Virtual Literary Festival Day

The year 2020 was to have been St Hilda's 11th as the only college curating its own day of sessions at the Oxford Literary Festival. As ever, we had an outstanding line-up of authors. Like many events, the Festival has been postponed due to COVID-19. You can hear from some our speakers and get a taste of the following sessions, while we hope to rearrange in full for a later date.

Dressed for War: The Story of Audrey Withers, Vogue Editor
with Julie Summers (St Hilda’s Royal Literary Fund Fellow 2019/20), introduced by Marion Hume

Researcher, historian and author of Dressed for War: The story of Audrey Withers, Vogue Editor extraordinare from the Blitz to the Swinging Sixties, Julie Summers, responds to Marion Hume, with the following films, revealing what Audrey would have done in circumstances now bizarrely similar to those we are facing today.

  1. Marion Hume introduces Julie Summers,
  2. Dressed for War: Introduction to Channelling Miss Withers 
  3. Dressed for War: What would Audrey wear now?
  4. Dressed for War: Disappointment and how Audrey coped with the unexpected 
  5. Dressed for War Self isolation and loneliness 
  6. Dressed for War The importance of distant friends
  7. Dressed for War - Audrey's War on Waste

Shakespeare and Marlowe: Rivals, Collaborators, or Aliases – an Early Modern Mystery
with Val McDermid (English, 1972) and Emma Smith

Val McDermid, crime writer and playwright, introduces Shakespeare and Marlowe: Rivals, Collaborators, or Aliases – an Early Modern Mystery. She discusses her forthcoming play And Midnight Never Come, commissioned by the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh. The play deals with the notoriously controversial circumstances of the death of Christopher Marlowe. Professor of Shakespeare studies at Hertford College, Oxford, and the author of This Is Shakespeare, Emma Smith responds to Val McDermid, considering what a fictional detective might make of the case.

On Chapel Sands
with Laura Cumming (English, 1979) interviewed by Claire Armitstead (English, 1977)

Claire Armitstead introduces the work of Laura Cumming, the award-winning writer and art critic. On Chapel Sands, follows the author's pursuit of the truth about her mother’s mysterious disappearance as a small child. Cumming’s mother, who grew up to be an artist, was kidnapped from a Lincolnshire beach in 1929 and found five days later in a local village. She remembered nothing of the events and only learned of them 50 years later. On Chapel Sands was longlisted for this year's Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, rewarding fiction, non-fiction or poetry which best evokes the spirit of a place.

In the Shadow of Vesuvius: A Life of Pliny
with Daisy Dunn (Classics, 2005) and Nicolette Jones (English, 1978)

Classicist Daisy Dunn celebrates the lives of Pliny the Younger and Pliny the Elder – two outstanding minds of the Roman empire who had lasting influences on the world - with In the Shadow of Vesuvius: A Life of Pliny. Pliny the Younger watched as his uncle and guardian Pliny the Elder sailed towards the erupting Vesuvius. Pliny the Elder never came back but Pliny the Younger went on to become a Roman senator, lawyer, poet, representative of the emperor and chronicler of the Vesuvius disaster. Author and critic Nicolette Jones introduces Daisy Dunn and her talk on 'The Plinys and the Eruption of 79AD'.




On Chapel Sands by Laura CummingEmma Smith at St Hilda's Virtual Literary FestivalVal McDermid at St Hilda's Virtual Literary FestivalJulie Summers at St Hilda's Virtual Literary Festival