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The Victoria Whitworth Lecture

Victoria Whitworth was the original owner of The Red Lion Bookshop in Burford. When she retired she was committed to keeping a bookshop on the High Street and so she kept the leasehold for the premises and supported new bookshop keepers on their journey through 122 High Street.

When I was handed the bookshop reins by previous owner Sara Hall in February 2020 the pandemic ensured times got tough and extremely quickly. Victoria was incredibly supportive and that support ensured our survival for what was the worst time on our High Streets. Showing once again her determination to keep an indie bookshop alive and well in Burford.

We are delighted to honour that determination with the inaugural Victoria Whitworth Lecture at Burford Lit Fest 2022 and thrilled that award winning author and poet Fiona Sampson has agreed to deliver this years lecture which will focus on Women In Literature.

Fiona Sampson has been published in thirty-seven languages and received many awards including two major European prizes: the Naim Frasheri Laureateship 2019 and the European Lyric Atlas Prize 2020.

She received an MBE for services to literature in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours, 2017. Sampson is a Fellow and former Council Member of the Royal Society of Literature, a Fellow of the English Association, the Higher Education Association and the Wordsworth Trust, and the Patron of the Anglo-Russian Cultural Institute and of Living Words. Her publications include twenty-nine volumes of poetry, literary non-fiction and criticism;

A prolific broadcaster and critic, Fiona Sampson has held a number of international writing fellowships, and serves regularly on international juries. Earlier, she pioneered writing in heath care in the UK, and directed an international poetry festival in Wales for five years before becoming Director of the Stephen Spender Memorial Trust for literary translation.

Tickets £5 are available now at

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