Oxford Literary Festival highlights

Oxford literary festival runs from Sat 2nd - Sun 10th April - highlights from female author's talks: Earlier this week there's already been talks from children's bestselling author Jacqueline Wilson and professor of classics Mary Beard who was awarded the Bodley medal. Beard has been a powerful advocate for the public voice of women, from her now famous televised lecture ‘Oh do shut up, Dear’ to regular appearances on the BBC’s Question Time. In the process, she has faced abuse for some of her public statements on such things as welcoming immigrant workers, the role of western foreign policy in destabilising the world order and providing a breeding ground for the very terrorism that the West so fears, and occasionally cycling the wrong way down a one-way street. She has spoken about the obligation of academics in particular to express opinions that may be unpopular. http://oxfordliteraryfestival.org/literature-events/2016/april-05/bodley...

Female author Highlights this weekend (Friday 8th - Sunday 10th April):

Princess Michael of Kent - Quicksilver: A Novel (Anjou 3)

Friday 8 April 2016 12:00pm

Bestselling author Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent talks about the third and final volume of her Anjou trilogy, Quicksilver. The story centres on merchant Jacques Coeur, a fiercely ambitious man of humble origins. He rises to become a trusted confidante and champion of the Anjou royal family and one of the richest and most powerful figures in 15th-century France. He is particularly close to Yolande, Queen of the Four Kingdoms, and the beautiful Agnès Sorel. The stories of the three intertwine in devastating fashion and Jacques’ ambition and generosity prove to be his downfall.


Louie Stowell - Astronaut’s Handbook

Friday 8 April 2016 2:00pm

Louie Stowell will take you to space and back, revealing fascinating details about life in orbit, from how to become an astronaut to how you go to the toilet on a space station. With British astronaut Major Tim Peake now orbiting in space 250 miles above Earth on the International Space Station, this event is all about our journey to the stars. Packed with information, your career as an astronaut could take off here. Stowell is author of the Usborne Official Astronaut’s Handbook, which answers all the questions you need to know about being an astronaut and contains a special message from Tim Peake. Age 9+

http://oxfordliteraryfestival.org/literature-events/2016/april-08/astron... @Louiestowell

Rachel Billington - Glory: A Story of Gallipoli

Friday 8 April 2016 2:00pm

Novelist Lady Rachel Billington introduces her latest work, Glory: A Story of Gallipoli, a novel about the men and women affected by the ill-fated World War I campaign of 100 years ago and inspired by her own family history. Glory is the story of Arthur Tarrant, an Oxford graduate destined for his uncle’s law firm, who leaves behind his fiancée Sylvia and joins the army. He finds himself in Gallipoli where his life becomes entwined with that of Fred Chaffey, a country boy from Dorset. The story recounts the fatal errors of army leaders, the heroism of the men, their relationships and their struggles to understand the horrifying situation.


Cristina Odone - The Case for Character and Values.

Friday 8 April 2016 2:00pm

Journalist and writer Cristina Odone sets out the case for a new values-led agenda to counter the ‘bad ideas’ of the likes of so-called Islamic State, Vladimir Putin and far-right organisations such as France’s Front National. Odone is director of a new Centre for Character and Values that will be launched by the Legatum Institute in early 2016. She argues that we are losing the high ground to people who believe more strongly in their bad ideas than we do in our good ones. The new centre will be based on the twin pillars of advocacy and inquiry and will make the intellectual case for a values-led agenda across multiple sectors.

http://oxfordliteraryfestival.org/literature-events/2016/april-08/the-ca... @LegatumInst

Gaia Servadio - Opera as a Great Substitute for the Novel

Friday 8 April 2016 2:00pm

Writer, historian and broadcaster Gaia Servadio explains how the text and lyrics, or librettos, written for the great Italian operas can be considered great literary works in themselves.

Servadio says the librettos have often been disregarded. Three that librettist Da Ponte wrote with Mozart were masterpieces. Servadio explains how many of the librettists of their day were more famous and better paid than the composers. Among them were wonderful characters and witty adventurers who travelled the world. Their collaborations with the composers were very close and many of them were good friends with the leading composers. This event will be illustrated by some of the music discussed.

Joan Bakewell Stop the Clocks: Thoughts on What I Leave Behind.

Friday 8 April 2016 4:00pm

Veteran broadcaster, journalist and writer Dame Joan Bakewell reflects on her life as one of the most recognised and outspoken public figures of recent decades.

Bakewell is now in her 80s and has had spells variously as a teacher, writer, broadcaster, the government’s Voice of Older people, chair of the theatre company Shared Experience, president of Birkbeck College and Labour peer. She looks back at what her family has given her, the times she grew up in, and the lessons of politics, lovers and betrayal. Bakewell also reflects on family, friends and literature today and on what she will leave behind. @JDBakewell


Joanne Harris : Different Class

Friday 8 April 2016 6:00pm

Bestselling novelist Joanne Harris introduces her new and dark psychological thriller, Different Class.

The novel follows Latin master Roy Straitley, a teacher who has seen it all in his 30 years at a North Yorkshire grammar school. A new broom has arrived at the struggling school and, while Straitley does his best to resist the accompanying modernisation, a shadow of the past stirs in the shape of a troublemaking boy who still haunts the teacher’s dreams 20 years on.



Saturday 9th April

Patti Boulaye talks to Paul Blezard - The Faith of a Child: The Autobiography of Patti Boulaye 

Saturday 9 April 2016 10:00am

International singing star and actress Patti Boulaye talks about her life and her new book, The Faith of a Child: The Autobiography of Patti Boulaye, which recounts her childhood in Nigeria during the Biafra War.

Boulaye was born Patricia Ngozi Ebigwei into a strict Catholic family in Nigeria. She survived the Biafra War and set off for the United Kingdom at 16 to become a nun. During a sightseeing trip, she stood in a queue for what she thought was Madame Tussauds but turned out to be for an audition for the original West End production of Hair. She won a part, launching a singing and acting career that has seen her appear in several West End musicals, win the ITV talent show New Faces, appear in the biggest grossing African film ever, Bisi, Daughter of the River, and release nine albums and 25 singles. She was one of the leading black British entertainers of the 1970s and 1980s and had her own show on Channel 4.



Yang-May Ooi Bound Feet Blues – Doing the Unimaginable 

Saturday 9 April 2016 12:00pm

Writer and performer Yang-May Ooi explores what led women to do the unimaginable in breaking and binding their daughters’ feet for the sake of beauty – and why the ancient Chinese practice of footbinding is still relevant in modern times.

Ooi draws from the themes of love and courage in her one-woman show, Bound Feet Blues – A Life Told in Shoes, inspired by her great-grandmother who had bound feet, and discusses what it means to do the unimaginable today. She will also perform a short extract from her show. 


@TigerSpiritUK @BoundFeetBlues

Lucy Worsley Eliza Rose, Maid of Honour at the Court of Henry VIII 

Saturday 9 April 2016 12:00pm

Popular historian, television presenter and Tudor specialist Lucy Worsley introduces her brand new children’s novel set at the court of Henry VIII.

Eliza Rose tells the story of maid of honour Eliza Camperdowne and of Katherine Howard, Henry’s fifth wife. “I wrote my story out of a sense of burning injustice at the unfairness of the horrible execution of Katherine Howard,” says Lucy, “I’d like to think that it might inspire some budding future curator of Hampton Court Palace, just as I was inspired in my own day by Jean Plaidy’s novels for young people.”



Rebecca Abrams Finding your Story, The Art of Narrative In Business

Saturday 9 April 2016 2:00pm

Novelist, journalist and business coach Rebecca Abrams explains how understanding the architecture of storytelling is essential to good business, and explores ways of harnessing strong storytelling to the service of authentic and effective business.

The need for clear, compelling stories is greater than ever in the increasingly complex worlds in which we live and work.  In business, effective stories help create purpose and focus for ourselves, our teams, and our clients. But how do you know if your stories are having the effect you want? How can you be true to your own story while crafting stories for professional purposes? What are the ethics of story-telling in highly competitive settings? Find out in this lecture if your leadership story needs a tweak, a second draft, or a radical rewrite.


Helen Simpson, Frances Leviston and Kirsty Gunn .Chaired by Claire Armitstead The Art of the Short Story 

Saturday 9 April 2016 2:00pm

Three notable writers of short stories, Helen Simpson, Frances Leviston and Kirsty Gunn explore their approaches to the writing of short stories.

Simpson has a new collection of short stories out, Cockfosters, that deal with ageing, ambition and the patterns of repetition and renewal found in long friendships and marriages. It is Simpson’s sixth collection of short stories. Her work has received the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, the Somerset Maugham Award, the Hawthornden Prize and the E M Forster Award.


@vintagesimpson @carmitstead

Hannah Rothschild talks to Nicolette Jones : The Improbability of Love

Saturday 9 April 2016 4:00pm

Writer and film director Hannah Rothschild talks about her novel, The Improbability of Love, which explores the confusion and turmoil of life and both the depths to which the human soul can sink and the heights to which it can soar.

The title takes its name from a lost masterpiece by 18th-century French painter, Antoine Watteau found by the hero Annie McDee in a second-hand shop. Annie is alone after the ending of a relationship and in a dead-end job. She sets out to discover the true identity of the painting and finds herself pursued by a series of characters who would do anything to possess the painting. 


@RothschildHan @NicoletteJones

Eve Ainsworth, Nicole Burstein and C J Skuse. Chaired by Geraldine Brennan Rising Stars of Young Adult Fiction

Saturday 9 April 2016 6:00pm

Three of the hottest new young adult authors – Eve Ainsworth, Nicole Burstein and C J Skuse – talk about their books and writing at the start of what will undoubtedly be very successful careers. 

Young adult remains one of the most exciting literary genres. Many of the most talented new authors are writing for young adults, and many of the most talked about new books are published for young people.

Ainsworth’s Seven Days is the gripping story of two girls – bully and bullied – and is nominated for the Carnegie Medal; her new book, Crush, is another powerful story, examining love at its most addictive and destructive. Burstein’s Supergirl is a superhero story from the sidekick’s point of view and a wise and warm story of friendship and self-belief. Monster by C J Skuse also examines girls’ friendships and animosities against a dark and dangerous background, successfully mixing tension with some very sharp humour. 

Discussions will be chaired by journalist and children’s books reviewer Geraldine Brennan. Age 12+


@EveAinsworth @NicoleBurstein @CeejaytheAuthor @GeraldineBrenn

Sunday 10th April

Lucy Beresford and Leila Segal talk to Suzi Feay - Voices of Freedom: Fighting Oppression of Women

Sunday 10 April 2016 10:00am

Writers Lucy Beresford and Leila Segal look at the rights of women in countries where they are oppressed and discuss the issues of enslavement and trafficking.

What does the future hold for women who have no voice and no rights, and what can we in the West do to help?

Beresford is a novelist, broadcaster and psychotherapist. Her latest novel, Invisible Threads, is about a psychotherapist, Sara, seeking to find the truth about the death of her husband in a terrorist attack in India. She discovers Devardasi, an illegal practice where women act as prostitutes at temple. She also learns of a man who was active in rescuing trafficked women in London, and then finds out this was her husband.

Segal is director of Voice of Freedom, a group that works with formerly trafficked women. Breathe: Stories from Cuba is a debut collection of stories based on her time living in Havana. Voice of Freedom helps women who have escaped their captors and sometimes given evidence against them to use words and photography to talk about their lives.

Here they talk to journalist and reviewer for the FT Suzi Feay.

http://oxfordliteraryfestival.org/literature-events/2016/april-10/voices... @LucyBeresford @leilasegal @suzifeay

Fiona Ross Shakespeare Acting Workshop: When Shall we Three Meet Again?

Sunday 10 April 2016 12:00pm

Join actor, director and Royal Shakespeare Company artist Fiona Ross and plunge into the world of Macbeth.

This will be a very lively, action-packed session and you will be unpacking the plot and themes of the play, as well as exploring the characters. Deliver some of Shakespeare’s most famous lines and look out for toil and trouble aplenty. No previous acting experience or knowledge of the play is required.

Places are limited to 30. Children and adults must each buy a ticket for this workshop. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Age 9+


Antonia Hodgson and Andrew Lownie. Chaired by Jem Poster An Insight into Publishing

Two authors who also have a role in publishing, Antonia Hodgson and Andrew Lownie, give an insight into the publishing world and offer advice on how to get a book from the germ of an idea to a hard copy in a bookshop.

What’s the best way to submit your work? Should you go straight to a publisher or through an agent? What are agents and publishers looking for, and what are the chances of your work being accepted? How can you make an agent or publisher sit up and look at what you have submitted?

Lownie worked as a bookseller, journalist and literary agent before setting up the boutique Andrew Lownie Literary Agency in 1988. He looks at almost 20,000 submissions each year, and his agency specialises in launching new writers and taking existing writers to a new level. Lownie is also author of a biography of John Buchan, a literary companion to Edinburgh, and a new biography of the spy Guy Burgess, which he talks about at another festival event.

Hodgson has worked in publishing for more than 15 years and is editor-in-chief at Little, Brown UK, a four-time winner of the Publisher of the Year award. Its authors include a range of leading fiction and non-fiction writers. Hodgson is also an author in her own right. Her debut novel, The Devil in the Marshalsea, won the CWA Historical Dagger, and she talks about its sequel, The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins, at another festival event.

Discussions are chaired by Professor Jem Poster, a novelist and poet, emeritus professor of creative writing at Aberystwyth University and director of academic programmes for the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival.

http://oxfordliteraryfestival.org/literature-events/2016/april-10/an-ins... @AntoniaHodgson

Alia Al Hussein and Sharifa Sarra Ghazi talk to Gwenan Edwards - Small Miracles: The Story of the Princess Alia Foundation

Sunday 10 April 2016 2:00pm

Cousins HRH Princess Alia Al Hussein of Jordan and Sharifa Sarra Ghazi tell how they set up the charitable foundation in Princess Alia’s name and of the remarkable work it has done in helping the lives of both humans and animals.

The charity was born after animal cruelty investigator Lyn White suggested the need for an organisation to deal with abuse of animals. Princess Alia embraced the idea but saw in it a wider opportunity to also tackle special needs and public health. She turned for help to her cousin, Sharifa Sarra Ghazi, who was already committed to the cause of animal welfare. Today the foundation is well established. Its work includes The New Hope Centre, for rescued and confiscated wildlife, and Growing Together, an equine therapy centre that has shown amazing results with troubled and autistic children.

Princess Alia is the daughter of King Hussein and Queen Dina of Jordan. She is president of the Jordanian Equestrian Federation and also works with many other charitable causes and organisations. Sharifa Sarra Ghazi has a degree in psychology and cognitive science and is a trained counsellor. She has worked to improve educational standards for children in Jordan and to improve parenting skills and opportunities for women.

Here they talk to journalist and television presenter Gwenan Edwards.

http://oxfordliteraryfestival.org/literature-events/2016/april-10/small-... @aliaalhussein99 @GwenMair

Marian Keyes talks to Matthew Stadlen - An Interview with Marian Keyes

Sunday 10 April 2016 4:00pm

Bestselling Irish novelist Marian Keyes talks about her life and career as one of Britain’s best-loved comic novelists and about her new book of hilarious and heartfelt observations on modern life.

Keyes says she never thought she would write a novel but, after first sending some short stories to a publisher, she now has 13 to her name and is one of the most successful Irish novelists of all time. Her books deal compassionately and humorously with issues of modern life such as addiction, depression, domestic violence and serious illness. Her latest book, Making it up as I go Along, is a funny look at the absurdity of modern life and recognises that we are all clearly making it up as we go along. It includes Keyes’ guide to breaking up with your hairdresser, her warning about the dangers of fake tan, her joy at the nail varnish museum and the best lies to tell if you find yourself on an Arctic cruise. And there is some secret truth about writers, or at least about Keyes.

Keyes’ novels have been published in 33 languages and include Rachel’s Holiday, Last Chance Saloon, Sushi for Beginners, The Mystery of Mercy Close, and The Woman Who Stole My Life. Here she talks to journalist and former BBC producer Matthew Stadlen, who is a regular interviewer for the Daily Telegraph and has interviewed for the BBC.

http://oxfordliteraryfestival.org/literature-events/2016/april-10/making... @MarianKeyes

Robin Stevens, Katherine Woodfine and Julia Lee - Murder for Tea

Sunday 10 April 2016 4:00pm

A special whodunit event featuring three women authors, Katherine Woodfine, Robin Stevens and Julia Lee, and their young detectives.

Woodfine’s mystery novels are set in the elegant world of Edwardian England, Lee’s Nancy Parker’s Diary of Detection stars a young housemaid caught up in some murky events in the roaring twenties, while Stevens’ best-selling series Murder Most Unladylike books star schoolgirl sleuths Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong in a series of gripping adventures. Join these three criminal masters for a thrilling session on plotting and solving crimes, and bringing villains to justice. Tea will be served. Age 10+

http://oxfordliteraryfestival.org/literature-events/2016/april-10/murder... @redbreastedbird @followtheyellow @JuliaLeeAuthor

Maureen Lipman, Jeremy Robson , Jacqui Dankworth , Charlie Wood , Julian Siegel Oli Hayhurst - Blues in the Park: Poetry, Humour, and Jazz Songs to Mark 20 Years of Oxford Literary Festival

Sunday 10 April 2016 6:30pm

Join actress Maureen Lipman, poet Jeremy Robson, and acclaimed jazz singer Jacqui Dankworth for an unmissable evening of poetry, wit and music to climax this year’s events and mark 20 years of Oxford Literary Festival.

For this special event, Dankworth will be joined by her husband, the acclaimed pianist-vocalist Charlie Wood, saxophonist Julian Siegel and bassist Oli Hayhurst.
Lipman will join Robson in reading some of Robson’s poems and will also read some of her own brilliantly witty monologues (and perhaps a taste too of her popular Joyce Grenfell show). Dankworth and Wood will sing duets of classic songs of the last 100 years inspired by great musical partnerships and composers.

http://oxfordliteraryfestival.org/literature-events/2016/april-10/blues-... @jacquidankworth

Female Arts will be reporting on some of these events at
@oxfordlitfest #oxfordlitfest

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