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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 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 Princeton University Press British Academy Festival academic partner Ian and Carol Sellars Emily Rose and James Marrow Lady Hatch Patron donor for the programme of Irish literature and culture George Warren Mary and Cecil Quillen Worcester College Worcester College Lincoln College Lincoln College St Hilda’s College 11th St Hilda's day at the festival St Cross College St Cross College: Festival college partner. All facilities generously donated to the festival The Feathers Hotel Woodstock Macdonald Bear Hotel Woodstock Critchleys 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 History of War All About History Glyndebourne Chamberlain Evans Estate agents Ironbridge Gorge Museums Foodbuy Chêne Bleu Frescobaldi Toscana Wines of Tuscany Symington Wines of the Douro Valley Sloane Club Steer Oxford Botanic Garden Cinnamon Kitchen 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 Princeton University Press British Academy Festival academic partner Ian and Carol Sellars Emily Rose and James Marrow Lady Hatch Patron donor for the programme of Irish literature and culture George Warren Mary and Cecil Quillen Worcester College Worcester College Lincoln College Lincoln College St Hilda’s College 11th St Hilda's day at the festival St Cross College St Cross College: Festival college partner. All facilities generously donated to the festival The Feathers Hotel Woodstock Macdonald Bear Hotel Woodstock Critchleys 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 History of War All About History Glyndebourne Chamberlain Evans Estate agents Ironbridge Gorge Museums Foodbuy Chêne Bleu Frescobaldi Toscana Wines of Tuscany Symington Wines of the Douro Valley Sloane Club Steer Oxford Botanic Garden Cinnamon Kitchen Compassion in World Farming The Wild Geese Nicholas Hunter Ltd