Emphasis on debate among big changes at Oxford Literary Festival

The Oxford Times: Jonathan Aitken will be at the festival Jonathan Aitken will be at the festival

THE Oxford Literary Festival, to be held from March 22 to 30, will see major changes in its 18th year.

The festival will again feature some of the nation’s favourite authors, leading politicians, historians and journalists speaking in historic venues, with our sister paper The Oxford Times among the sponsors.

But this year, for the first time, a marquee will be set up next to the Sheldonian Theatre, sponsored by Blackwell’s bookshop.

And FT Weekend has been announced as the festival’s new headline partner in a deal designed to put new emphasis on debate and discussion around literature, culture and current affairs.

Events confirmed include this year’s Man Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton in conversation with Booker judge Natalie Haynes, author and journalist Robert Harris, broadcaster Peter Snow and the creator of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Alexander McCall-Smith.

Former cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken will talk about his new biography of Margaret Thatcher, and Children’s Laureate, Malorie Blackman, will be in conversation with Shami Chakrabarti about children’s writing and human rights.

One eagerly awaited event will see Born Free actress and wildlife campaigner Virginia McKenna talking to children’s writer Lauren St John about the inspiration of wildlife.

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Oxford Literary Festival director Sally Dunsmore said: “The festival has gone from strength to strength over the last few years.

Tickets for the festival are on sale.

Visit http://oxfordliteraryfestival.org

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