Oxford Literary Festival: From Friday 25 March to Sunday 3 April

2022 festival line-up features Richard Dawkins, Zadie Smith, Joanna Lumley, Delia Smith, Donna Leon and Maureen Lipman

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Oxford Literay Festival returns this spring for its 25th anniversary event with a line-up that features a host of names from literature, the arts, science and lifestyle, including actresses Joanna Lumley and Maureen Lipman, scientists Richard Dawkins and Martin Rees, novelists Zadie Smith and Donna Leon, and cookery legend Delia Smith




This year, in particular, do not miss:


Christopher Prendergast on 'Living and Dying with Marcel Proust' - Monday, 28 March 2022
Proust expert Christopher Prendergast reflects on a lifetime of reading the great author’s masterpiece A la recherche du temps perdu.
Prendergast is one of the world’s leading Proust scholars and general editor of the most recent translation of the novel. His new book on Proust looks at a range of the novelist’s obsessions such as insomnia, food and digestion, colour, addiction, memory, breath and breathing, breasts, snobbism, music, and humour.
‘A work buzzing with appetite and curiosity . . . a real delight. No Proustian should be without it’ – Andrew Marr
Prendergast is a fellow of King’s College, Cambridge, and of the British Academy. He writes for the London Review of Books and the New Left Review.
This event is part of the festival’s programme of French literature and culture.


Ruth Scurr - 'Napoleon - A Life in Gardens and Shadows' - Tuesday, 29 March 2022
Historian, biographer and literary critic Ruth Scurr throws new light on the life and character of Naopleon by looking at his love of nature and gardens.
Napoleon’s gardens included his childhood olive groves in Corsica, Josephine’s gardens and menageries in Paris, gardens in Cairo, Rome and on Elba, the walled garden of Hougoumont at the battle of Waterloo, and his final garden on St Helena. Scurr places Napoleon in the context of ideas about nature, human nature, the natural world, and relationships between them, which were fiercely debated during the French Revolution. Napoleon wanted to heal the wounds of the revolution and saw himself as a patron of sciences and progress.
‘If you read just one biography this year, make it Ruth Scurr’s brilliant and original exploration of Napoleon’s life as an amateur gardener. Everything makes sense once you realise this was a man obsessed with making nature go his way.’ Amanda Foreman
Scurr teaches history and politics at the University of Cambridge. Her book, Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution, won the Franco-British Society Literary Prize.


Valerie Perrin - 'Fresh Water for Flowers' and 'Three' - Wednesday, 30 March 2022
International bestselling French writer Valérie Perrin talks about her two recent novels, Fresh Water for Flowers and Three, one a story of love and loss and the other a story of the ties between friends and the choices that make us.
Fresh Water for Flowers is about cemetery caretaker Violette Toussaint and her determination to find out who is responsible for the death of her daughter. Three is about three children who become inseparable at the age of ten. More than 30 years later a journalist follows the case of a car pulled from a lake with a body inside and uncovers the extraordinary bond that united the three and how the wrecked car is connected to their story.
Fresh Water for Flowers has been translated into 30 languages and sold more than a million copies worldwide. It won the Maison de la Presse Prize and was the bestselling book of 2020 in Italy. Perrin’s first novel, The Forgotten Sunday, won the Booksellers Choice Award. She is also a photographer and screenwriter.
This event is part of the festival’s programme of French literature and culture.


Philip Mansel - 'Louis XIV and the English - the Road to Versailles' - Wednesday, 30 March 2022
Author and historian Philip Mansel looks at the life of Louis XIV, who dominated the 17th century more than any other man, and explains his impact on England.
Mansel looks at why France became the dominant foreign influence in England during his reign. The English proved the most admiring foreign visitors to, and imitators of, Louis XIV’s Royal palace of Versailles. The Duke of Marlborough fought Louis XIV’s armies. But his palace at Blenheim was partly inspired by Versailles, which he himself had visited when France and England were allies.
Mansel is author of 14 books of history and biography including King of the World: the Life of Louis XIV, winner of the Franco-British prize. He is president of the conseil scientifique of the Chateau de Versailles research centre and a co-founder of the Society for Court Studies.
This event is part of the festival’s programme of French literature and culture.


Please visit https://oxfordliteraryfestival.org/  to browse the full list of events