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MORE TAME THAN FLAME - MARCH 31 - 1.26PM - 2019

Geraldine McCaughrean - the Bodleian Divinity School - 12 noon

I guess I just felt a little underwhelmed…
Not that is was author Geraldine McCaughrean’s fault - after all her CV speaks for itself, having won the CILIP Carnegie Medal twice:  the Whitbread Children’s Book Award (three times), the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Smarties Bronze Award (four times) and, maybe most impressively of all, the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award.
So perhaps truth is, I misinterpreted its title.
“Words, words, words’ it screamed in the brochure: ‘The Case Against Dumbing Down’. And by way of introduction added: ‘Carnegie medal winning children’s author Geraldine McCaughrean argues against publishers’ demand for ‘accessible prose’ and warns it could create an underclass easy to manipulate and lacking the skills to reason their way out’.
Indeed, it continued to whet my appetite for what I assumed was going to be a rallying cry for the written word by adding: ‘McCaughrean originally made her comments on accepting the 2018 Carnegie Medal for her novel ‘Where the World Ends’. She said readers “should be bombarded with words like gamma rays, steeped in words like pot plants stood in water, pelted with them like confetti, fed on them like Alphabetti spaghetti, given Hamlet’s last resort: ‘Words. Words. Words.’”
But my hankering for a fire and brimstone-like confrontation between good (the joy of highlighting our constantly evolving language) and evil (astonishingly, a US publisher recently turned down one of McCaughrean’s novels for being too difficult, citing use of the word ‘gallimaufry’) never quite materialised.
I left after 25 minutes so maybe voices were later raised, banners waved and torches lit, and if so more fool me. But in the end I guess I was spoiling for a fight that was never meant, on this occasion at least, to happen.

FT Weekend Title partner BBC World Service International radio partner Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner University of Oxford New College Jewish Book Week Partner of Jewish programme Italian Embassy Supporter of Italian programme Irish Embassy, London Supporters of the Irish programme MIT Press MIT Press. Sponsors of the programme of American literature and culture The Dorchester Hotels Collection Festival London hotel partner Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller The Randolph Hotel The festival hotel Princeton University Press Prestige publishing partner British Academy Festival academic partner Emily Rose and James Marrow Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture Jill Dunsmore Lady Hatch Patron donor for the programme of Irish literature and culture George Warren Mary and Cecil Quillen Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture Marlene Hauser Worcester College Worcester College Lincoln College Lincoln College St Hilda’s College 12th St Hilda's day at the festival St Cross College St Cross College: Festival college partner. The Feathers Hotel Woodstock festival hotel Critchleys Accountants to the festival Owen Mumford Sponsor of programme on science and medicine HM Government of Gibraltar Festival green room sponsor Felicity Bryan Associates Conference Oxford Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Said Business School Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner The Oxford Times Regional media partner Oxford Brookes University Oxford University Images Oxford University Images The Sheldonian Theatre Floris of London City Audio Visual Schoolreaders The Litmus Partnership K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography OX magazine Chamberlain Evans Estate agents Ironbridge Gorge Museums Foodbuy Siren Communications Siren Communications - corporate consultants Chêne Bleu Wines of Provence Frescobaldi Toscana Wines of Tuscany Symington Wines of the Douro Valley Seacourt Printers Festival printers Steer Oxford Botanic Garden Compassion in World Farming The Wild Geese Nicholas Hunter Ltd

FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival sponsors, donors & partners

FT Weekend Title partner BBC World Service International radio partner Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner University of Oxford New College Jewish Book Week Partner of Jewish programme Italian Embassy Supporter of Italian programme Irish Embassy, London Supporters of the Irish programme MIT Press MIT Press. Sponsors of the programme of American literature and culture The Dorchester Hotels Collection Festival London hotel partner Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller The Randolph Hotel The festival hotel Princeton University Press Prestige publishing partner British Academy Festival academic partner Emily Rose and James Marrow Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture Jill Dunsmore Lady Hatch Patron donor for the programme of Irish literature and culture George Warren Mary and Cecil Quillen Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture Marlene Hauser Worcester College Worcester College Lincoln College Lincoln College St Hilda’s College 12th St Hilda's day at the festival St Cross College St Cross College: Festival college partner. The Feathers Hotel Woodstock festival hotel Critchleys Accountants to the festival Owen Mumford Sponsor of programme on science and medicine HM Government of Gibraltar Festival green room sponsor Felicity Bryan Associates Conference Oxford Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Said Business School Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner The Oxford Times Regional media partner Oxford Brookes University Oxford University Images Oxford University Images The Sheldonian Theatre Floris of London City Audio Visual Schoolreaders The Litmus Partnership K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography OX magazine Chamberlain Evans Estate agents Ironbridge Gorge Museums Foodbuy Siren Communications Siren Communications - corporate consultants Chêne Bleu Wines of Provence Frescobaldi Toscana Wines of Tuscany Symington Wines of the Douro Valley Seacourt Printers Festival printers Steer Oxford Botanic Garden Compassion in World Farming The Wild Geese Nicholas Hunter Ltd