Graham Swift

Graham Swift

Monday 22nd September, 7.30pm

Swift’s latest work, England & Other Stories is a remarkable collection of short stories, set in Britain, that offer an illuminating and rich vision of a country that is both a crucible of history and a maze of contemporary confusions. With a remarkable sense of place, he charts the intimate human geography of a nation, binding […]

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Michel Roux2

Lunch with Michel Roux at the Poet’s House

Tuesday 23rd September, 1pm

Join us for a splendid three-course lunch at the Poet’s House, with a menu inspired by the legendary French chef, Michel Roux Snr. Michel will be talking about his beautiful new book, Essence of French Cooking, which distils a lifetime’s knowledge into a definitive work on French food and cooking. Based around classic recipes that have stood […]

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Andy Miller

Change your life by reading with Andy Miller

Tuesday 23rd September, 7.30pm

Miller wanted to actively re-engage with life and reading, instead of living in the automatic. He wanted to lose himself in a book, and to fill the nagging sense that something was missing in his life. In A Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books Saved My Life, Miller recounts how he made his […]

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Alan Johnson

Alan Johnson

Wednesday 24th September, 7.30pm

Former Home Secretary and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer until 2011, Alan Johnson has been at the forefront of the British political scene for years, and is the MP for Hull West. In 2013 he published the first volume of his memoirs, This Boy, to critical acclaim. Despite his stature as a politician, his beginning […]

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Esther Freud

Esther Freud

Thursday 25th September, 7.30pm

Set in 1914, Mr Mac and Me tells the story of Thomas, the son of the local publican, living with his family in Walberswick on the Suffolk coast. Life is quiet and uneventful, shaped by the seasons, the fishing and the farming. The arrival of great architect and artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh spells change for this […]

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Katherine Clements

Friday 26th September, 7.30pm

Ely, May Day 1646. The Civil War is raging and what should be a rare moment of blessing for the town of Ely takes a brutal turn. Ruth Flowers is left with little choice but to flee the household of Oliver Cromwell, the only home she has ever known. When she reaches the city, Ruth […]

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karen Armstrong

Karen Armstrong

Tuesday 30th September, 7.30pm

Leading theologian and religious scholar Karen Armstrong introduces her new book, Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence, a lucid and accessible examination of the relationship between religion and violent conflict. Despite pacifism and justice being central tenets in almost all world faiths, religion has consistently been used as an age-old banner for […]

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Emily St John

Topping Introduction: Emily St John Mandel

Friday 3rd October, 7.30pm

In a year that might be 2015 or might be 2040, a terrible flu decimates the global population. Within a fortnight, civilisation crumbles. Twenty years later, a band of survivors, all actors and musicians called the Travelling Symphony move through their territories performing concerts and Shakespeare to the settlements that have grown up there, keeping […]

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Killers of the King large

Charles Spencer

Wednesday 8th October, 7.30pm

Killers of the King throws us into the aftermath of the bloodiest seven years of fighting in Britain’s history. In January 1649, the Parliament that had overpowered King Charles I in the civil war now faced a problem: what to do with a defeated king, a king who refused to surrender? In a monumentous series […]

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Thomas Cromwell2

Thomas Cromwell with Tracy Borman

Thursday 9th October, 7.30pm

Thomas Cromwell, once a shadowy figure in the convoluted politics of Henry VIII’s court, has been brought back into the spotlight by the Booker-winning novels of Hilary Mantel. Now Tracy Borman, one of our most brilliant historians and Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces, examines his life from a historical perspective, examining everything from his […]

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Alex Burton

Topping Introduction: Alex Preston

Tuesday 14th October, 7.30pm

Alex Preston is one of the most interesting new voices to enter the literary scene in the last decades. His first novel This Bleeding City picked up a string of prizes, and his second novel, The Revelations, was a fascinating examination of a group of young people who fall into a sinister religious movement, and […]

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David Nicholls website

David Nicholls

Tuesday 14th October, 7.30pm

We are thrilled to announce that yet another of this year’s Booker Longlisted authors will be joining us for the Ely Literary Festival. David Nicholls, who stole our hearts with the award-winning sensation that was One Day, is back with a new, equally radiant love story: Us. Us takes on the fragile love of Douglas and Connie Petersen, […]

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Dan Jones

Dan Jones

Wednesday 15th October, 7.30pm

Join brilliant and engaging historian Dan Jones, as he completes his epic history of medieval England with a new book, Hollow Crown, which explores the rise of the Tudors, and the tearing apart of the Plantagenet dynasty during the Wars of the Roses. The fifteenth century experienced the longest and bloodiest series of civil wars […]

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Peter F Hamilton

Peter F. Hamilton

Thursday 16th October, 7.30pm

Peter F. Hamilton is a stalwart of modern science fiction, internationally renowned for the genre expanding Commonwealth & Void trilogies and, most recently, The Great North Road. We’re very happy to announce that Peter will be coming to Ely this October to celebrate the launch of his new novel, The Abyss Beyond Dreams. Peter’s latest […]

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Conn Iggulden

Conn Iggulden

Tuesday 21st October, 7.30pm

Join us to celebrate Trinity, the second thrilling instalment in the epic Wars of the Roses series, from historical fiction master Conn Iggulden. 1454: King Henry VI has remained all but exiled in Windsor Castle, struck down by his illness for over a year, his eyes vacant, his mind a blank. In this vacuum of […]

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Rachel Joyce

Rachel Joyce

Friday 24th October, 7.30pm

Rachel Joyce’s debut novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, was one of the huge bestsellers of 2012. Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, it was the story of a man whose simple trip to the post box becomes a mammoth walk from Devon to Berwick-Upon-Tweed to see a dying friend from the past. The […]

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Alexander McCall Smith

Lunch with Alexander McCall Smith at the Poet’s House

Tuesday 28th October, 12.30pm

We are delighted to welcome the brilliant raconteur -  Alexander McCall Smith – once again to Ely . Throughout all his wonderful series – from  No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Isabel Dalhousie and Bertie, and 44 Scotland Street, his warm and witty prose has delighted millions of readers. Alexander is a magnetic speaker; his hilarious […]

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Jonathan Stroud

Halloween event with Jonathan Stroud

Friday 31st October, 7.30pm

Join us for a spooky Halloween event and a lesson in ghost-hunting from Jonathan Stroud in our first event for young adults and older children! Stroud’s first book in The Lockwood Agency series was The Screaming Staircase, a brilliantly clever and scary story set in modern England, and the next installment The Whispering Skull promises […]

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Helen Castor

Helen Castor

Monday 3rd November, 7.30pm

Helen Castor’s last history book, She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth, was a brilliant examination of three exceptional women: Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabella of France, and Margaret of Anjou. all of whom had a profound impact in shaping British history. Now Helen turns her attention to one of the other great historical female […]

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Paddy Ashdown

Paddy Ashdown

Wednesday 5th November, 7.30pm

From best-selling author of A Brilliant Little Operation and winner of the British Army Military History prize comes the long neglected D-Day story of the Resistance uprising and subsequent massacre on the Vercors massif – the largest action by the French Resistance during the Second World War. This meticulously researched book from Paddy Ashdown recounts […]

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Mark Cocker

Thursday 6th November, 7.30pm

 Mark introduces us to his new book, Claxton, a collection of twelve diarised accounts exploring his relationship with the East Anglian landscape, and wildlife in the village of Claxton.  Mark’s writing is inspiring and concise; each entry has a closeness of observation, a depth of experience, and a profound awareness of seasonal changes. Join us […]

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Jane Parkinson website

An Evening of Wine and Food with Jane Parkinson

Friday 7th November, 7.30pm

Jane Parkinson is an award-winning wine writer and a rising star in the world of wine,  join us for an evening of wine and food. We will be  tapping into Jane’s expert knowledge, trying some delicious food and wine pairings, and exploring different varieties of grape. The way we all buy wine, serve it, enjoy […]

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Sarah Coakley

Monday 10th November, 7.30pm

God, Sexuality and the Self is Coakley’s new, edgy and compelling venture in systematic theology. An inquistive and accessible questioning of the traditional ideas of ‘sexuality’ and ‘gender’, which escapes the current deadlock of church thought. Coakley invites the reader to re-think the relation of sexual desire and the desire for God, and chart its intrinsic […]

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Morpurgo Website2

Armistice Day with Michael Morpurgo

Tuesday 11th November, 7.30pm

We mark Armistice Day and the centenary of the beginning of First World War with a special evening of readings in Ely Cathedral. Michael Morpurgo introduces Only Remembered, an anthology of war writing and illustrations - featuring everything from poetry to new pieces of writing, personal accounts and short stories. The entries have been chosen by a range of well-known figures, from Sir Terry Pratchett […]

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Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult

Wednesday 12th November, 7.30pm

Jenna Metcalf was with her mother the night she disappeared in tragic and mysterious circumstances, but she remembers nothing. Over ten years have passed, and still Jenna reads and rereads her mother’s journals, hoping to find some clue hidden there, in the meticulous recording of her scientific research with elephants. Desperate for answers, Jenna uses […]

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Coffee and Cake with Stuart Hillard of Great British Sewing Bee

Saturday 15th November, 11am

  Semi-finalist of BBC2′s Great British Sewing Bee, Stuart Hillard brings his fantastic sense of invention, passion, creativity and style to all things fabric. Stuart’s first love is sewing for the home – transforming everything from tablecloths, cushions and curtains to garden chairs and quilts. His mission is to make sewing for the home accessible […]

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Paul Merton

Comedian Paul Merton

Monday 17th November, 7.30pm

Known for his intelligent and often surreal humour, Paul Merton’s weekly appearances on BBC1’s Have I Got News For You – as well as Radio 4’s Just A Minute and his travel documentaries – have made him an artfully rebellious fixture in our lives for over 25 years. In his rich and beautifully ­observed autobiography, Only When I Laugh, Paul […]

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Jenny Uglow

Jenny Uglow

Tuesday 18th November, 7.30pm

Jenny Uglow, the prize-winning author of The Lunar Men and Nature’s Engraver, now turns her attention to the Napoleonic Wars – the first global wars. In These Times tells the story of ordinary people living in this time, those that were not on the battlefront, but whose lives were profoundly changed by the wars.   […]

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Sheila hancock

Sheila Hancock

Wednesday 19th November, 7.30pm

Sheila Hancock has had an enormously successful career in film, television, theatre and radio. Publishing her memoir she won the British Book Award for Author of the Year.  Now, in Miss Carter’s War, Sheila Hancock proves that she is a vibrant new voice in British fiction. Britain, 1948. The young and beautiful, half French, half […]

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Wendy Cope2

Wendy Cope

Thursday 20th November, 7.30pm

In Wendy’s latest work,  Life, Love and the Archers,  we meet an eclectic collection of her literary creations – from the Enid-Blyton-obsessed schoolgirl, the ambivalent daughter, the amused teacher, the sensitive journalist, the cynical romantic and the savagely funny television critic. Her poetry collections, from the bestselling Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis to the more […]

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Astronomy Walk and Talk with Mark Thompson

Friday 21st November, 7pm

Mark Thompson has spent many years capturing the beauty of the night sky, first with film and now with the digital camera, and has discovered and overcome many of the pitfalls. Come and meet a real expert in astrophotography and stargazing. Mark Thompson has a wealth of knowledge, and he will be sharing his valuable […]

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Ottolenghi

Cookery demonstration with Yotam Ottolenghi

Monday 24th November, 7.45pm

Yotam Ottolenghi’s previous cookbook – the award-winning Jerusalem- was received to global acclaim. Ottolenghi has revolutionised the way people cook and eat, focussing on flavoursome vegetable dishes, original spicing and the freshness of ingredients. Plenty More picks up where his last vegetarian cookery book Plenty left off, with 120 more dazzling vegetable-based dishes, this time organised […]

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David Mitchell Comedian

Comedian David Mitchell

Tuesday 25th November, 7.30pm

Prized comedian David Mitchell will be delighting us with a tour of the absurdities of modern life – from Ryanair to Downton Abbey, sports day to smoking, Poundland to phone etiquette, UKIP to hotdogs made of cats. David’s latest book Thinking About It Only Makes it Worse! is a funny and provocative look at modern […]

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Cyprian Broodbank

Cyprian Broodbank

Thursday 27th November, 7.30pm

The Making of the Middle Sea charts the rise of the Mediterranean world from its very beginnings up to the threshold of Classical times. For millions of years the Mediterranean has produced some of the most astonishing history and culture on the planet, and its legacy extends around the globe to this day, providing some […]

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