Ely Events and Reading Groups

In this atmospheric medieval city, just over an hour from London by train, author events range from reading groups and intimate salons in the bookshop to the drama of performances under the world-renowned Octagon of Ely Cathedral. We hold events all year round, but in the autumn there is a special focus on the Ely Literary Festival.

Laura Purcell

Wednesday 24th October, 7.30pm

Laura Purcell’s debut novel The Silent Companions thrilled and chilled its many readers, and now Laura has followed it with another fantastic gothic  tale. Set in a Victorian prison.  The Corset is a story of rationality versus the supernatural, dealing with bitterness, betrayal and dresses, and with a dark conceit at its centre – a […] See more »


Daniel Clifford of Midsummer House

Thursday 25th October, 7.30pm

Daniel was first employed in a restaurant in 1989 and gradually moved up in responsibility until being named head chef of iconic Cambridge restaurant Midsummer House, in 1998. He was awarded his second Michelin star in the 2005 list – one of only eleven restaurants in the UK and Ireland to be awarded two stars. To celebrate […] See more »


Frank Danes on Doctor Who

Monday 29th October, 7.30pm

Six Decades of Adventure in Space and Time: A social, cultural and screen history of Doctor Who Doctor Who is the longest running science fiction series in the world. In its six decade run, the show has tracked and embodied the social, political and cultural changes in the United Kingdom and the world, tackling  fascism, environmental disaster, religious fanaticism, changing […] See more »


Sarah Perry

Wednesday 31st October, 7.30pm

Everyone that Melmoth seeks out must make a choice: to live with what they’ve done, or be led into the darkness. Helen can’t stop reading, or shake the feeling that someone is watching her. As her past finally catches up with her, she too must choose which path to take. We have followed the career […] See more »


Kassia St. Clair

Thursday 1st November, 7.30pm

From the author of the acclaimed Secret Lives of Colour, comes The Golden Thread , a history of textiles and how they have shaped our world.  From colourful 30,000-year-old threads found on the floor of a Georgian cave to what the linen wrappings of Tutankhamun’s mummy actually meant; from the Silk Roads to the woollen sails […] See more »


Diarmaid MacCulloch

Friday 2nd November, 7.30pm

Born in obscurity in Putney, Thomas Cromwell lived to become a figure of immense significance, central to one of the most momentous decades in British history – the break with Rome, the unprecedented use of parliament and the dissolution of the monastries. The story has been told in many ways, but never as completely and persuasively […] See more »


Ursula le Guin Weekend

Saturday 3rd November, 11am

Please note – this event will take place over two days (3rd &4th November) Robert Jones of Topping & Company, a serious Le Guin fan since his early teens, leads a weekend-long exploration of the life and work of Ursula Le Guin. Investigating her early background in anthropology and linguistics, her place within the larger […] See more »


Robin Ince from The Infinite Monkey Cage

Tuesday 6th November, 7.30pm

Fans of The Infinite Monkey Cage will know that Robin Ince has one of the sharpest minds on radio, as well as one of the wittiest. As a connoisseur of comedy, Robin  has spent decades mining our eccentricities to create gags – and watching other strange individuals do the same. And for years on The […] See more »


Yotam Ottolenghi

Wednesday 7th November, 7.30pm

Beloved chef Yotam Ottolenghi has a new book, and is coming to Ely to talk about it! He’s the undisputed master of the multi-ingredient recipe, but he also does simple brilliantly. Ottolenghi Simple showcases standout dishes whichs will suit whatever type of cooking you prefer – these brilliant, flavour-forward dishes are all simple in at […] See more »


Reading Group – Winter

Monday 12th November, 7.30pm

Ali Smith  – Winter In Ali Smith’s Winter, lifeforce matches up to the toughest of the seasons. In this second novel in her acclaimed Seasonal cycle, the follow-up to her sensational Autumn, Smith’s shape-shifting quartet of novels casts a merry eye over a bleak post-truth era with a story rooted in history, memory and warmth, its taproot deep in the evergreens: […] See more »


Reading Group – The Monk

Monday 12th November, 7.30pm

Matthew Lewis – The Monk Hailed by Coleridge as  “a work of no uncommon genius”, Matthew Lewis’ flamboyant late Gothic novel follows the moral and spiritual disintegration of the charismatic Capuchin friar, Ambrosio, as he becomes increasingly embroiled in a dark and turbulent world of sin and damnation. A huge popular hit in its day, […] See more »


Elly Griffiths

Tuesday 13th November, 7.30pm

Elly Griffiths and her creation Ruth Galloway have long been Toppings favourites and it has always been a pleasure to welcome her to Ely. This time though is especially exciting  – Elly has produced a gripping contemporary  thriller, deliciously spooky, and peopled with  quirky characters you long to meet : Clare Cassidy is no stranger to tales […] See more »


Tracy Borman on Henry VIII

Tuesday 20th November, 7.30pm

When we think about Henry VIII, we think first perhaps of his relationships with the six wives, but in her fascinating, often surprising new biography, Tracy Borman turns to the men who surrounded him to give a new perspective. They show him to be capable of fierce, but seldom abiding loyalty; of raising men only to […] See more »


Nick Hewer

Wednesday 21st November, 7.30pm

From Nick Hewer, the star of Countdown and The Apprentice, comes a superb new memoir, taking the reader on a brilliant, amusing and evocative journey from A to Z of his life. As one of Lord Sugar’s closest advisers, Nick Hewer came late to wider public attention when he was recruited to work with him […] See more »


Tea and Cake with Sir Max Hastings

Sunday 25th November, 3.30pm

Sir Max Hastings needs little introduction – the best-selling author of more than twenty books is firmly established as our leading military historian. Such titles as All Hell Let Loose and Catastrophe set a benchmark for other historians, and Vietnam promises to do the same for this most divisive conflict. Sir Max has spent the […] See more »


Dame Darcey Bussell

Tuesday 27th November, 7.30pm

In a dance career spanning more than 20 years, Darcey Bussell achieved legendary status in the dance world. Having trained at the Royal Ballet School in London, she became the youngest British principal dancer at The Royal Ballet in 1989, where she remained her whole career. More recently she has reached an even greater audience […] See more »