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Times Literary Festival Closes With Melvyn Bragg, Madhur Jaffrey, Jonathan Powell and Adam Boulton

8th April 2011

As the country’s literati pack their bags in Oxford this weekend, a handful of Speakers Corner’s elite – including Melvyn Bragg, Madhur Jaffrey, Jonathan Powell and Adam Boulton – take the stage with inspirational and entertaining presentations at the closing weekend of the Times Oxford Literary Festival.

Melvyn Bragg dons his judging hat as he reads hundreds of short stories. After weeks of deliberation and just hours before the winner of The Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award 2011 receives their £30,000 prize, the judges of this prestigious prize reveal the background of how they came to their conclusions.

AS Byatt, Melvyn Bragg, Daisy Waugh and Andrew Holgate discuss the range of stories read, the pleasures and irritations of judging and the future for short fiction as reading devices flourish and the way we communicate changes rapidly.

Jonathan Powellargues that Niccolo Machiavelli is misunderstood, in his 21st-century reworking of the Italian philosopher’s influential masterpiece, The Prince.

Jonathan looks back at his own time as Tony Blair’s Chief of Staff from 1994 to 2007. Drawing from his unpublished diaries, he tackles the critics of Blair’s sofa government and gives a frank account of the intimate details of the internal political rows, including the failure to join the Euro or hold a
referendum on the European constitution.

He provides a gripping account of life inside ‘the bunker’ of Number 10 and draws lessons from those experiences, not just for political leaders but for anyone today who has access to the levers of

Madhur Jaffrey discusses the power of food writers, specifically to bring nonindigenous cuisines into the mainstream. Film star, TV presenter and writer- Madhur Jaffrey has many strings to her bow, but is best known as the world’s most popular writer on Indian cooking.

Adam Boulton is one of four distinguished speakers, and four books, revealing a new insight into the election, the negotiations and the future for British politics.

Nicholas Jones, former BBC political correspondent and author of Campaign 2010, examines the role of the media in Cameron’s eventual ascent to Number 10.

Rob Wilson, MP for Reading East, gives the first full account in 5 Days to Power of the negotiations that led to the political earthquake of a Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government.

Vernon Bogdanor, Professor of Government at Oxford University, in The Coalition and the Constitution suggests that the era of single-party majority government, to which we have become accustomed since 1945, is coming to an end, but asks if the British constitution is equipped to deal with coalition.

Adam Boulton, Sky News political editor and weekday lunchtime show host, and chair of one of the Leaders’ debates, unveils in Hung Together a complete picture of what really went on, a story that is  shrouded in rumour and secrecy.

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