Once again, the Oxford Literary Festival lacked focus – there was no real sense of an event. One of the problems was undoubtedly the weather – always a risk in March. The main problem, though, is that the venues are much more spread out than when the festival was based in and around Christ Church College.
Christ Church itself is now very much a peripheral and increasingly unwelcoming site. Where there were once festival crowds milling about, you now have to run the gauntlet of hostile porters at Tom Gate and officious notices that not only keep you off the grass but limit you to the raised pathway. So much for the absorbing the ambiance of Oxford’s grandest college.
Personally, I think they would do better to focus the bulk of the events in a much smaller area. I was fortunate in my choice of events, but some of the more historic venues aren’t suitable due to poor acoustics or, as in the case of the Convocation House, sideways seating which means that you have to crick your neck sideways to see the slides.
On the positive side, both the talks I went to were excellent and the reviews are now up on the Daily Info website (other reviewers are available).Reviews (you may have to ferret about a bit): Donna Dickenson – Me Medicine Vs. We Medicine – Fri 28th March Jamie Davies – Life Unfolding: How the Human Body Creates Itself – 26th March 2014