Welcome to the website of the Oxford Literary Festival.
Last year the pandemic forced us to cancel the 2020 festival, two weeks before it opened; having to stand down more than 450 speakers from over 30 countries. We are hugely grateful to all the festival goers who either donated the value of their tickets; or agreed to roll them forward to future years. Their generosity has helped the festival to survive; together with all our sponsors, donors and partners who have stood by us; and committed to support our plans for the 25th festival in the spring of 2022. We are also extremely grateful to the growing list of new sponsors and partners for 2022.
Over the past decade our international programmes of literature and culture have become a much-valued element of the festival – plans to extend our reach globally will be announced in 2022 and 2023.
The pandemic has exposed the fragility of human life; and reminded us of the vulnerability of civilisation and modern society. It has served to heighten our appreciation of family and friendship; of human contact and sociability; and of the beauties of landscapes and seascapes; flora and fauna; and all the small pleasures of life we had taken for granted.
Perhaps, most importantly of all, it has reminded us of how much we depend on other people’s kindness, dedication, care, and commitment; and how much we rely on the written and spoken word for our entertainment, relaxation, and education. All secured for us by the amazing scientific discoveries of so many dedicated scientists and researchers at the University of Oxford.
In reviving the Oxford festival – we are determined to reinforce our longstanding commitments to:
- freedom of speech, debate, and diversity; and maintaining our tradition of courteous dialogue, allowing for contentious and difficult subjects to be publicly examined
- the pursuit of excellence in scholarship, research, and teaching
- providing platforms for as wide a range of published topics as possible.
We plan to broaden access to, and engagement with the festival, from 2022.
We are fortunate to be able to stage our festival events in some of the most beautiful and historic buildings in Europe; and offer many opportunities to enjoy literary lunches, dinners, and tastings in magnificent surroundings.
The festival is very grateful to our three global partners – FT Weekend and the Financial Times, the University of Oxford and BBC World Service Radio – who do so much to bring the festival events to the widest possible national and international audiences.
The festival’s prospectus for the future encompasses all the above and looks forward to continuing to bring new and undiscovered authors and even more of the world’s greatest writers and public figures to Oxford each year.