With every field, there has to be an event that celebrates the works produced its experts. In the world of literature and writing, the Oxford Literary Festival is an event that celebrates authors, translators, poets and much more. Held every year, the 20th edition of this festival took place in April of 2016 and is scheduled for March 25th – April 2nd the next year.
They have a variety of partners for this event. Organized and bearing the name Oxford, one would assume that it is in conjunction with the famed university. Their partners include The Bodleian Libraries, The Oxford Times, FT Weekend, HSBC, BBC Four, BBC World Service, English Heritage and much more. There have a variety of speakers which numbers to five hundred. There are many distinguished figures that invited to speak at this festival which includes eminent novelists like Dacia Maraini. Many notable figures are involved or associated with this event like HE Pasquale Terraciano who is the Italian Ambassador, HE Dan Mulhall who is the Irish Ambassador, Gary Kasparov, Lady Hatch, Dr Mary McAleese who was the former President of Ireland and more. With such a number of significant figures, it is no wonder that this event carries a lot of weight in the literary world as well as gains a lot of media coverage.
It has faced its share of controversies. Being a literary festival, it has a lot of authors, writers and other literary people associated with the event. But like how any event, it has to pay people for their participation. The people who organize the event are paid, the caterers are paid and more. However, the writers who attend the event and are scheduled to give talks are unpaid. This is seen as very strange considering that the event would not exist if it weren’t for the people in the literary world like writers, poets etc.
But going back to the Festival, there is a lot to be learned if a person attends the lectures and talks. There are walks conducted by well known personalities that take you through a history of Oxford, where the participant explores the colleges of Oxford and landmark buildings where many a notable person used to study. This two hour walk ends at Christ Church and is taken by Alastair Lack who worked with the BBC for 26 years.
This is just one topic of learning. Get introduced to Shakespeare’s work as well as his life, know more about the Bible, from the musical greats like Tchaikovsky to knowing more about the history of English Church Music, from international politics to publishing insights, war to classical music, from African storytelling to handling refugees – there is most certainly something for everyone.
Not only that, there are workshops that are conducted where a participant can join leading writers for a whole day’s master class in the writer’s Art. This is aimed at curious readers and aspiring writers. There is a lot that goes into the art of writing. There is the process of writing itself and even if you’re mildly curious about the thoughts of the working lives of authors, or want to put a questions to the writers chairing the talks.
One of the best things about this Festival is the accommodations. If you’ve got the bank on your side, then there are lovely hotels to stay in for the duration of the event. However, if you want to experience all that the festival has to offer without breaking your bank or being late on rent, you have the option of booking a room at the Oxford College. As many of the events take place within the campus and the grounds, it makes a lot of sense for those who really want to experience everything that takes place.