THE KIDS HAVE IT IN OXFORD

OxfordThere has been some grumbling lately about the Oxford Literary Festival. Some authors complain that, with more than 200 events spread over three colleges—Christ Church, Merton and Corpus Christi—it has become too big and lacking in co-ordination. Certainly, a schedule that has Colin Thubron, Alex Bellos and David Constantine giving rival talks at the same time looks profligate with its speakers.

Perhaps that’s why there are fewer big names this year, and the relaunched children’s festival threatens to outshine the main programme, with Eoin Colfer, Francesca Simon and a gathering of four Children’s Laureates (Jacqueline Wilson, Anne Fine, Michael Rosen and Anthony Browne) at the Sheldonian Theatre. Still, what book-lover could resist P.D. James and Jill Paton Walsh discussing Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers, or Edna O’Brien reading in Christ Church Library? And no festival that has Madhur Jaffrey presiding over a banquet in a medieval dining hall can be entirely lacking in spice.

~ ANTHONY GARDNER

Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival  April 2nd to 10th

Picture Credit: PhillipC