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Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

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BBC Four to partner Oxford Literary Festival 2010

Richard Klein, the Controller of BBC Four, today announced the third year of BBC Four's broadcast media partnership with the Oxford Literary Festival.

The partnership enables festival goers to sample some of the forthcoming literary programming on offer from BBC Four, with added insight from presenters and consultants on the programmes.

Owen Sheers, Andrew Graham-Dixon, Andrew Martin and Vic Gatrell will all be talking about forthcoming BBC Four programmes, Richard E Grant will be revisiting his recent programme on diaries, while Sebastian Faulks will offer an exclusive insight to a major new literary series for BBC Two.

Running from 20 to 28 March 2010, this prestigious literary event takes place in Oxford University's Christ Church and Corpus Christi College, with more than 300 events on offer, featuring over 400 of the top writers, academics and public figures from the literary world.

Richard Klein says: "Stories are what writing is all about – plots, characters, drama, dialogue – it is what makes up the bluster and storm of a great read.

"BBC Four is dedicated to offering viewers programmes of distinction for people who love to think – and what better way than to engage them in the great drama of writing, books and stories than with stories about how the sea has been captured in words, to fathers in literature, to the fruit and pith of vulgarity in writings, to the spicy detail of personal diaries? It is all here for people to enjoy.

"We're delighted to partner with the Oxford Literary Festival again this year as we feel that we share very similar ambitions for intelligent, witty and in-depth discussion about a subject we both feel passionately about."

Graham Benson, the festival's film and television executive consultant, said: "I was an apprentice in the BBC's brilliant TV drama department during the late 1960s and 70s so am delighted to be involved with them on this fantastic enterprise...

"Richard Klein is spot on when he describes it as a perfect marriage."

BBC programmes and presenters at the Oxford Literary Festival are as follows:

Art Of The Sea: In Words – Owen Sheers

Majestic, dramatic, and sometimes terrifying, the sea has had an enduring fascination for British writers. From Shakespeare to Coleridge and Tennyson, Stevenson to Conrad, it has inspired some of our most gifted authors. In BBC Four's Art Of The Sea: In Words, poet and author Owen Sheers sets off to discover whether there is anything that unites the great British sea stories. In the company of both seafarers and sea writers, he explores the transformative effect that the sea has had on the human mind.

Disappearing Dad – Andrew Martin

The world of literature reserves a special fate for fathers: they are either missing or marginalised, or regarded as an embarrassment. In a new programme coming soon to BBC Four, novelist and father Andrew Martin, takes us on a journey through three centuries of literary fatherhood from Jane Austen to Nick Hornby, while also looking at how real-life relationships between writers and their fathers have influenced fiction and non-fiction alike.

Rude Britannia – Vic Gatrell

Despite some of the illusions we have of ourselves the British are not, and have never been, a polite people. Some of our greatest writers and artists have mixed high art with a good measure of filth and red-blooded rudeness. BBC Four turns vulgar as it explores over three centuries of all manner of satirical, bawdy and lewd behaviour in its three-part series Rude Britannia. At the festival series consultant, and author of the acclaimed book City Of Laughter, Professor Vic Gatrell will be looking at the early history of Rude Britannia during the 18th century. This was a time when distinctions between high and low art were blurred – when you could find bawdy ballads sung on the streets, but find farts and sexual excess in poetry and prints.

The Man Who Ate Everything – Andrew Graham-Dixon

Andrew Graham-Dixon presents his affectionate BBC Four portrait of the late and indisputably great Alan Davidson, one of the world's most influential writers and thinkers on food, together with an exploration of Davidson's magnum opus, The Oxford Companion To Food. This programme forms part of a forthcoming BBC Four season on food. With contributions from many of Davidson's friends and collaborators, such as Paul Levy and Raymond Blanc, the film charts a journey through Davidson's life and work that takes Andrew from Davidson's roots in England to his exotic flowering as a student of arcane fish cuisine on the banks of the great Mekong River in Laos…

Diaries – Richard E Grant

Why write a diary? Why read one? BBC Four's Dear Diary sees Richard E Grant, a diarist since childhood, go in search of answers to those questions and discovers the power of the diary. This programme transmitted earlier this year, but is an opportunity to hear from Richard as he uncovers a sinister truth behind playwright Joe Orton's diaries, meets Erwin James, a prison diarist, to understand the power of writing for a serving offender and talks to Sheila Hancock about Kenneth Williams' diary, in which she appeared – at times to savage criticism.

Faulks on Fiction – Sebastian Faulks

In 2010 the BBC will be celebrating the brilliance of the British novel with a major four-part documentary series written and presented by novelist Sebastian Faulks. The BBC Two series will look at the history of the novel through its characters – each episode focusing on a different archetype and looking at how they have developed over the centuries: Heroes, Lovers, Snobs and Villains. Journeying around the country, with the occasional foray abroad, Sebastian will use his unique personal knowledge of characterisation to get under the skin of some familiar and not-so-familiar characters in British literature.

In addition, The Review Show on BBC Two will feature some of the highlights of the Oxford Literary festival in its weekly cultural round-up on 19 March.

Sally Dunsmore, Director of The Oxford Literary Festival, said: "The essential purposes of the festival are to bring literature closer to people; to make the connection between author and reader more direct; and to foster increased accessibility to, and enjoyment of, literature for the widest number of people.

"This significant partnership with BBC Four is a vital step forward in achieving these aims."

Notes to Editors

The BBC partners organisations with shared objectives and inspiration to make arts and culture available for all audiences.

Other current partnerships include the UK Public Library Sector, the National Theatre, the Royal Opera House, the Scottish Arts Council and the Manchester International Festival, The Arts Council and the Public Catalogue Foundation.

The Oxford Literary Festival is a charity, registered number 1128820.


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