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Fantastic opening weekend with much more to come

Paxman and McEwan head Sheldonian programme

Jeremy PaxmanThe opening weekend of this year’s FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival was a huge success with many speakers talking to sell-out audiences and the new marquee proving a big attraction – and there is plenty more to come.

Thursday’s Sheldonian events are headlined by Jeremy Paxman, pictured left, on Great Britain’s Great War, and by highly acclaimed novelist and Booker winner Ian McEwan, who also receives the prestigious Bodley Medal.

A packed Thursday programme in the Sheldonian also features BBC radio and television news presenter Edward Stourton, and world-renowned pianist Alfred Brendel.

Margaret DrabbleProlific novelist Alexander McCall Smith and novelist and arts broadcaster Melvyn Bragg both feature in the Sheldonian on Friday. The day’s programme is topped by a special tribute event to Nelson Mandela with one of his colleagues Ahmed Kathrada.

Elsewhere on Friday, novelist Margaret Drabble, pictured right, talks at Christ Church Hall about the life and works of Jules Verne, and bestselling author of Chocolat Joanne Harris talks about her new adult fantasy novel on the rise and fall of the Norse gods, The Gospel of Loki. 

Pamuk heads weekend programme

Orhan PamukNobel-Prize-winning Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk and 2013 Booker winner Eleanor Catton are two of the biggest draws at the final weekend of the festival.

Pamuk, pictured left, gives the Chancellor’s lecture at the end of Saturday, which also sees Sheldonian appearances by Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman, BBC Europe correspondent Gavin Hewitt, philosopher A C Grayling, children’s author Lauren St John and Born Free actress and wildlife campaigner Virginia McKenna.

Catton talks about her Booker-winning novel The Luminaries at the Sheldonian on Sunday, which also sees an appearance by children’s authors Lauren Child and Michael Morpurgo. Morpurgo’s The Mozart Question Concert will bring a fitting climax to the festival before what looks likely to be a sell-out Sheldonian audience.

Tickets are still available for most events but are selling fast. Festival-goers are advised to book online before setting out to avoid disappointment or queues. You can also book at the festival box office in the marquee or by telephoning 0870 343 1001.

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 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 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 Miles Young Masumi and Jonathan Dobson Carole and John Allen Worcester College Worcester College Lincoln College Lincoln College 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 European Commission T S Eliot Foundation Alan Squire Publishing Sponsor of American novelists and poets 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 Racalia Olive Oil Schoolreaders The Litmus Partnership K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography OX magazine Chamberlain Evans Estate agents 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 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 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 Miles Young Masumi and Jonathan Dobson Carole and John Allen Worcester College Worcester College Lincoln College Lincoln College 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 European Commission T S Eliot Foundation Alan Squire Publishing Sponsor of American novelists and poets 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 Racalia Olive Oil Schoolreaders The Litmus Partnership K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography OX magazine Chamberlain Evans Estate agents 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