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Preview of first days of this year’s festival

Big names and a new exhibition martk exciting opening weekend

Will HuttonThe FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival opens this weekend. A host of big names and the opening of a stunning new Bodleian Libraries exhibition on the festival campus combine to make this year’s event one of the most exciting for years.

Saturday’s Sheldonian line-up features How to Train Your Dragon author Cressida Cowell, well-known economics commentator Will Hutton, pictured right, on the ‘mercenary society’, and television comedian and award-winning author Tony Hawks on his latest book, Once Upon a Time in the West . . . . Country.

MC BeatonThe first day of the festival coincides with the opening of the Bodleian Libraries Weston Building and its major new exhibition, Marks of Genius, featuring many of the Bodleian Libraries treasures, including editions of the Magna Carta and Tolkien’s original watercolour for the cover of The Hobbit.


The Weston Building is a major new venue for the festival. Among those appearing in its lecture theatre are crime writer M C Beaton, pictured above left, and Ireland’s ambassador to the UK, Daniel Mulhall, on W B Yeats. The Weston Building also houses a new café open to festival-goers.

Join Harry Potter for a wizard show

We celebrate the magic of Harry Potter in the Sheldonian Theatre on Sunday, while children’s author Liz Pichon turns the theatre into the world of Tom Gates. Sunday also sees one of this year’s most anticipated events when the US Sci-Fi writer Diana Gabaldon makes her first appearance in what will be a packed Sheldonian.

Celia ImrieThe great Indian writer Amitav Ghosh gives the Chancellor’s Lecture on Monday, and actress Celia Imrie, pictured right, star of the current hit film The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, appears on Tuesday.

Remember: The site of the Westgate Car Park is being redeveloped. Alternative parking is in place on the opposite side of Oxpens next to the ice rink. Visit the website for details on location and access.

Events can be booked online any time through the festival website or Monday-Friday 10am-6pm at Blackwell’s bookshop (0870 343 1001). The festival box office in the marquee is open throughout the festival.

FT Weekend Title partner University of Oxford BBC World Service International radio partner Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Chêne Bleu Worcester College Worcester College: Festival college partner 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 Head of Zeus The Macdonald Randolph Hotel The festival hotel HM Government of Gibraltar Festival green room sponsor Gibunco Group Sponsor of Gibraltar Lecture British Academy BBC Four Television Broadcast media partner Earthwatch Europe Ian and Carol Sellars Emily Rose and James Marrow Jill Dunsmore Lady Hatch Patron donor for the programme of Irish literature and culture George Warren New College Lincoln College Lincoln College St Cross College St Cross College Jesus College St Hilda’s College 10th St Hilda's day at the festival St John’s College St John's College The Queen’s College The Queen's College Exeter College Exeter College Hertford College Keble College Keble College Oxford Brookes University The Feathers Hotel Said Business School University of Oxford Mathematical Institute Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies The Oxford Times Regional media partner BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design The Royal Society of Literature Royal Literary Fund Princeton University Press Felicity Bryan Associates University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Conference Oxford Oxford University Images Oxford University Images The Sheldonian Theatre Oxford University Press Floris of London Critchleys City Audio Visual Eynsham Hall Macdonald Bear Hotel Sloane Club Ashmolean Museum British Humanist Association The Story Museum Oxford City Council The Litmus Partnership K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography OX magazine Liaison Financial Services History of War All About History Steer Oxford Botanic Garden Wadham College Wadham College

FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival partners & sponsors

FT Weekend Title partner University of Oxford BBC World Service International radio partner Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Chêne Bleu Worcester College Worcester College: Festival college partner 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 Head of Zeus The Macdonald Randolph Hotel The festival hotel HM Government of Gibraltar Festival green room sponsor Gibunco Group Sponsor of Gibraltar Lecture British Academy BBC Four Television Broadcast media partner Earthwatch Europe Ian and Carol Sellars Emily Rose and James Marrow Jill Dunsmore Lady Hatch Patron donor for the programme of Irish literature and culture George Warren New College Lincoln College Lincoln College St Cross College St Cross College Jesus College St Hilda’s College 10th St Hilda's day at the festival St John’s College St John's College The Queen’s College The Queen's College Exeter College Exeter College Hertford College Keble College Keble College Oxford Brookes University The Feathers Hotel Said Business School University of Oxford Mathematical Institute Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies The Oxford Times Regional media partner BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design The Royal Society of Literature Royal Literary Fund Princeton University Press Felicity Bryan Associates University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Conference Oxford Oxford University Images Oxford University Images The Sheldonian Theatre Oxford University Press Floris of London Critchleys City Audio Visual Eynsham Hall Macdonald Bear Hotel Sloane Club Ashmolean Museum British Humanist Association The Story Museum Oxford City Council The Litmus Partnership K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography OX magazine Liaison Financial Services History of War All About History Steer Oxford Botanic Garden Wadham College Wadham College