The Blackwell’s Marquee at the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival




Box-NookWe are thrilled to be bringing back the Festival Marquee! In partnership with Nook tablets and ereaders the marquee will be a vibrant hub for the festival. The Blackwell’s Marquee is open to all; bring your friends and family along to enjoy the atmosphere, the numerous free events and activities and spot a famous author or two. It will be open every day of the festival from 9 in the morning until 8 at night with two late night openings until 10pm on Thursday 27th and Friday 28th. See below for details on the UK launch of Nook Press – an exciting new self-publishing platform

At a new location in the Clarendon Quad, adjacent to the Sheldonian Theatre not only will you find our Festival Bookshop but a wonderful restaurant will be jacobsandfieldlogoroundprovided by Jacobs & Field – if you have visited their Headington deli your tastebuds will already be salivating. Quality coffee will be on hand to keep your energy levels high.

Complementing our handpicked selection of books will be a mouthwatering litographsselection of literary gifts. Litographs creates art from the books you’ve read and loved. Be sure to pop by to their stall and fall in love…

There will be a dedicated activity area where we will host the always popular free VSI Soap Box talks – this year you can learn about a cornucopia of subjects from Ancient Greece to The Ice Age.

A new venture, similar in style to the Soap Boxes, will be our booksellers talking about the book that they most love. Expect some passion!

chris-lloyd_2238834bThe one man force of learning, Christopher Lloyd, will be back to talk us through his series of Wallbooks, including the new Wallbook on Shakespeare. Illuminating for children and parents alike. Christopher will be ensconced in the Marquee from Thursday 27th through until the last day, Sunday 30th.

Three evening gigs from The Bookshop Band, nook demonstrations, a special one-off Stories Aloud (we can now confirm that the authors appearing as part of Stories Aloud are Phil Klay and Emma Jane Unsworth)  and Robert Lipscombe, author of the incredible newspaper-novel The English Project will add dash, flavour and enjoyment to the evenings.

Story Time
Join Blackwell’s very own Jackie at 11am on the first weekend for storytelling sessions for younger children.

Danyah MillerAt 1.15pm on Saturday 22nd we welcome Danyah Miller brought to the Marquee by the frabjous Story Museum (who, as an aside, launch on April 5th with what looks to be an amazing exhibition). Danyah Miller is a storyteller, workshop leader, writer, theatre producer and mum. She shares stories in nurseries, schools, theatres and festivals nationally. She is also a visiting teacher at The International School of Storytelling in East Sussex.

Danyah is currently performing in “I Believe in Unicorns” by Michael Morpurgo – which she brings to the Story Museum on 27th & 28th May “Breathtakingly beautiful and utterly charming… a must see at this year’s fringe” –
Primary Times Edinburgh

For 3 years Danyah was a the regular storyteller on BBC Three Counties Radio. Her first book ‘Kika’s Birthday” was published in December 2012

0552572047Children’s author Conrad Mason will be talking about his exciting adventure series Tales of Fayt on Monday 24th at 11am
Conrad grew up in Oxfordshire and studied Classics at Cambridge. His first novel for children, The Demon’s Watch, was published in 2012 with David Fickling books and nominated for a slew of prizes. The Demon’s Watch is a fast-paced fantasy adventure for children 9 to 11, featuring half-goblin boy Joseph Grubb. More information on Conrad can be found on his website

The Phoenix presents … Make your own comic book! Meet the experts from weekly comic The Phoenix and get started on your own comic adventure. Tuesday March 25th at 11am and 3pm

At 11am on Wednesday 26th we invite you to go on an adventure with Charlie Small! Travel to the Mummy’s Tomb, wrestle crocodiles and visit the city of gorillas. Not for the faint-hearted!

Chrissie’s Owls are a small group of people committed to the care and conservation of Owls. Come and meet some of these gorgeous birds and hear about the work of this amazing organisation on Saturday 22nd & Sunday 23rd from 2pm

Guy Watson and Sophie Grigson
Jacobs and Field bring you Guy Watson and Sophie Grigson. Guy Watson is the man behind Riverford Farm, his ethos being to put fresh, flavoursome, seasonal food back onto people’s plates. Sophie Grigson has written over 20 cookery books and appeared in numerous television programmes, and she is a keen supporter of organic produce and local food suppliers. Join Guy and Sophie on Saturday 22nd at 6pm

nookpressExperts from Nook will be on hand to demonstrate not only their award winning tablets and ereaders but also how prospective authors can conquer the world of self publishing. Special demonstrations about the newly launched self-publishing platform Nook Press, including talks on “Introduction to Self-Publishing with Nook,” which is billed as “a free, fun and informative interactive session for authors” Presentations take place on Monday 24th at 3pm and Wednesday 26th at 3pm & 6.30pm

Author Signings by some Sheldonian authors
We are delighted to be hosting the following author signings here in the marquee – these signings follow their talks taking place at the Sheldonian Theatre. You are very welcome to join the signing queue even if you have not attended the event
Thursday 27th March at 3pmJeremy Paxman
Saturday 29th March at 1.15pmAC Grayling
Saturday 29th March at 3pmMalorie Blackman
Sunday 30th March at 1.15pm Michael Morpurgo

Robert Lipscombe
englishprojectRobert Lipscombe is the author of the incredible newspaper-novel ‘The English Project’ – a courageous and attention-grabbing political novel about the state of the nation and our moral universe. Expect a mischievous and provocative evening, as the author explains both what lies beneath the novel and why he chose to publish it in this original format. Thursday 27th March at 6.30pm
empathyHow to Start an Empathy Revolution – Roman Krznaric
Drawing on his new book, Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution, cultural thinker and School of Life faculty member Roman Krznaric makes the case that empathy is a radical tool for social change. Should we be using babies to teach empathy in the classroom? Ever been to an Empathy Library? And is it time to invent the world’s first Empathy Museum? Come and step into someone else’s shoes in this talk by the bestselling author of The Wonderbox and How to Find Fulfilling Work. Friday 28th March at 6.30pm

On two evenings we will be keeping the Marquee open until 10pm – Thursday 27th and Friday 28th. The Oxford Jazz Trio will serenade you with a mix of jazz standards from the American songbook as well as some funkier numbers from 8pm on the Friday

For reminders and updates follow #FREEintheMarquee on Twitter

We hope that you agree that our Marquee is shaping up to be the hub of the Festival, it is open to all whether you have tickets for Festival events or not. Do come and play!

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