University of Worcester Scholars Take Part in National Literary Festival

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Two scholars from the University of Worcester are taking part in the annual Blenheim Palace Literary Festival at Woodstock this week.

Professor Jean Webb will interview award-winning children’s writer and poet Kevin Crossley-Holland, as part of the Festival’s schools programme. Meanwhile, Dr Claire Cochrane will chair a discussion between leading Shakespeare scholar Professor Jonathan Bate and Renaissance expert Dr Dora Thornton, as part of the public programme.

Kevin Crossley-Holland, author of the Arthur trilogy and a series of Viking sagas, will discuss his work with children’s literature expert Professor Webb for pupils of Woodstock’s Marlborough School. Mr Crossley-Holland’s Arthur trilogy has been translated into 23 languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. The second of his Viking sagas, Scramasax, is published on the eve of the festival. He is also President of the School Library Association.

Professor Webb is Director of the University of Worcester’s International Forum for Research in Children’s Literature. She has lectured nationally and internationally and published widely on children’s literature.

The festival, formerly known as the Woodstock Literary Festival, runs from September 12th – 16th and features some of the world’s top literary experts.

On Saturday, September 15th, Dr Claire Cochrane, Senior Lecturer in Drama at the University of Worcester, will lead a debate between Professor Jonathan Bate and Dr Dora Thornton, who have joined forces to produce a book, providing a unique insight into the lives of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Shakespeare: Staging the World, published to coincide with a major new exhibition at the British Museum, links historical objects and works of art with Shakespeare’s plays to show how the playwright informed his audience of major events and issues of the day.

Professor Bate is Provost of Worcester College, Oxford and an internationally acclaimed author whose books include Soul of Age: The Life, Mind and Works of William Shakespeare. Dr Thornton is curator of Renaissance Europe at the British Museum.

Much of Dr Cochrane’s teaching and research has focused on Shakespeare. Her most recent book is Twentieth Century British Theatre Industry Art and Empire.

For more information about the Festival visit