Literature Festival 2015

In 2015, College reserved tickets for 24 major events, ensuring girls enjoyed access to the pick of the Festival with excellent seats, and a further 25 events were recommended by teaching staff across various departments. In the end we distributed over 300 tickets to girls.

Leading figures at the Festival included entrepreneur Martha Lane-Fox, author Salman Rushdie, author and artist Edmund de Waal, political adviser Steve Hilton, politician Nick Clegg, poet Simon Armitage, former US Secretary of State James Rubin, author Julian Barnes, and actor Antony Sher, among others. Over 80 Lower College girls also attended events as part of their weekend programme.

As part of our strategic education partnership, College sponsored four events:

‘The Gender Battles worth Fighting', discussing where women need to fight to make a difference, between performance poet Megan Beech, activist Caroline Criado-Perez and Times journalists Polly Vernon, Katie Glass and Eleanor Mills. Gigi Gilgallon-Scoular (SFC2) introduced the event and spent time with the speakers. College hosted coffee afterwards for parents and Guild members.

‘Navigating our 24/7 culture’ asked how best to utilise the internet and involved entrepreneurs and psychologists. Isabella Sheridan (SFC2) introduced this event and met the speakers beforehand.

‘Merkel and the future of Germany’ reviewed Angela Merkel’s ten years as Chancellor in Germany, with a focus on immigration, and a debate from a panel of senior politicians and advisers. The event was introduced by Amy Strain (SFC2) who met with them beforehand.

‘Theatre of War’ was an emotive reading of a Greek Tragedy from Sophocles by leading actors Jason Isaacs and Lesley Sharp, followed by reaction from current veterans. The Director used this play to enable veterans and those in the military to work through the trauma of war. The event was introduced by drama scholar Maddie Kenner (SFC1) who talked with the speakers.

We also hosted several major speakers into College for exclusive discussions with the girls. These included the writer and political journalist Lord Peter Hennessy, Deputy Editor of The Times Emma Tucker, the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend, Mark Mardell and the founder of Mind Candy/Moshi Monsters, Michael Acton-Smith.

Feedback from the girls was excellent:

“I got to see journalism from a different perspective” - UC5 girl on Emma Tucker

“I learned a lot about the extraordinary pressures the Prime Minister is put under and how hard decision-making can be” - SFC1 girl on Lord Peter Hennessy

Girls also met with the classist Mary Beard and writer (and Guild member) Catherine Hickley. Another Guild member speaking was children’s author Robin Stevens, who plans to return to College to talk to the girls.

For more information about Cheltenham Festivals, please visit