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.

Reading Group – Sing , Unburied Sing

Monday 10th September, 7.30pm

Jesmyn Ward – Sing , Unburied Sing Rich with Ward’s distinctive lyrical language, this amazing novel brings the archetypal road novel into the twentieth century America.  It is a majestic new work from an extraordinary and singular writer. See more »

Melissa Harrison

Tuesday 11th September, 7.30pm

From the author of  At Hawthorn Time comes a major new novel from  Toppings favourite, Melissa Harrison.  The autumn of 1933 is the most beautiful Edie Mather can remember, although the Great War still casts its shadow over the fields and villages around her beloved Suffolk  home, Wych Farm. Constance FitzAllen arrives from London to document […] See more »

Gina Miller

Thursday 13th September, 7.30pm

Gina Miller came to prominence when she brought one of the most significant constitutional cases ever to be heard in the British Supreme Court. Gina successfully challenged the UK government’s authority to trigger Article 50 – the formal notification to leave the European Union – without parliamentary approval. In Rise, Gina Miller draws on a lifetime of […] See more »

Ursula Le Guin Weekend

Saturday 15th September, 11am

Please note – this event will take place over two days (15th &16th September) 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 »

Jenni Murray

Monday 17th September, 7.30pm

In A History of the World in 21 Women, Jenni Murray celebrates great women from around the world – rescuing some from obscurity and shining a new light on familiar names. Breaking the mould in art, science, journalism and politics, each of these women fought, in her own way, for change. From Joan of Arc […] See more »

An Evening with Neil MacGregor

Tuesday 18th September, 7.30pm

Neil MacGregor, former director of the British Museum, has forged a reputation for bringing history to life in an entirely new way with his best-selling A History of the World in 100 Objects and Germany. His dazzling, long- awaited new book Living With the Gods is a panoramic exploration of peoples, objects and religion over 40,000 years. Neil uses a kaleidoscope of […] See more »

An Evening with Sebastian Faulks

Wednesday 19th September, 7.30pm

We are absolutely delighted to announce that literary giant Sebastian Faulks will join us in Ely on 19th September, to celebrate the publication of his latest masterpiece: Paris Echo. In this urgent and deeply moving novel, Faulks deals with questions of empire, grievance and identity.  Here is Paris as you’ve never seen it before – […] See more »

Ben Macintyre

Wednesday 26th September, 7.30pm

On a warm July evening in 1985, a middle-aged man stood on the pavement of a busy avenue in the heart of Moscow, holding a plastic carrier bag. In his grey suit and tie, he looked like any other Soviet citizen. The bag alone was mildly conspicuous, printed with the red logo of Safeway, the […] See more »

Jane Glover

Thursday 27th September, 7.30pm

Handel in London tells the story of a young German composer who in 1712, followed his princely master to London and would remain there for the rest of his life. That master would become King George II and the composer was Georg Friederich Handel. Handel, then still only twenty-seven and largely self-taught, would be at the heart […] See more »

Afternoon tea and cake with Prue Leith

Friday 28th September, 1pm

Prue Leith has been at the top of the British food scene for nearly 60 years, as founder of the renowned Leith’s School of Food and Wine, and also as a caterer, restaurateur, teacher, TV cook, food journalist, novelist, and  author.  More recently, of course,  she has graced our screens as a judge on the […] See more »

An Evening with Michael Palin

Tuesday 2nd October, 7.30pm

  Michael Palin, Monty Python stalwart and much-loved television globe-trotter, brings to life the world and voyages of HMS Erebus, from its construction to the part it played in Ross’s Antarctic expedition of 1839–43, to its abandonment during Franklin’s ill-fated Arctic expedition and to its final rediscovery on the seabed in Queen Maud Gulf in 2014. He explores the careers […] See more »

An Evening with Felix Francis

Thursday 4th October, 7.30pm

Felix Francis, like his father before him, is a master storyteller, a writer of gripping tales of double-dealing and murder in horse-racing circles.  His latest novel, Crisis, takes us into the world of Harrison Foster, a lawyer by training, who works as a crisis manager for a London firm that specialises in such matters. Summoned to […] See more »

Giles Milton

Tuesday 9th October, 7.30pm

Almost seventy-five years have passed since D-Day, the day of the greatest seaborne invasion in history. The outcome of the Second World War hung in the balance on that chill June morning. If Allied forces succeeded in gaining a foothold in northern France, the road to victory would be open. But if the Allies could […] See more »

John Suchet

Tuesday 16th October, 7.30pm

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s life – and premature death – has long been mythologised and misunderstood. A shy, emotional child, Tchaikovsky came late to composing as a career. Doubting himself at every turn and keenly wounded by criticism, he went on to become one of the world’s best-loved composers. Yet behind the success lay sadness: the […] See more »

John Simpson

Wednesday 17th October, 7.30pm

At a restaurant in Sloane Square, a politician confides to journalist Jon Swift that he is concerned for his own safety; a few months later he is found dead in his flat. But when the police and even Swift’s paper refuse to investigate the death further, he must take matters into his own hands. Soon Swift […] See more »

Fergus Butler-Gallie on the English Clergy

Thursday 18th October, 7.30pm

Judge not less you be judged…timeless wisdom which has guided the Anglican church for hundreds of years, fostering a certain tolerance of eccentricity amongst its members. The Reverend Fergus Butler-Gallie is a curate in the Church of England. This, his first book , is a delightful, sympathetic and sometimes downright hilarious guide to some of […] See more »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Nick Hewer

Thursday 22nd 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 »