We were delighted when Paul Cann asked if his book group could in some way be involved in the Festival. The Hook Norton Blokes’ Book Club has been meeting in the village’s Pear Tree pub since 2013 and has read over 70 books, from Trollope’s The Warden to Anna Burns’ Milkman. “We're a very simple lot really,” says Paul of its 12-15 members. “The lure of beer can be even greater than the intellectual magnetism of the occasion, but we usually manage a good hour of focused discussion before branching out into other topics.”

Paul Cann has run the Hook Norton Blokes’ Book Club. A former CEO of Age UK Oxfordshire, he co-founded the Campaign to End Loneliness and received an OBE in 2019 for services to helping combat loneliness in old age.

Alasdair Brown is a career teacher, prison educator, and communicator and has been described as a leading light in the literary and intellectual life of Hook Norton.