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.

Christopher Somerville

Tuesday 27th August, 7.30pm

Please note: the date for this evening has changed. The new date is Tuesday August 27th. 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 […] See more »

Dan Jones

Monday 2nd September, 7.30pm

The Sunday Times best-selling author of The Templars tells the story of the Crusades, a thousand-year-old conflict which continues to shape the modern world, and the people who fought in them. Dan Jones, best-selling chronicler of the Middle Ages, turns his attention to the history of the Crusades – the sequence of religious wars fought […] See more »

Fiona Neill

Wednesday 4th September, 7.30pm

Dark rumours swirl around their tight-knit Fenland community after Grace Vermuyden’s daughter collapses at school. Truth gives way to suspicion and secrets as a painful reality begins to emerge into the harsh light of day while Grace discovers more about herself than she ever wanted to know. We’re delighted to welcome five-times Sunday Times bestseller […] See more »

Georgette Heyer Study Day

Saturday 7th September, 2pm

Samantha J. Rayner is not only a life-long fan of Georgette Heyer but also a Reader in Publishing at UCL, With specialisms in Medieval and Arthurian texts she’s introduced thousands of students to publishing, the culture of bookselling and academic literature. Now her verve and wisdom are added to the colourful writing of one of […] See more »


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 »

Chris Riddell

Tuesday 24th September, 7.30pm

Please note: the venue has changed to St. Peter’s Church. 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 […] 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 »

Robin Page

Tuesday 1st October, 7.30pm

Robin Page’s passion for English tradition set against the invasion of urban crawl has been his life and mission. In this updated version of his 1974 classic he takes a fresh look at the decline of village life, and still has the ability to radiate enthusiasm for preserving this beloved countryside and its wildlife. We […] 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 »

Tom Holland

Thursday 3rd October, 7.30pm

Please note: the date for this event is now October 3rd 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 […] See more »

Bobby Seagull

Tuesday 8th October, 7.30pm

Bobby Seagull gained a cult following with his appearances on University Challenge in 2017 – a winning combination of extraordinary knowledge and equally extraordinary joy in sharing it! Bobby has been obsessed with numbers all his life – they were the keys that unlocked the randomness of football results, the beauty of art and the […] See more »

Emma Mitchell

Wednesday 9th October, 7.30pm

Emma’s move to the Cambridgeshire Fens turned out to be a life-changing decision. Walks became more adventurous as she photographed, collected and sketched, collating thoughts, words and pictures into a shining work that celebrates not just the vivid aspects of our beautiful local landscape but the depths of its healing spirit as well. We’re delighted […] See more »

Dinner with Jose Pizarro

Thursday 10th October, 7.30pm

A revised date, and a revised format – we are pleased to announce that our evening with Jose will now include  dinner with wine. Those of you who joined us last time will need little encouragement to come again – an unforgettable evening of food and chat with the much-loved Spanish chef. Jose’s latest book […] See more »

Brett Anderson of Suede

Tuesday 22nd October, 7.30pm

The trajectory of Suede – hailed in infancy as ‘The Best New Band in Britain’ – is recalled with moving candour by its frontman Brett Anderson, whose vivid memoir swings seamlessly between the tender, witty, turbulent, euphoric and bittersweet. Suede began by treading the familiar jobbing route of London’s emerging new 1990s indie bands – gigs […] See more »

An Evening with Gyles Brandreth

Thursday 24th October, 7.30pm

Gyles 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 »

Heather Morris

Saturday 26th October, 4pm

1942. Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. Every day is a battle for existence for the sixteen-year-old prisoner Cilka Klein but, under unimaginable conditions, she discovers inner resources that offer courage, even love. Cilka’s Journey is the breathtaking sequel to the bestselling The Tattooist of Auschwitz. The book offers powerful testament to the triumph of the human will […] See more »

Shaun Bythell

Tuesday 29th October, 7.30pm

Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown – Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, and all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea. A book-lover’s paradise? Well, almost… In The Diary of a Bookseller, Shaun charmed even […] See more »

Thomas Penn

Wednesday 30th October, 7.30pm

A gripping new history by the author of the acclaimed bestseller Winter King It is 1461 and England is crippled by civil war. One freezing morning, a teenage boy wins a battle in the Welsh marches, and claims the crown. He is Edward IV, first king of the usurping house of York. Thomas Penn’s remarkable […] See more »

Afternoon Tea & Cake with Pam Ayres

Friday 15th November, 3pm

One of Toppings’ most popular visitors, and always a favourite with our audiences, is back in Ely with her latest and possibly most memorable collection to date. With the same magic that has enchanted her fans for four decades Pam Ayres’ new book of poetry is by turns side-splittingly funny, at others so reflective 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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