Saturday March 22 sees the start of the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival, with a bevy of bookish talks and events in and around the city’s dreaming spires. Speakers read like a who’s who of celebrated contemporary authors and range from Ian McEwan, Hanif Kureishi and Margaret Atwood to Philip Pullman, Margaret Drabble and the FT’s very own Jancis Robinson.
In fact, there are a number of FT writers and journalists appearing at the eight-day festival. First up on Saturday is editor Lionel Barber, columnist Lucy Kellaway and FT Weekend editor Caroline Daniel. Their interactive two-and-a-half-hour session (£65) is at the magnificent Bodleian Divinity School (where else?) and is entitled Lunch with the FT: 52 Classic Interviews. Appropriately, proceedings begin at 12.30 with a glass of fizz, followed by a two-course lunch (with wine) at 1.15pm and a talk and conversation over coffee at 2.15pm, concluding at 3pm.
The FT’s wine writer Jancis Robinson is back at her alma mater on Monday March 24 for a talk (£20) at 6pm sharp. The event takes place at University College Hall, where she will be interviewed by Sheila Dillon of BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme. Robinson’s session is entitled World Atlas of Wine: A Talk and Tasting and lasts for a bibulous hour and a half.
Wine lovers should also beat a path to Harry Eyres’ session on Thursday March 27 at 4pm at Christ Church Hall. So, too, should anyone who has a passion for philosophy, poetry and ancient Rome. The Slow Lane columnist’s talk (£20) is entitled Horace: Helping us to Live and Wine Tasting. Eyres will no doubt draw on material from his recent book Horace and Me, as well as his experience as both a wine writer and poetry critic.