August 2015


Balliol back in Norrington Top 5


We are delighted that Balliol has risen to fourth place in this year's Norrington Table. This achievement reflects the fact that 43 out of our 106 finalists were awarded Firsts in their final examinations this year, while 53 received 2.1s. The Master, Drummond Bone, says: 'We are pleased with our Norrington table result and the number of Firsts we had in Final Honours Schools this year. We have been in the top ten in 3 out of the last 4 years which is maybe a more important indicator than a single year’s results, but we need to keep an eye for the future on the ways in which the richer Colleges support their teaching.’ Congratulations to all of our students.

AUDIO: Lord Patten reflects on his years at Balliol


The Rt Hon the Lord Patten of Barnes, CH, Chancellor of Oxford University and Balliol alumnus (1962), describes his long-standing links with Oxford and his high-profile political career in a wide-ranging podcast interview. The 15-minute interview includes recollections of his time at Balliol (including seeing the Rolling Stones perform at a College ball) and reflections on how reading Modern History prepared him for politics.


New Fellows of the British Academy

Professor Jane Stapleton (1980 and Emeritus Fellow, pictured) and Professor Alex Potts (1965) have been elected Fellows of the British Academy. The British Academy supports and speaks for the humanities and social sciences, and seeks to increase public understanding of how all these subjects contribute to our economic, social, cultural and individual well-being. The Academy operates as a Fellowship of over 1,000 of the world's most eminent scholars in the humanities and social sciences, elected for their outstanding research. We warmly congratulate Professor Stapleton and Professor Potts on receiving this honour.
Dr Michael Fullilove to give 2015 Boyer Lectures

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has announced that Balliol alumnus Dr Michael Fullilove (1997), Executive Director of the Lowy Institute for International Policy, is to give the 2015 Boyer Lectures. The lectures will take place over four weeks in September and October and Dr Fullilove's topic will be 'Australia's place in the world'. The first lecture will be given at Peking University in Beijing. It will be the first time a Boyer Lecture has been given abroad.


Balliol novelist wins oldest literary award


Debut novelist Zia Haider Rahman (1987) has joined the distinguished list of writers who have won the James Tait Black Prizes, Britain's oldest literary awards. DH Lawrence, Graham Greene (1922), Angela Carter and Ian McEwan are among the past winners of the prizes, which have been awarded annually by the University of Edinburgh since 1919. Zia Haider Rahman won this year's fiction prize for his novel In the Light of What We Know, which was released last year to international critical acclaim. The Chairman of the James Tait Black Prize for fiction, Professor Randall Stevenson, said, “Zia Haider Rahman addresses a whole range of issues - the war in Afghanistan, the rise of Muslim fundamentalism and the banking crisis ... The novel’s impressive scope is complemented by Rahman’s ability to locate the personal in the political.”


Poetry Exhibition: Swinburne at Balliol


Algernon Charles Swinburne (1856) remains one of Balliol's most distinguished alumni, infamous for his shocking poetry and so highly regarded by his fellow writers that he was repeatedly nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature. An exhibition at the Historic Collections Centre at St Cross on 12 September will use items from the College Library and Archive collections to explore the lifelong influence on Swinburne of his time at Balliol and the friends he made in College.

Balliol's Flying Sikh


Hardit Singh Malik (1912), the first Indian to join the British air services, will be featured in an exhibition called ‘Above The Dreaming Spires: Oxfordshire’s Great War Aviation Story’ at the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum from 15 September 2015 until March 2016. When war broke out in 1914, Malik volunteered to join the army, but was rejected twice, until Francis ‘Sligger’ Urquhart, his tutor at Balliol, wrote to the Commander of the Royal Flying Corps and Malik was posted to the Western Front. As a Sikh, Malik wore a specially designed flying helmet that fitted over his turban. The exhibition explores the stories of aviation pioneers, including Hubert Latham (Balliol 1903), the first man to attempt to fly the English Channel. Read more.

Stanley Wells on the Genius of Shakespeare


Stanley Wells (1978, Honorary Fellow) will give a talk on 'The Genius of Shakespeare' at Blackwell's Bookshop, Oxford on 3 September as part of a series celebrating the Marks of Genius exhibition at the Weston Library. Stanley Wells is one of the world's most respected Shakespeare scholars. In his own words: 'Shakespeare is a source of aesthetic pleasure and intellectual stimulus to millions. There is no holding him back. He is in the water supply, and is likely to remain there until the pipes run dry.' In this lecture, Stanley Wells will address the aspects of William Shakespeare which make him the most celebrated and influential literary colossus in history, in particular his use of language, sense of theatre, awareness of the needs of actors and the enduring relevance of his exploration of the human condition. Book here.



If you would like us to mention in this section any significant work published this year or last, please contact Josie Turner.

Professor John-Christopher Spender (1957) examines whether we are right to be afraid of advances in AI technology in his article Stop Worrying About Whether Machines Are 'Intelligent'.
Harry Bingham (1985)
has published four novels in a continuing series of detective fiction. Talking to the Dead, Love Story, With Murders, The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths and This Thing of Darkness feature a heroine described by the Sunday Times as 'the most startling protagonist in modern crime fiction.' 
Fabienne Heuze (2013)
explores Graham Greene's Top 10 Underrated Must-Reads in an article for The Culture Trip



  • Meeting Minds: Alumni Weekend in Oxford - 18-20 September. Booking is now open. See more details.
  • Balliol Society Weekend - 3-4 October
  • Young Alumni Winter Party - 16 November at the Barbican. Details to follow soon.
  • The Usborne Dinner - 19 November. Invitations have now been sent, and invitees can book online here.
  • Balliol at the Varsity Matches - 10 December. Details to follow soon.

SAVE THE DATE - 2016 Gaudies

  • 19 March 2016 - Gaudy for the years 2000 – 2002
  • 25 June 2016 - Gaudy for the years 1978 – 1980


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