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Tired but Wired: 4 days at the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival

What a few days it has been for me in the city of dreaming spires. 

Melvyn Bragg

I don’t like to brag, but I soaked up the words of wisdom of writer and broadcaster, Melvyn Bragg, who is best known as editor and presenter of ITV’s South Bank Show.  He was talking about his new novel  Love Without End: A Story of Heloise and Abelard, based on one of history’s most enduring love stories.

Kate Adie

I don’t like to name drop but, I encountered veteran journalists Kate Adie and Martin Bell who shared some of their hairier experiences whilst reporting during the long and bitter conflict in Northern Ireland.

I then moved on to find inner calm with the Buddhist monk, Gelong Thubten, in the Divinity School and I’m looking forward to seeing him again in Jersey next month with Ruby Wax.

Buddhist monk, meditation trainer and author, Gelong Thubten
The Sheldonian Theatre, designed by Christopher Wren

In the centre of things is the magnificent Sheldonian Theatre which was designed by Christopher Wren and built from 1664 to 1669. The building is named after Gilbert Sheldon, chancellor of the University of Oxford at the time and the project’s main financial backer.  This extraordinary building was based on Serlio‘s sixteenth-century engraving of the D-shaped Theatre of Marcellus erected in Rome in the first century BC.

Under its stunning ceiling fresco by Robert Streater,  I explored the true grit of the mad, bad and dangerous to know, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and shared the culture of misogyny with a national treasure and the world’s most famous classicist, Mary Beard.

Mary Beard


I then joined writer, campaigner and former diplomat David Barrie for an insight into the mysteries of how animals find their way without the benefit of maps or instruments.

Tired but wired I got to understand a great deal more about what goes on inside my head when I have nightmares with Guy Leschziner, before joining Andrew Copson and Andrew Grey for a lively debate on the pros and cons of Assisted dying and euthanasia: Is it Morally acceptable? 

Today my brain is buzzing as I head for home.  I feel enlightened and erudite, my mind reeling from spending time in the city of dreaming spires, rubbing shoulders with some of the great minds of our times.

1 comment

Thank you very much for visiting my niche-less blog! If you have time before you leave, would love you to tell us what you think. All the best, Tessa Barrie

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