Sir Ian McKellen to speak on playing Shakespeare

Ian McKellenOne of our greatest actors Sir Ian McKellen is to join Shakespeare scholar Professor Sir Jonathan Bate for a discussion to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of The Bard.

McKellen, pictured right, and Bate will discuss how their lives have been shaped by their relationship to the great plays.

Meanwhile, the date for the popular Levison Wood Walking the Himalayas event has been moved to April 14 for unavoidable reasons.

Tickets are also now on sale for the festival’s 20th anniversary dinner, at which writer and academic Dr Peter Frankopan, will talk about his highly acclaimed The Silk Roads: A New History of the World.

The book provides the inspiration for the dinner at Keble College prepared on an Eastern theme by two of the brightest young talents in the London restaurant scene, Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer of Honey & Co.

A welcome Negroni cocktail will be prepared for diners by Alice Lascelles, journalist and author of Ten Cocktails, the Art of Convivial Drinking, and everyone will go away with a piece of celebratory Shakespeare cake prepared by Juliet Sear, a leading cake designer and author of Cakeology.

Other dinners now on sale include an Italian-themed dinner overseen by the acclaimed food writer Claudia Roden, and a Chinese meal overseen by the world authority on Chinese food Ken Hom to close the festival.

Events can be booked online now via oxfordliteraryfestival.org. A walk-in and telephone box office (0870 343 1001) is open at Blackwell’s Bookshop, Oxford, Mon-Sat 9am-6.30pm (9.30am Tues) and Sun 11am-5pm.