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Details of future talks will be shown on the Home page.

Thursday Talks are part of the Friends' fund-raising activities.

Entry to the Library is free: donations to the work of The Friends are encouraged.

As supporters of the fund-raising work of the Friends, our speakers generously contribute to

our work by donating their services free of charge.

Please arrive promptly to be  assured of a seat.
Entry free: donations of £10 at the door will support the continuing work of the Friends.

  To add your name to The Friends' mailing list, email your request to


Thursday 2nd March


Former Reuters correspondent who reported from behind the Iron Curtain in the Cold War. He is the author of books on Germany, Eastern Europe and freedom.He is also Chairman of the Friends of Summertown Library.

"Russia's Disaster" 

Thursday 28th January


Schoolmaster, businessman, parliamentary candidate and multiple sports medal winner

"Lucky Hitler's Big Mistakes" 

Thursday 6th December


A diplomatic wife 

"Endangered Species: Diplomacy from the Passenger Seat"

Thursday 17th November


Who was Professor of International Relations 

"The Butcher, The Tailor, The Picture-Frame Maker - Stories of Middle Way"

Thursday 27th October


Author and Journalist talked about 

"Licoricia of Winchester - Power and Prejudice in Medieval England"

Wednesday 6th June


Historian and lecturer talked about 

"882 A.D. - the Origin of Putin's Ukrainian War?"

Thursday 4th November on Zoom


former Reuters correspondent and author talked about 

"Half a Century in Tuscany"

Thursday 13th May on Zoom


expedition leader for 'Ice Maiden' talked about 

"Expedition Ice Maiden: The First All-Female Team to cross Antarctica"

Thursday 15th April on Zoom


a career Diplomat talked about

"The House of Lords: Past, Present and...Future?"

Thursday 18th March on Zoom


Emeritus Professor of English Law  talked about

"UK - EU Relations post-Brexit"

Thursday 18th February on Zoom


World-reknowned geneticist and cell-biologist talked about

"What is Life?"

Thursday 14th January on Zoom


 Oxford Emeritus Professor of Politics, and advisor on the Soviet Union to Margaret Thatcher  talked about "Gorbachev, Reagan, and Thatcher, and the End of the Cold War" 

Thursday 10th December 2020 on Zoom


A features writer for The Spectator and The Telegraph. talked about "Bletchley Park - A Hothouse of Talents. What happened to those Codebreakers after the War?"

Thursday 13th February 2020


An Emeritus Professor of Pure Mathematics at the Open University who has received many awards and prizes for the popularization and communication of mathematics and its history.

"Sir Isaac Newton - his life, labours and legacy"

Thursday 23rd January 2020


An award-winning museum curator, writer and historian of time, cities, technology and engineering. As well as collaborating on museum exhibitions and displays, he has written books on timekeeping, mathematics and urban planning, and is currently writing a history of clocks and civilization.

"The History of Time"


Thursday 5th December 2019


Following his arrival in England in 1968, Peter established a highly successful career in London as a neuroscientist, specialising in diseases of the nervous system. A Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and a Trustee of Alzheimer's Research UK he took up writing on his retirement.

"Parallel Lines" - a childhood journey to Belsen and life thereafter

Thursday 14th November 2019


holds a number of senior academic posts and his main interests are in the fields of international security, international organizations, and international law  He has also worked extensively on the role of civil resistance against dictatorial regimes and foreign rule.

Civil Resistance - from Prague to Hong Kong

Thursday 17th October 2019


an award-winning author, teacher and literary journalist

'The Jewish Journey' - told through 22 Objects from the Ashmolean Museum

Thursday 16th May,

MARCUS FERRAR - Marcus Ferrar is a former Reuters correspondent and author of books about Germany, Eastern Europe and freedom.
He is Chairman of Friends of Summertown Library.

​ Dresden: the destruction and renewal of a European jewel

Thursday 4th April,

HENRY MACRORY - Deputy and acting editor of The Sunday Express, political correspondent, and responsible for  political communications in Downing Street under the Coalition Government

Ultimate Folly - The Rises and Falls of Whitaker Wright, Britain's most shameless swindler (and builder of the world's strangest folly!)

Thursday, 7th March

ALASTAIR LACK  - After 26 years making TV and radio programmes for the BBC, mainly with the World Service, Alastair now works freelance in Oxford in journalism, tutoring and Oxford City guiding

Travels with Auntie - my Life with the BBC World Service

​Thursday 14th February

BART VAN ES -Professor of English Literature at Oxford University and author

A Childhood in Hiding

Thursday 13 December 2018,

Sophie Hackford - Oxford based futurist and business builder

"Artificial Intelligence (‘AI’): Our Last Invention?"

Thursday 15 November 2018

Dr Rebecca Bowler, Oxford astronomer

The Universe: the First Billion Years 

Thursday 11 October 2018

Deborah Gill, Professor of Gene Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital

What's new in gene medicine and gene therapy?


Thursday 17 May 2018

Professor Anand Menon
'Brexit - where have we got to, and where are we heading?'


Thursday 12 April 2018

John Kay

'Economics: not dismal, and probably not a science'

Thursday 15 March 2018

Douglas Carswell

'Britain: a democracy or an oligarchy?'

15 February 2018

Professor Carolyn Steedman

'Poetry for Historians: or, W.H. Auden and History'


23 November 2017

Colin Tudge  

'Building  a New Future for Food and Farming'

19 October 2017

Professor Dame Marina Warner 

'Sanctuary: Can Stories give Shelter?'

 15 June 2017

Professor Margaret MacMillan: 'The Meaning of the First World War' 

4 May 2017

Professor Rana Mitter: 'China: Yesterday and Today'


16 March 2017

Sir Adam Roberts: 'In the Age of Brexit and Trump: a new

   international order?

2 February 2017 

Sir Muir Gray: ‘Beyond the NHS: knowing our way to good health’


17 November 2016

Dr Taj Hargey: ‘A House Divided: Rifts in Contemporary Islam’

13 October 2016

Sue Jones: 'Who loves Greece today?’​

2 September 2016

Professor Archie Brown: ‘What’s so great about strong leaders?’

9 June 2016

Dr. Sudhir Hazareesingh: ‘Thinking about the World, French-style’

28 April 2016

Professor Eugene Rogan: ‘The Making and Unmaking

    of the Modern Middle East’

24 March 2016

Lord Blair (Sir ​Ian Blair) : ‘The House of Lords:

    continuity, abolition or reform?’


3 December 2015

Richard Davy: ‘Putin – What drives him?'





 South Parade, Summertown, Oxford OX2 7JN        Registered Charity No. 1147612

             Honorary President: Sir Adam Roberts, KCMG, FBA                             

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