Major new figures join 2017 festival programme

Roger PenroseOne of the world’s leading theoretical scientists Roger Penrose, pictured, opens this year’s festival with a talk on his latest book in which he says fashion, faith and fantasy may be leading some researchers astray on the extreme frontiers of physics.

Other major figures to join this year’s festival include the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, on the rise of Donald Trump, and the current Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who will discuss the Catholic community with former Labour deputy leader Roy Hattersley, author of a new book on the Catholic Church and community.

Penelope LivelyMeanwhile, novelist Penelope Lively, pictured left, will talk about her life and career and receive the festival honorary fellowship.

The world’s leading expert on celebrity branding Jeetendr Sehdev, pictured below right, talks on the rise of the social media star and explains what the rise of reality television personality Kim Kardashian and the election of Donald Trump have in common.

Jeetendr SehdevAnd violinist Min Kym mixes performance and conversation in a unique event that looks back at her life as a child prodigy and the personal consequences of the devastating theft of her rare 1696 Stradivarius.

Tickets are already selling fast for the festival, which includes previously announced appearances by novelists Vikram Seth, Alexander McCall Smith, Paul Auster and William Boyd; poet Simon Armitage; Nobel-winning scientist Paul Nurse; actors Toby Jones and Simon Callow;  Olympic gold medal-winning athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill, food-writer and broadcaster Nigella Lawson; the UK’s most celebrated political interviewer Jeremy Paxman; Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman; and BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour presenter Jenni Murray.

College opens doors for tours

The librarian of Worcester College, Mark Bainbridge, hosts a series of tours of the college’s 18-century library and its 17th and 18th-century collections. The tours take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the festival.

Meanwhile, walking guide Alastair Lack returns with a series of literary walks including on Oxford poets, Oxford in film and the Oxford of Inspector Morse.