Oxford Literary Festival 2023: 5 speakers you don’t want to miss this weekend!

Oxford Literary Festival
Image Credit- Oxford Literary Festival Website: https://oxfordliteraryfestival.org/about

For 26 years, The Oxford Literary Festival has brought together some of the brightest minds and public figures from across the globe to discuss cultural ideas.

This year is no exception. With over 200 events spread over nine days, no stone has been left unturned in the vast pick and mix of hot topics to be discussed. So far we’ve seen: cooking sensation Mary Berry promote her Cook and Share series, Dragon’s Den’s Deborah Meaden participate in a heated debate, best-selling children’s author Michael Morpurgo discuss his love of the natural world and venture capitalist Kate Bingham recount the media circus surrounding the pandemic.

The Oxford Literary Event 2023 began on 25th March and is set to end this weekend on the 2nd April. If you’ve not had a chance to attend, don’t worry! You’ve still got time to get your tickets here.

As the festival wraps up this weekend, there’s an exciting cast of speakers lined up. Here’s a list of the top 5 speakers you definitely don’t want to miss….

Photo by Gülfer ERGİN on Unsplash

1.Dr Maggie Aderin- Porock MBE – 1st April, 12pm

Image Credit: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/mechanical-engineering/people/meet-our-alumni/dr-maggie-aderin-pocock/

Award winning astronomer Maggie Aderin Pocock was born to Nigerian parents in Islington. After graduating with a BSc In Physics from Imperial College, she has gone on to become a household name in the British scientific community and received an MBE in 2009 for her contributions. You may also recognise her as a presenter from the popular BBC show The Sky at Night, where scientists take a deep dive into the latest questions about space.

On the 1st April, Aderin-Pocock will give be giving a talk full of insights and facts about astronomy as well as discussing her career as a scientist. If your a stickler for space, then this you definitely don’t want to miss this!

2. Jordan Peterson – 2nd April, 6pm

Image CreditYouTube, Channel 4: screenshott https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/jan/17/jordan-b-peterson-leaves-reporter-speechless-after/

A contraversial figure, Jordan Peterson shot to fame in 2016 when he protested against what he claimed to be censorship at the University of Toronto. Since then, the Canadian psychologist has gained a large following on the internet, where he discusses his political and philosophical views. Most notably, he is famous in the UK for his fiery debate with Channel 4’s Cathy Newman on the gender pay gap. As part of his Beyond Order World Tour, Peterson will be giving a lecture discussing how to balance what he considers to be two opposing principles of reality: chaos and order.

3.Helena Lee interviewed by Adam Rutherford – 2nd April, 12pm

Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images: https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/news-photo/helena-lee-founder-of-east-side-voices-and-features-news-photo/1241117820
Image Credit – Bookseller wesbite: https://www.thebookseller.com/rights/hcg-snaps-rutherfords-first-non-fiction-book-children-1286112

2023 has proven to be a watershed year for East Asian minorities, with the 95th Academy Awards seeing landslide wins by the likes of Daniel Kwan and Michelle Yeoh. Following on from this, Harpar’s Bazar’s editor Helen Lee will be showcasing overlooked Asian voices by looking at essays and a collection of real life stories. She will be interviewed by none other than British geneticist Adam Rurtherford, who is half Guyanese Indian. This is a fantastic oppurtunity to go deeper into Eastern and South Asian culture.

4. Isabelle Wilkerson – 1st April, 4pm

Image Credit – British Vogue: https://www.vogue.co.uk/arts-and-lifestyle/article/isabel-wilkerson

From the George Floyd riots to Tyre Nichols, American racial injustice is still a headline we have come to expect in the news. Isabelle Wilkerson is set to unpack the brewing racial tensions in her lecture entitled Exposing America’s Invisible Scaffolding, at the Oxford Literary Festival 2023.

In 1994, Wilkerson became the first black female journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize and has written several critically acclaimed books. In her New York Times bestseller Caste, she explores the hidden caste system in America. This talk is definitely shaping up to be an eye opener, so it’s not one to miss!

5. Peter Frankopan – 2nd April, 2pm

Image Credit: https://www.greece-is.com/speaking-support-greece/peter-frankopan/

If you’re a history lover, you’ll want to see this exciting lecture on agricultural development given by Peter Frankopan. A global history professor at Oxford, Frankopan is well known for his book The New Silk Roads: The Present and Future of the World, winner of the human sciences prize of the Carical Foundation. He will be interviewed by British lawyer Davids Isaacs and attendees will get the chance to pick his brain towards the end!

Let’s keep the Literature Alive!

Recently, there have been concerns Oxford Literary Festival is in it’s last years. According to their website, it has been particularly difficult to recover from the pandemic, especially since the event is not funded by the government. In response to this, they have launched the Festival 25 Appeal, where you can donate to help keep them alive.

For more articles about what’s on in Oxford, click here!