In a move that may prove controversial with its literature fan subscribers, The Sunday Times has decided not to continue its nearly ten-year sponsorship of the Oxford Literary Festival.
After disagreements with its sister paper The Times over the coverage of last year’s Festival, The Sunday Times has pulled both its financial backing and its name from this year’s Oxford Literary Festival. The Festival takes place every March and is known for attracting novelists, poets, journalists, and academics from all corners of the globe.
The Times and The Sunday Times appear to have reconciled by agreeing to co-sponsor the Cheltenham Literary Festival, but the Oxford Festival has been left high and dry without a major newspaper sponsor until further notice. Fortunately for the local and international literary communities, the Oxford Literary Festival still retains over forty sponsors, including major corporate backers like Amazon, the Folio Society, and the Ashmoleon.
“It’s disappointing that such a distinguished newspaper, with a track record for producing consistently high quality cultural coverage, would place corporate interests above long-term values in promoting access to the arts,” said Will Humphries, a postgraduate English student. “The people who will suffer from this decision are not only the paper’s loyal readers, but the writers and academics for whom this institution is a valuable forum for their work.”
An undergraduate English student and former Times intern added, “I’d say this is typical of the paper, but this is really pretty shit.”
Despite this setback, the Oxford Literary Festival is still set to go ahead between the 22nd and 30th of March next year. Speakers will include philosopher A.C. Grayling and Alex Rider author Anthony Horowitz.