Saturday, 28 January 2023 Contact us

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.

The Feathers Hotel Woodstock festival hotel The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels Sponsor of the festival crime fiction programme Italian Embassy Supporter of Italian programme Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller International Literary Properties Supporters of the festival green room The Dorchester Hotels Collection Festival London hotel partner European Union Delegation of the European Union to the United Kingdom Cultural Relations Platform Supporter of the festival's Voices of Europe programme Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Owen Mumford Supporter of programme of science and medicine and annual science and innovation award BBC World Service International radio partner University of Oxford FT Weekend Title partner Marlene Hauser Mary and Cecil Quillen Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture Jill Dunsmore David Isaac Carole and John Allen Lucian Hudson Pank Koria CEO of Project People Masumi and Jonathan Dobson Miles Young Emily Rose and James Marrow Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture George Warren Lady Hatch Patron donor for the programme of Irish literature and culture John Roberts Trinity College Trinity College St Cross College St Cross College Lincoln College Lincoln College Worcester College Worcester College New College Exeter College Exeter College: college home of the festival Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies Royal Academy of Arts Project People Institute of Hospitality Foodbuy Jewish Book Week Partner of Jewish programme TORVA Books which change you, your mind, your world Princeton University Press Prestige publishing partner Symington Wines of the Douro Valley Compassion in World Farming Pasture to Plate Oxford Brookes University Oxford University Images Oxford University Images The Sheldonian Theatre Critchleys Accountants to the festival CAV Oxford Felicity Bryan Associates Conference Oxford Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Paul Bloomfield Ltd Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner The Oxford Times Regional media partner Racalia Olive Oil Olive oil from Sicily Schoolreaders The Litmus Partnership K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography Ox in a Box OX magazine Siren Communications Siren Communications - corporate consultants Chêne Bleu Wines of Provence The Wild Geese James Currey Society Hattus Books Hattus Books La Cave Musik Pusey House Cervantes Institute, London Confucius Institute Literature Ireland The Nwelue Trust Abibiman Publishing Flip through Flanders

2023

2022

FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival sponsors, donors & partners

The Feathers Hotel Woodstock festival hotel The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels Sponsor of the festival crime fiction programme Italian Embassy Supporter of Italian programme Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller International Literary Properties Supporters of the festival green room The Dorchester Hotels Collection Festival London hotel partner European Union Delegation of the European Union to the United Kingdom Cultural Relations Platform Supporter of the festival's Voices of Europe programme Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Owen Mumford Supporter of programme of science and medicine and annual science and innovation award BBC World Service International radio partner University of Oxford FT Weekend Title partner Marlene Hauser Mary and Cecil Quillen Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture Jill Dunsmore David Isaac Carole and John Allen Lucian Hudson Pank Koria CEO of Project People Masumi and Jonathan Dobson Miles Young Emily Rose and James Marrow Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture George Warren Lady Hatch Patron donor for the programme of Irish literature and culture John Roberts Trinity College Trinity College St Cross College St Cross College Lincoln College Lincoln College Worcester College Worcester College New College Exeter College Exeter College: college home of the festival Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies Royal Academy of Arts Project People Institute of Hospitality Foodbuy Jewish Book Week Partner of Jewish programme TORVA Books which change you, your mind, your world Princeton University Press Prestige publishing partner Symington Wines of the Douro Valley Compassion in World Farming Pasture to Plate Oxford Brookes University Oxford University Images Oxford University Images The Sheldonian Theatre Critchleys Accountants to the festival CAV Oxford Felicity Bryan Associates Conference Oxford Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Paul Bloomfield Ltd Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner The Oxford Times Regional media partner Racalia Olive Oil Olive oil from Sicily Schoolreaders The Litmus Partnership K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography Ox in a Box OX magazine Siren Communications Siren Communications - corporate consultants Chêne Bleu Wines of Provence The Wild Geese James Currey Society Hattus Books Hattus Books La Cave Musik Pusey House Cervantes Institute, London Confucius Institute Literature Ireland The Nwelue Trust Abibiman Publishing Flip through Flanders