Opera star Jessye to lift lid on her life at literary festival

Opera singer Jessye Norman

Opera singer Jessye Norman

First published in News

SINGERS and scientists feature in an impressive line-up of speakers announced for the 2014 Blenheim Literary Festival.

The American Grammy award-winning contemporary opera singer Jessye Norman will be talking about her life at the Woodstock festival, which runs from September 25 to 28.

The 68-year-old is expected to talk about her life growing up in Georgia, singing at presidential inaugurations and setting up a tuition-free performing arts after-school program for economically disadvantaged students.

Oxford Mail:

Celebrated director, actor, author, television presenter and humorist, Jonathan Miller, above, will be the speaker at the festival’s dinner.

The world of rock will be represented by Steve Hogarth, of the British band Marillion, who will be performing and talking about his diaries.

The festival brings hundreds of visitors to Woodstock every September, with few book festivals able to rival the setting of the palace.

Our sister paper, The Oxford Times, is again acting as media partner.

The Oxford scientist, Richard Dawkins, often dubbed the world’s best known atheist, will be talking about his early life, featured in his memoir An Appetite For Wonder: The Making of a Scientist.

The celebrated evolutionary biologist will also choose some of his favourite music, to be played by the Orchestra of St John.

The television scientist Alice Roberts, presenter of the BBC science series The Incredible Human Journey and Origins of Us, will be speaking about her book The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being.

The great political issue of the day will also figure prominently this year.

The former Tory Cabinet Minister Liam Fox will discuss Putin and Russia, while the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey will speak on moral dilemmas, including the issue that recently put him in the headlines, assisted death.

Oxford Mail:

Festival director Sally Dunsmore, above, said: “Our aim is to offer festival-goers just that little bit more than the average festival. So, we have the poet Jeremy Robson talking about his poems with readings by Maureen Lipman and song by Jacqui Dankworth.

“We have some innovative performances of Shakespeare, and people will even be able to buy jewellery from the Alex Monroe collection.’’ Tickets can be purchased online at blenheimpalaceliteraryfestival.com or from the box office at The Feathers hotel, Woodstock.

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