Every year we hold a series of “soap box” talks for the Very Short Introductions at the Oxford Literary Festival. It’s like Speakers’ Corner; authors from the series get on their soap box and talk for 10 minutes about their subject, hopefully attracting a small crowd and a few questions afterwards (and some book sales!). We’ve got 12 different VSI authors at the festival this year, and today I thought I’d bring you some photos.
The OLF has taken place at Christ Church for the last few years. What an amazing place to hold a literary festival! This photo is of Tom Tower, and is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Oxford.
The Festival Book Tent, where all the soap box talks take place is in a marquee in the College grounds. To get there, you have to walk through the Memorial Gardens. This is a view of the College buildings from the Gardens.
Once inside the Tent, there are plenty of Very Short Introductions on display – just what we like to see! Those covers look fantastic all sitting together, don’t they?
And this is the VSI soap box alongside our banner! It was made specially for us by our Head of Publicity’s partner, and has seen several years’ service at the OLF.
Lastly, meet David J. Hand. He kicked off our 2009 soap box talks with his Very Short Introduction to Statistics. A healthy-sized crowd quickly gathered round, and asked lots of fantastic questions about everything from statistics and the credit crisis, to census data, and one lady even asked where he got his coat!
So far this year we have also had talks from Nigel Warburton on Free Speech, William Bynum on The History of Medicine, Ritchie Robertson on Kafka, and Russell Stannard on Relativity. Coming over the rest of the week are Mark Maslin on Global Warming, David Cottington on Modern Art, Véronique Mottier on Sexuality, Elleke Boehmer on Nelson Mandela, Klaus Dodds on Geopolitics, Richard Bellamy on Citizenship, and Rana Mitter on Modern China. If you’re in Oxford, please do pop along. All soap box talks are free.