveal the tricks to making pictures that make the audience laugh and learn the art of being funny with art.

Marcus Chown – The Ascent of Gravity: The Quest to Understand the Force that Explains Everything 

Science writer and broadcaster Marcus Chown explains how the force that keeps our feet attached to the Earth also holds the key to our understanding of time and the origin of the universe.

Friday 31 March

Simon Armitage Interviewed by Richard Ovenden – The Unaccompanied 

Multi-award-winning poet Simon Armitage talks to Bodley’s Librarian Richard Ovenden and presents his latest collection, The Unaccompanied.

Alberto Angela – The Reach of Rome: A Journey Through the Lands of the Ancient Empire 

Bestselling Italian writer and host of Italy’s most popular history and science programs Alberto Angela follows the money to explain the reach and power of the Roman Empire.

Laurence Rees – The Holocaust

Bestselling historian Laurence Rees talks about his landmark publication on the Holocaust and explains how and why it happened.

Saturday 1 April

Tim Harford – Messy: How to be Creative and Resilient in a Tidy-minded World

Financial Timesjournalist and economist Tim Harford argues that we should embrace messiness in our lives because it is how we succeed in business and in life.


Bill Emmott – The Fate of the West: The Decline and Revival of the World’s Most Valuable Political Idea

Former Economist editor-in-chief Bill Emmott says the liberal democracies of the West are in decline and explains how they must change in order to recover and thrive.


Wendy Meddour and Mina May – The Wendy Quill Books

Mother and daughter author/illustrator duo Wendy Meddour and Mina May share the highs and lows of adventures in the publishing world, and discover if it’s harder to be a children’s author, an English lecturer and a mother of four, or the youngest professional illustrator in the world – with publishing deadlines, three younger brothers, and too much homework.

William Chislett – The Challenges Facing the ‘New’ Spain

Madrid-based writer William Chislett looks at the uncertain political, economic and social situation in Spain.


Hilary Mantel and Diarmaid MacCulloch – The British Academy Lecture: Thomas Cromwell 


Two-time Booker Prize winner Dame Hilary Mantel and renowned historian and broadcaster Professor Sir Diarmaid MacCulloch talk about their different perspectives on the 16th-century lawyer and statesman Thomas Cromwell. During this event, MacCulloch, vice-president of the British Academy with responsibility for public engagement, will present the 2016 British Academy President’s medal to Mantel for outstanding services to the humanities and social sciences.

Sali Hughes – Pretty Iconic: The Beauty Products that Changed the World 

Broadcaster, journalist and makeup artist to the stars Sali Hughes looks at the iconic products that have become the most influential in the beauty world.

Peter Frankopan and Stephen King Chaired by Antonio Simoes – Changing Global Order and the Rise of the East 

Historian Dr Peter Frankopan and economist Stephen King debate the changing world order and the rise of economic power in the East and ask what the future holds for the world over the next century or more.

Sunday 2 April

Gary Younge Interviewed by Paul Blezard – Another Day in the Death of America

Award-winning journalist Gary Younge highlights the impact of gun crime on children in the US by telling the story of an average day that saw 10 children shot dead.

Christopher Davidson – Shadow Wars: The Secret Struggle for the Middle East

Expert in Middle East politics Dr Christopher Davidson says more than a century of interference in the Middle East by the US and the UK has given rise to the bloody religious wars, sectarian politics and revolutions that have blighted the region.


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