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.
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