The Oxford Literary Festivals’ 25th anniversary celebrations continue in style this month with four incredible author events being held at The Sheldonian.

The likes of Ian McEwan, Celia Imrie, Deborah Meaden and Lord Patten will be discussing a series of exciting new books in the historic Oxford concert hall on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 September.

  1. First up is famous Olivier award-winning actress and bestselling novelist Celia Imrie on Friday September 16 at 2pm, discussing her latest work, Orphans of the Storm, and her life on stage and screen. She will be joined by friend and fellow actress and writer Fidelis Morgan, who did the research for the novel.
Celia Imrie (c) Chris Floyd

Best known for her roles in the films The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Calendar Girls, Nanny McPhee, Bridget Jones’s Baby, Absolutely Fabulous and Mamma Miashe also wrote the bestselling novels Not Quite Nice and Nice Work (If You Can Get It) as well as her autobiography, The Happy Hoofer.

The saga Orphans of the Storm is Imrie’s fifth novel and based around two women on board the Titanic whose paths cross, and nothing will be the same again. BOOK HERE:

2) Later that day The last British Governor of Hong Kong and former Tory party chairman Lord Chris Patten talks about the five years he spent in the colony, its handing over to the Chinese, and subsequent events. He also reflects on the current state of UK and world affairs and on the Conservative party.

Patten is of course also Chancellor of Oxford University and was MP for Bath between 1979 and 1992, serving in the cabinets of both Margaret Thatcher and John Major. He was Governor of Hong Kong between 1992 and 1997 and European Commissioner for External Relations from 1999 until 2004. 

He will talk to Oxford’s Professor Rana Mitter, author of China’s Good War: How World War II Is Shaping a New Nationalism at 4pm on Friday September 16. BOOK HERE:

Deborah Meaden with horses credit Charles Glover Image

3) At 6pm chief executive of Compassion in World Farming Philip Lymbery launches his new book Sixty Harvests Left: How to Reach a Nature-Friendly Future and discusses the issues raised with businesswoman, BBC Dragons Den investor and environmental campaigner Deborah Meaden.

Sixty Harvests Left: How to Reach a Nature-Friendly Future focuses on how humankind and nature can survive the 21st century together and challenges us to think about what we buy, eat and its impact on climate change. Lymbery also looks at pioneers bringing the soil back to life and helping wildlife, farm animals and people to thrive whilst protecting the soil.

Philip Lymbery

Meaden is a successful businesswoman, investor and environmental campaigner best known for her role as a TV Dragon and for her new environmental podcast The big Green Money Show. She is also passionate about environmental causes as a fellow of WWF, patron of Tusk Trust and Compassion in World Farming, and an ambassador for the Marine Conservation Society. BOOK HERE:

On Saturday, the Booker Prizewinning novelist Ian McEwan will speak in public for the first time about his acclaimed new novel  – Lessons – in conversation with the literary critic, Boyd Tonkin.

Ian-McEwan-Bodley-Medal 2014

Lessons is the story of one man’s life across generations and across historic upheavals – from the Suez Crisis to the recent pandemic which raises questions about how global events shape our lives and memories and what can we learn from the traumas of the past.

The bestselling author of 17 novels including The Child in Time, winner of the Whitbread Novel of the Year, Amsterdam, winner of the Booker Prize, five adapted for cinema: Atonement, Enduring Love, The Children Act, On Chesil Beach and The Comfort of Strangers, and has been nominated for the Booker Prize six times.

Sheldonian Theatre. Picture by Ed Nix

He talks to writer and critic Boyd Tonkin of the Financial Times, the Economist and Spectator, and special adviser to the Man Booker International Prize. BOOK HERE:

Book any of these four incredible events taking place on September 16-17 at The Sheldonian at