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 events 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.

Robert Macfarlane

Wednesday 3rd July, 7.30pm

In Underland, Robert Macfarlane, the great nature writer of his generation, takes us on a journey into the worlds beneath our feet. From the ice-blue depths of Greenland’s glaciers, to the underground networks by which trees communicate, from Bronze Age burial chambers to the rock art of remote Arctic sea-caves, this is a deep-time voyage into […] See more »


Aphra Behn – Oroonoko, The Rover et al

Monday 8th July, 7.30pm

“All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn”. So said Virginia Woolf of the first professional woman writer in the history of English literature, but Behn is a figure of far more than historical importance, whose vigorous, varied and effortlessly entertaining writing has proved its appeal to many modern […] See more »


Julian Sedgwick and Alexis Deacon

Tuesday 9th July, 7.30pm

Harry Black wakes in hospital to learn that his brother Ellis has almost certainly been killed by a V2 rocket falling during a German air raid on London. In a state of wounded delirium, Harry’s mind begins to blur the distinctions between the reality of the war-torn city, the fiction of his unpublished sci-fi novel […] See more »


Simon Scarrow

Monday 15th July, 7.30pm

The next eagerly awaited Roman adventure from Simon Scarrow is arriving in July, and we are pleased to welcome Simon to Ely, for the first time, to tell us about it! It is AD 25. Pirate ships strike terror in the hearts of those who brave the seas of the Roman Empire. When young Telemachus […] See more »


Jose Pizarro

Wednesday 17th July, 7.30pm

Our leading Spanish chef, José Pizarro appears on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen and Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch and has an award-winning collection of restaurants in London.  His gorgeous new cookbook focuses on the mouth-watering dishes from the Andalusia region of southern Spain. Join us for a glass of wine and learn how to cook this wonderful […] See more »


Francis Pryor on Fenland

Wednesday 24th July, 7.30pm

Francis Pryor, Time Team’s distinguished archaeologist, has lived in, excavated, farmed and walked the Fen Country for more than four decades. In  Fenland: The Silt and the Black, a journey spanning history, archaeology and personal recollection, Francis  reveals his great love for this most mysterious  of English landscapes. The Fens are often regarded as a neglected […] See more »


Christopher Somerville

Tuesday 27th August, 7.30pm

Please note: the date for this evening has changed. When Christopher Somerville set out to explore Britain’s cathedrals, he found his fixed ideas shaken to the roots. Starting out, he pictured cathedrals – Britain possesses over one hundred – as great unmoving bastions of tradition. But as he journeys among favourites old and new, he discovers buildings and communities […] See more »


Kim Joy

Tuesday 10th September, 7.30pm

We’re very excited about this: everyone’s favourite Great British Bake Off finalist, Kim-Joy is coming to talk to us, and bringing tasters! Infuse your baking with a sprinkle of glitter, a rainbow of colours and a menagerie of woodland creatures with the help of this unique baking book. Whether you want to learn how to […] See more »


Tracy Chevalier – A Single Thread

Thursday 12th September, 7.30pm

In 1932 Violet Speedwell, still mourning the loss of both her fiancé and her brother in the Great War,  resolves to escape her suffocating mother and strike out alone. A new life awaits her in Winchester, which despite its hardships, is a life alive with independence and opportunity. Violet falls in with the broderers, a […] See more »


George Alagiah

Saturday 14th September, 7.30pm

George Alagiah is known to us all as an outstanding news journalist for the BBC, having been with the corporation since 1989. In his long career, he has interviewed Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, covered the conflicts in Kosovo and Iraq and won countless awards for his fearless reporting. Now however, he turns his hand […] See more »


Martin Walker

Monday 16th September, 7pm

Bruno, chief of police, faces a dark reckoning with France’s past in this page-turning mystery. A rich American art student is found dead at the bottom of a well in an ancient hilltop castle. The young woman, Claudia, had been working in the archives of an eminent French art historian, a crippled Resistance war hero, […] See more »


Tom Holland

Thursday 19th September, 7.30pm

Christianity is the most enduring and influential legacy of the ancient world, and its emergence the single most transformative development in Western history. In Dominion award-winning historian and broadcaster Tom Holland will tell the story of how we came to be what we are, and how we think the way that we do, in the broadest […] See more »


Chris Riddell

Tuesday 24th September, 7.30pm

Beloved illustrator and political cartoonist Chris Riddell is coming to Ely to celebrate his beautiful new book. In Poems to Fall in Love With Chris Riddell has selected and illustrated his very favourite classic and modern poems about love. This gorgeously illustrated collection celebrates love in all its guises, from silent admiration through passion to […] See more »


Louise Doughty

Thursday 26th September, 7.30pm

Once again, Topping and Company in Ely are delighted to welcome the wonderful Louise Doughty to tell us about her new psychological thriller. Platform Seven. 4am. Peterborough Railway Station is deserted. The man crossing the covered walkway on this freezing November morning is confident he’s alone. As he sits on the metal bench at the […] See more »


Jim Al-Khalili

Wednesday 2nd October, 6.30pm

From renowned theoretical physicist, broadcaster and author Jim Al-Khalili, comes this thrilling debut novel drawing on cutting-edge science and set in a near-future full of dazzling technologies. 2041 and the world as we know it grinds to a halt. Our planet seems to be turning against itself – it would appear that the magnetic field, […] See more »


An Evening with Gyles Brandreth

Thursday 24th October, 7.30pm

Giles has been a theatre producer, politician, journalist, author and publisher as well as TV presenter and  radio star in a career which has spanned five decades. He is known equally for his record number of appearances on  TV’s Countdown, for his improvising wit on Radio’s Just a Minute  and his love of jumpers and […] See more »


David Mitchell

Tuesday 26th November, 7.30pm

  David Mitchell’s bestselling book Dishonesty is the Second‑Best Policy is a funny, provocative and refreshing celebration (and commiseration) of the state of things in our – not entirely glorious – modern world. There are many aspects of modern life that trouble award-winning comedian David Mitchell: from the UKIP surge to Brexit shambles, digging up Richard […] See more »


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