Note: The Festival has two programmes of talks that run in parallel: at the Vinson and Ondaatje Lecture Theatres. Festival-goers may choose talks from either programme.


Coffee is available in the Vinson Building from 09:00

Vinson Lecture Theatre Programme

Witches of the New World

MALCOLM GASKILL explores the tensions of a troubled society in the early days of the European settlement of America torn between a supernatural world and the age of Enlightenment.

The Siege of ‘Loyalty’ House

JESSIE CHILDS tells the story of the siege of Basing House, one of the most dramatic events of the Civil Wars.

Lunch 13:00-14:00

The Dissolution of the Monasteries

JAMES G. CLARK tells the dramatic story of Henry VIII’s brief but revolutionary war on religious houses, which transformed England forever.

Rome’s Richest Man

PETER STOTHARD looks at the remarkable life and tragic demise of the Roman tycoon, and the intertwining of money, ambition and political power.

Catherine’s Great Advance

LUCY WARD shows how, with the help of a Quaker doctor from Britain, Catherine the Great of Russia led one of the first successful vaccination campaigns.

Act of Oblivion

ROBERT HARRIS, the bestselling historical novelist, talks about his latest book, Act of Oblivion, a thrilling manhunt set during the Civil Wars.

Ondaatje Lecture Theatre, Radcliffe Centre, Programme

Energy, History and Conflict

HELEN THOMPSON reveals how much of the world’s curent crises originated in problems generated by fossil-fuel energies.

David Stirling and the SAS

GAVIN MORTIMER questions the many myths that grew up around the man who founded the Special Air Service during the Second World War.

Lunch 13:00-14:00

Oxford Between the Wars

DAISY DUNN revisits the Oxford idealised by Evelyn Waugh, with its cast of eccentric characters united by their love of the Classics.

An Empire at War

ROBERT LYMAN explains how the British Empire in Asia turned the agonising defeat of Singapore in 1942 into victory over Japan in 1945.

Napoleon the Gardener

RUTH SCURR offers a new perspective on the great French general, by examining his life-long love of horticulture.