2023 AGM: ‘Sisterhood’


FRIDAY 1st September: Optional pre-conference events

3:00 pm onwards:  Welcome to St Hilda’s. Registration will be available in the foyer of South Building, along with an exhibition of photos and memorabilia from the Pym sisters’ lives together.

4:00 pm: A literary and historical walk around Christ Church Meadow, led by Mark Davies (weather permitting). Meet at the Lodge.
No charge but advance booking is required.

      5.30 pm: Committee meeting (Canada Room); Committee members and committee-elect only

6:00 pm: Welcome meeting for new delegates. Those who have not attended a conference previously can meet the Friendship Host and have a look around St Hilda’s. Meet in South Building foyer.

7:00 pm:  Two-course buffet dinner in the Dining Hall, £30 per person
followed by our annual pre-conference quiz and drinks, this year hosted by Lorraine and Ros

SATURDAY 2nd September

10:00 am:  Coffee and registration in the foyer of the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building

10:30 am:  Annual General Meeting of the Barbara Pym Society (for Society members only)

11:30 am:  Conference begins: Opening remarks by the new Chair

11:40 am:  Sisters: Rivals or Best Friends? From Jane and Cassandra to Barbara and Hilary – Jutta Schiller

12:30 pm:  Special guest speaker

1:00 pm:  Lunch in the Dining Hall, £25 per person

2:00 pm:  Hilary’s Life, Barbara’s Books: Discoveries from the Bodleian Archive – Devon Allison

2:50 pm:  A BBC Woman: Hilary’s Excellent Career – Dr Kate Murphy

3:40 pm:  Some Tame Gazelle: Creating Harriet/Hilary at the BBC – Elizabeth Proud and Sioned Wiliam

4:30 pm:  Afternoon tea

      4:45 – 6:45 pm: Free time

6:45 pm:  Drinks reception followed by
7:15 pm: The Annual Banquet in the Dining Hall, £50 per person
followed by the annual BPS charity Pymbola, hosted by The Fabulous Paul Howard

SUNDAY 3rd September

10:15 am:  Coffee in the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building

10:45 am:  Remembering Hilary – Dr Kathy Ackley

11:30 am:  Bringing Barbara Pym’s Novels to Film – Special guest speakers

1:00 pm:  Sunday lunch in the Dining Hall, £30 per person

2:30 pm: ‘Sisters’: Dramatised readings from Pym’s work, devised by Yvonne Cocking

3:30 pm:  Tea and biscuits; conference adjourns.
Those who are not leaving immediately will have the opportunity to chat with the Committee and other members and compare notes on the conference.

Optional events for those staying over Sunday evening:

6:05 pm:  Choral evensong at Christ Church Cathedral

7:30 pm:  Meet for dinner at a local restaurant (à la carte, location will be announced)

Activities in Oxford

A Barbara Pym Walk Through Oxford. This self-guided walking tour of Oxford highlights places associated with Pym and her friends, but also points out many other sites of historical and literary interest. It starts and ends at St Hilda’s and takes approximately one hour.

City Sightseeing Oxford offers hop on, hop off bus tours with 20 stops throughout the city. The bus stops at The Plain (the roundabout at the end of Cowley Place) by Sainsburys.

The Bodleian Library. The Weston Library galleries on Broad Street are open from 10:00 to 17:00 Monday-Saturday and 11:00 to 16:00 on Sunday; current free exhibitions include ‘Gifts and Books’. Guided tours of the 15th-century Divinity School and Duke Humfrey’s medieval library are also available.

Oxford Botanic Gardens. Britain’s oldest botanic garden (founded 1621), where Francis Cleveland and Barbara Bird in Crampton Hodnet hid in the bushes to avoid Michael and Gabriel, and where Julian Amery stole a spray of orchids for Barbara in 1938, is just across Magdalen Bridge from St Hilda’s. Open every day, 10:00 to 17:00; adults £6.30, concessions £5, under 16 free.

Ashmolean Museum

Pitt Rivers Museum and Museum of Natural History

Blenheim Palace and Gardens (30 min. from the city centre by bus)

Christ Church Picture Gallery

Museum of Oxford

History of Science Museum

Modern Art Oxford

Oxford Castle and Prison

More information on places to go, things to do, and where to stay is available at
Oxford City Visitor Information and Experience Oxfordshire.