About the Festival

Jeremy Mynott and Richard Mabey at the signing table during the inaugural Festival held at the Hoste Arms in 2009. The first festival was a resounding success, with AC Grayling, Kate Adie, Matt Rice and Jenny Agutter and Kitt Hesketh Harvey playing to full houses.


The next year, in view of the popularity of the event, we moved to the Garden Restaurant in the Hoste Arms to accommodate a larger audience. And indeed another glittering array of top speakers played to packed houses: Oxford Church Historian Diarmaid MacCulloch, former newspaper editor and now head of National Trust Simon Jenkins and novelist and indefatigable novelist Ben MacIntyre. Sir Richard Dannatt brought the festival to a close with, again, a full audience and long queues to sign his books. The 2011 festival followed with another array of excellent speakers and interviewers, including Dan Cruickshank,  Simon Heffer Norman Stone,  Mary Ann Sieghart and military historian and novelist Allan Mallinson.

We took a break in 2012 when major changes to the Hoste Arms were undertaken, including the transformation of the restaurant to a dedicated public lecture theatre with capacity for an audience of over 150.

So, onwards and upwards - although to preserve the intimacy and elegance of the event, which has proved so much a key to its success, we do not propose to make it bigger or extend it over anything longer than a long weekend.