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.

Lizzie Collingham

Tuesday 26th September, 7.30pm

The Hungry Empire tells the story of how the British created a global network of commerce and trade  that moved people and plants from one continent to another, re-shaping landscapes and culinary tastes. To be British was to eat the world. Millions of people across the world were caught up in the ever-expanding web of empire, and their lives […] See more »


Thursday 28th September, 7.30pm

‘Darwin was wrong’   A.N. Wilson begins his new biography  of one of the giants of the  Victorian age in characteristically forthright manner. Charles Darwin: the man who discovered evolution? The man who killed off God? Or a flawed man of his age, part genius, part ruthless careerist who would not acknowledge his debts to other […] See more »

Charles Spencer

Wednesday 4th October, 7.30pm

In To Catch a King, this gripping, action-packed, true adventure story, Charles Spencer retells the epic story of Prince Charles, son of the executed Charles 1st, when he  returned from Holland to fight for his throne. Facing certain death if caught, Charles relied upon a patchwork of hiding places, including, famously, the oak tree still commemorated in pub names all over […] See more »

Randall Munroe – Thing Explainer

Thursday 5th October, 7.30pm

From the bestselling author of What If? – the man who created xkcd and explained the laws of science with cartoons – comes a series of brilliantly simple diagrams that show how important things work: from the nuclear bomb to the biro. In Thing Explainer, Randall Munroe  explains things using only drawings and a vocabulary […] See more »

Reading Group – Hot Milk

Monday 9th October, 7.30pm

Deborah Levy – Hot Milk Rose is suffering from a strange illness and her doctors are mystified. Her daughter Sofia has brought her to the Spanish coast to find a cure with the infamous and controversial Dr Gomez – a man of questionable methods and motives. Intoxicated by thick heat and the seductive people who […] See more »

Reading Group – Surfacing

Monday 9th October, 7.30pm

Margaret Atwood – Surfacing A Quebecoise’s  journey into the wilderness world of her childhood turns into a haunting exploration of time memory, politics and identity.  Atwood’s 1972 breakthrough novel already shows her skill at combining characteristic feminist and environmental concerns with dramatic narrative and and a fresh, poetic feel for language and imagery. See more »

Matt Lucas

Tuesday 10th October, 8pm

Starting his comedy career as a score-keeping baby in Reeves and Mortimer’s Shooting Stars, Matt Lucas has become one of the most familiar and best-loved faces on television. He has played an extraordinary array of characters on both stage and screen including, currently, The Doctor’s companion Nardole, an alien from the 54th century. By turns hilarious, heart-warming and moving, Little Me: My Life from […] See more »

Robert Macfarlane

Thursday 12th October, 7.30pm

The Lost Words is a book that seeks to conjure the near-lost magic, beauty and strangeness of the nature that surrounds us, for readers both young and old. Taking the form of twenty ‘lost’ words, collected alphabetically from ‘Acorn’ to ‘Wren’ each word becomes a spell – written by Robert Macfarlane, which is intended to […] See more »

An Evening with Bernard Cornwell

Monday 16th October, 7.30pm

We are thrilled that literary superstar Bernard Cornwell will be returning to Ely to talk about his new book, Fools and Mortals.  The novel follows the young Richard Shakespeare, an actor struggling to make his way in a company dominated by his estranged older brother, William. As the growth of theatre blooms, their rivalry – […] See more »

Francis Spufford

Thursday 19th October, 7.30pm

Known to many of our supporters as the author of 2016’s runaway success, Golden Hill,  Ely local  and bookshop favourite Francis Spufford is also a fascinating essayist.  True Stories: And Other Essays is his first volume of collected essays, and gathers an array of his compelling writings from the 1990s to the present.  Francis addresses […] See more »

Afternoon Tea with Tim Bentinck

Friday 20th October, 2pm

Join us for an afternoon of tea, cake and chat with Tim Bentinck, better known to many as the voice of David Archer. In Being David Archer, Tim recounts his enormously varied life with wry, self-deprecating humour. A successful actor in TV, film and theatre, a voice specialist working in every vocal medium, but in […] See more »

Dan Jones

Wednesday 25th October, 7.30pm

The Knights Templar were the wealthiest, most powerful – and most secretive – of the military orders that flourished in the crusading era. Their story – encompassing as it does the greatest international conflict of the Middle Ages, a network of international finance, a swift rise in wealth and influence followed by a bloody and […] See more »

Catalonian supper with Jose Pizarro

Thursday 26th October, 7.30pm

Join leading Spanish chef, José Pizarro, to sample dishes from his new book Catalonia: Recipes from Barcelona and Beyond. José Pizarro travels from the impressive Gaudi architecture in buzzy Barcelona, to the Roman and Greek ruins in Girona and secluded beaches in Costa Brava, to create some of the best-loved dishes from the Catalonian region. […] See more »

Nigella Lawson

Tuesday 31st October, 7.30pm

Everyone at Topping and Company is thrilled to be welcoming Nigella Lawson back to Ely Cathedral on 31st October 2017. Nigella’s  new book is set to become another home cooking classic.  At My Table: A Celebration of Home Cooking answers that important, everyday question “What are we going to eat?” As one would expect from the […] See more »

Andrew Marr

Monday 6th November, 7.30pm

In his latest book A Short Book About Painting Andrew Marr, one of our greatest cultural commentators, wrestles with some of the fundamental questions about painting and creativity. Following a serious stroke in 2013 that left him partially paralysed, Andrew’s  struggles with the physical rigours of oil-painting led him to investigate the whole process: inspiration, creativity, […] See more »

Evan Davis

Thursday 9th November, 7.30pm

Post-Truth is a timely, brilliantly insightful book which steps inside the panoply of deception and spin employed, not just in recent politics, but in all walks of life. From the verbiage in company annual reports, to excitable headlines promising a new cure for cancer, to canned laughter on TV, and not forgetting political spin, low level […] See more »

A tasting evening with Anna Jones

Tuesday 14th November, 7.30pm

When all the  clean-eating bloggers and you-tubers have disappeared from view, Anna Jones will remain. Trained by Jamie Oliver and having worked with everyone from Antonio Carluccio, Yotam Ottolenghi to Sophie Dahl , Anna has established herself as our leading vegetarian chef with her two books, A Modern Way of Eating and A New Way […] See more »

Susan Hill

Tuesday 21st November, 7.30pm

Susan Hill is the much-loved author of many books including The Woman in Black and I’m the King of the Castle. Jacob’s Room is Full of Books is the long-awaited sequel to her best-selling memoir Howard’s End is on the Stairs. Considering everything from Edith Wharton’s novels through to Alan Bennett’s diaries, Virginia Woolf and the […] See more »

Michel Roux Senior

Friday 24th November, 7.30pm

Cheese has been a lifelong passion for Michel Roux Sr, initially inspired by early visits to French markets, and fuelled by extensive travels around the world discovering new cheeses. His new book, Cheese, contains over 100 simple and versatile recipes covering everything from inventive canapés, comforting soups, tempting starters and snacks, sensational salads, to original fish and meat dishes, mouth-watering […] See more »