Thursday, 18 January 2018 Contact us

SIMPLY THE BEST - MAR 26 - 4.38PM

BBC World Service - Worcester College - John Simpson, Maya Youssef

In Festival terms, this was something of a blockbuster; a David Lean type epic presented by the BBC World Service and starring, in no particular order, John Simpson, Anu Anand, Bek Okri, Maya Youssef, Sahar Zand and Luciano Floridi.
And its location was equally as grand - the Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre in Worcester College . Indeed, the last time I was as impressed by a venue as this was in Petra, Jordan (clearly the Shah Centre would fit into this particular World Heritage Site’s toilets, but in terms of sheer aesthetic awe, trust me, it’s hard to beat…).
And in keeping with the intimate grandeur of this brand new facility, the subject matter for this impressive meeting of minds was equally as inspiring - the origin of human nature.
And before I finally bludgeon you to death with superlatives, let me add one final jaw-dropping observation, prompted by John Simpson in his welcome to the audience, reminding us that those of us gathered there were but just a smidgin of the world wide audience of 66 million listening in live at that moment (compared to most Lit Fest venues holding 200 or less, this really was a coup; indeed it must have crossed the minds of organisers that if tickets could have been sold, retiring to Monica would definitely have been a possibility).
Anyway, as for the two-hour cocktail of conversation, debate and music (provided by Maya Youssef), it proved a milestone moment in the 21-year history of the festival.
Funny, daring, provoking, contentious, it currently ranks as my all-time favourite festival event.
And yup, I feel privileged to have been there.

FT Weekend Title partner University of Oxford HSBC Global banking partner Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Worcester College Worcester College: Festival college partner Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner BBC World Service International radio partner BBC Four Television Broadcast media partner British Academy HM Government of Gibraltar Festival green room sponsor Gibunco Group Sponsor of Gibraltar Lecture Galileo Foundation Italian Cultural Institute Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller Ian and Carol Sellars Lady Hatch Emily Rose and James Marrow George Warren Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design Marshall Maserati Festival courtesy cars The Macdonald Randolph Hotel The festival hotel Eynsham Hall Said Business School Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies New College Lincoln College Lincoln College St Cross College St Cross College Corpus Christi College The Queen’s College The Queen's College St John’s College St John's College Jesus College Hertford College Exeter College Exeter College St Hilda’s College Keble College Keble College Oxford University Press Princeton University Press Oxford Brookes University Oxford Cultural Collective K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography Ashmolean Museum Floris of London University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office The Oxford Times Regional media partner BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner Macdonald Bear Hotel Conference Oxford Critchleys Liaison Financial Services The Litmus Partnership British Humanist Association The Sheldonian Theatre Felicity Bryan Associates The Royal Society of Literature Oxford University Museum of Natural History The Story Museum Oxford City Council City Audio Visual OX magazine

FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival 2018 partners & sponsors

FT Weekend Title partner University of Oxford HSBC Global banking partner Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Worcester College Worcester College: Festival college partner Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner BBC World Service International radio partner BBC Four Television Broadcast media partner British Academy HM Government of Gibraltar Festival green room sponsor Gibunco Group Sponsor of Gibraltar Lecture Galileo Foundation Italian Cultural Institute Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller Ian and Carol Sellars Lady Hatch Emily Rose and James Marrow George Warren Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design Marshall Maserati Festival courtesy cars The Macdonald Randolph Hotel The festival hotel Eynsham Hall Said Business School Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies New College Lincoln College Lincoln College St Cross College St Cross College Corpus Christi College The Queen’s College The Queen's College St John’s College St John's College Jesus College Hertford College Exeter College Exeter College St Hilda’s College Keble College Keble College Oxford University Press Princeton University Press Oxford Brookes University Oxford Cultural Collective K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography Ashmolean Museum Floris of London University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office The Oxford Times Regional media partner BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner Macdonald Bear Hotel Conference Oxford Critchleys Liaison Financial Services The Litmus Partnership British Humanist Association The Sheldonian Theatre Felicity Bryan Associates The Royal Society of Literature Oxford University Museum of Natural History The Story Museum Oxford City Council City Audio Visual OX magazine