Welcome to the Oxford Literary Festival
Welcome to the 2014 FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival. I am thrilled to say that we have a new title partner. The Financial Times is one of the most distinguished and authoritative newspapers in the world. FT Weekend, with its exceptional coverage of the arts, culture, lifestyle and current affairs, is the ultimate platform to enable us to extend our reach and introduce our programme to new audiences both in the UK and internationally.
I know many of you will be pleased to hear of the return of the marquee this year. The large marquee at Christ Church was not popular with our speakers and many festival-goers. However, I recognise many of you valued it as a meeting place, somewhere to browse the bookshop or grab a coffee. Thanks to the support of Blackwell’s Bookshop, there will be a marquee in 2014 between the Sheldonian Theatre and the Bodleian Library to house the festival bookshop, a café, the festival box office and some retail units.
We have a new ticketing partner for 2014. WeGot Tickets is a leading provider of online ticketing and is also developing a bespoke ticketing system for the festival. You can buy your tickets online now. In-person and telephone sales will be available in early January when the system has been developed. I am very pleased that Blackwell Bookshop in Broad Street, Oxford, has agreed to sell tickets on our behalf in January. Perhaps the biggest innovation is that festival booking system will be ‘ticketless’. The ticket will be your booking reference. Our door staff will have a record of your purchase, so there will be no more queuing to pick up tickets.
I and my colleagues have been busy again putting together what I believe is another fantastic and intriguing set of speakers. We have the Man Booker winner Eleanor Catton and the thriller writer, Robert Harris; journalist Peter Snow; comedian Count Arthur Strong; and an exciting children and young people’s programme that includes the Children’s Laureate, Malorie Blackman.
We have an India day; an Italian day; and major speakers from the United States and many other countries. A third of the programme is already confirmed and available to book. More events will appear on the website over the next few weeks.
We are indebted to all our sponsors and partners for everything they do for us. I would particularly like to thank our Global Banking Partner, HSBC Premier, for the continuing support it gives to the festival.
Finally, I look forward to welcoming you all to this year’s festival between Saturday, 22 March and Sunday, 30 March. It’s a week later than last year so let’s hope for some fine spring weather.