Ali-smith
Ali Smith
Richard-ovenden)
Richard Ovenden

The Bodley Lecture and Award of the Bodley Medal: Life and Work

Ali Smith interviewed Richard Ovenden

Thursday, 21 March 2024

6:00pm

1 hour

Sheldonian Theatre

£8 - £20

Author, playwright, academic and journalist Ali Smith talks about her life and work in conversation with Bodley’s Librarian Richard Ovenden and receives the Bodley Medal for her outstanding contribution to literature.

Smith was once described by Sebastian Barry as ‘Scotland’s Nobel laureate-in-waiting’.  She has been shortlisted four times for the Booker Prize and has won the Goldsmiths Prize, Orwell Prize, Costa Best Novel Award and the Women’s Prize. Her novels and short story collections include The Accidental, Hotel World, How to be Both and the Seasonal Quartet. Her most recent novel was Companion Piece, a story that switches between post-Brexit lockdown Britain and the Middle Ages and examines questions about opening ourselves to other times, species, histories and possibilities.

Companion Piece makes you look at the world afresh. For me, it turned a cold and depressing day into a bright one’ New Statesman

The ceremony will feature Smith in conversation with Ovenden, Bodley’s Librarian and Head of Gardens, Libraries and Museums at the University of Oxford, who will also present the author with the Bodley Medal. The Bodley Medal is the Bodleian Libraries’ highest honour, awarded to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the worlds of books and literature, libraries, media and communications, science and philanthropy.

First presented in 2002, previous recipients at the festival have included Peter Carey (2012), Hilary Mantel (2013), Nicholas Hytner (2014), Ian McEwan (2015), Mary Beard (2016), William Boyd (2017), Claire Tomalin (2018), Kazuo Ishiguro (2019), Zadie Smith (2022) and Colm Tóibín (2023).  Robert Caro (2022) was the first person to receive his award at the North American edition of the Bodley Medal presentation.

Presented by the Bodleian Libraries.

Event Presented by

The Telegraph Festival media partner University of Oxford Netflix European Union Supported by the Delegation of the European Union to the UK Cultural Relations Platform Supporter of the festival's Voices of Europe programme Owen Mumford Supporter of programme of science and medicine and annual science and innovation award Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Oxford Mathematics Spanish Embassy The Spanish Embassy: supporters of the programme of Spanish literature and culture Cervantes Institute, London The Cervantes Institute, London Italian Embassy The Italian Embassy: supporter of the programme of Italian literature and culture The Dorchester Hotels Collection Festival London hotel partner International Literary Properties Festival literary heritage partner Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels Festival hotel Old Bank Hotel Five-star hotel partners of The Oxford Collection Old Parsonage Hotel Five-star hotel partners of The Oxford Collection Jim Mellon John Roberts Lady Hatch Patron donor for the programme of Irish literature and culture Tim and Marion Stevenson Martin and Elise Becket Smith Miles Young Masumi and Jonathan Dobson Pank Koria CEO of Project People Carole and John Allen David Isaac Mary and Cecil Quillen Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture Anna Hunter Rhys and Kerry Phillip Exeter College Exeter College: college home of the festival. Founded 1314 New College New College founded 1379 Worcester College Worcester College founded 1714 Lincoln College Lincoln College founded 1427 St Cross College St Cross College founded 1965 Trinity College Trinity College founded 1555 Magdalen College Magdalen College founded 1458 Critchleys Accountants to the festival Pasture to Plate Compassion in World Farming Human Ecology Project MACROVegan Symington Wines of the Douro Valley Princeton University Press Prestige publishing partner European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Sponsor of the EBRD Literature Prize since 2018 ROOMS Georgia's leading lifestyle hotel brand since 2012. Supporters of the programme of Georgian literature and culture Jewish Book Week Partner of Oxford Literary Festival Foodbuy Thje Menu Partners Institute of Hospitality Goldmoney Properties Project People Oxford Brookes University Oxford International Centre for Publishing Confucius Institute Pusey House British Academy Festival academic partner Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies Oxford United Football Club Racalia Olive Oil Olive oil from Sicily BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design Paul Bloomfield Ltd University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Conference Oxford Felicity Bryan Associates CAV Oxford The Sheldonian Theatre Oxford University Images Oxford University Images Oxford University Department for Continuing Education Force4Good Consultancy Corporate communications OX magazine Ox in a Box K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography The Litmus Partnership Schoolreaders Windrush Group James Currey Society

The Oxford Literary Festival sponsors, donors & partners

The Telegraph Festival media partner University of Oxford Netflix European Union Supported by the Delegation of the European Union to the UK Cultural Relations Platform Supporter of the festival's Voices of Europe programme Owen Mumford Supporter of programme of science and medicine and annual science and innovation award Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Oxford Mathematics Spanish Embassy The Spanish Embassy: supporters of the programme of Spanish literature and culture Cervantes Institute, London The Cervantes Institute, London Italian Embassy The Italian Embassy: supporter of the programme of Italian literature and culture The Dorchester Hotels Collection Festival London hotel partner International Literary Properties Festival literary heritage partner Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels Festival hotel Old Bank Hotel Five-star hotel partners of The Oxford Collection Old Parsonage Hotel Five-star hotel partners of The Oxford Collection Jim Mellon John Roberts Lady Hatch Patron donor for the programme of Irish literature and culture Tim and Marion Stevenson Martin and Elise Becket Smith Miles Young Masumi and Jonathan Dobson Pank Koria CEO of Project People Carole and John Allen David Isaac Mary and Cecil Quillen Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture Anna Hunter Rhys and Kerry Phillip Exeter College Exeter College: college home of the festival. Founded 1314 New College New College founded 1379 Worcester College Worcester College founded 1714 Lincoln College Lincoln College founded 1427 St Cross College St Cross College founded 1965 Trinity College Trinity College founded 1555 Magdalen College Magdalen College founded 1458 Critchleys Accountants to the festival Pasture to Plate Compassion in World Farming Human Ecology Project MACROVegan Symington Wines of the Douro Valley Princeton University Press Prestige publishing partner European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Sponsor of the EBRD Literature Prize since 2018 ROOMS Georgia's leading lifestyle hotel brand since 2012. Supporters of the programme of Georgian literature and culture Jewish Book Week Partner of Oxford Literary Festival Foodbuy Thje Menu Partners Institute of Hospitality Goldmoney Properties Project People Oxford Brookes University Oxford International Centre for Publishing Confucius Institute Pusey House British Academy Festival academic partner Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies Oxford United Football Club Racalia Olive Oil Olive oil from Sicily BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design Paul Bloomfield Ltd University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Conference Oxford Felicity Bryan Associates CAV Oxford The Sheldonian Theatre Oxford University Images Oxford University Images Oxford University Department for Continuing Education Force4Good Consultancy Corporate communications OX magazine Ox in a Box K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography The Litmus Partnership Schoolreaders Windrush Group James Currey Society