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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.

Coronavirus update

We’re working to postpone our events in March, April and May. We will email or text all those who have booked for each event to let them know and advise them of new dates.

If you’re unable to attend an event for whatever reason, please do let us know beforehand. We are very happy to arrange a swap for another event or a credit note to use at any point in the future.

Sally Magnusson

Tuesday 7th April, 7.30pm

But someone else is waiting too. The man in the dark coat, watching for the right moment with a huntsman’s eye . . . 1856, the Scottish Highlands. A haunting novel of a young doctor’s wife, Isabel Aird, struggling to make her childless life meaningful, unaware that the sinister Robert Kirke is watching her every […] See more »

Reading Group – Drive your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

Monday 13th April, 7.30pm

In a remote Polish village, Janina Duszejko, an eccentric woman in her sixties, recounts the events surrounding the disappearance of her two dogs. She is reclusive, preferring the company of animals to people; she’s unconventional, believing in the stars; and she is fond of the poetry of William Blake. When members of a local hunting […] See more »

Reading Group: Junichiro Tanizaki – Some Prefer Nettles

Monday 13th April, 7.30pm

Some Prefer Nettles by Junichiro Tanizaki In the 1920s, a Japanese family face problems of internal strife, as well as challenges brought about by the steadily encroaching influence of the West upon their beliefs and lifestyle. One of master novelist Tanizaki’s finest and most approachable works, Some Prefer Nettles is a characteristically sharp, quirky and insightful social comedy unfolding against a […] See more »

Robert Webb

Thursday 30th April, 7.30pm

You can’t fall in love for the first time twice … Come Again – Robert Webb’s debut novel – a time-travelling story of love and adventure from the number one bestselling author of How Not To Be a Boy and star of Peep Show. Kate’s husband Luke – the man she loved from the moment she met […] See more »

Raynor Winn

Monday 4th May, 7.30pm

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED   Nature holds the answers for Raynor and her husband Moth. After walking 630 homeless miles along The Salt Path, living on the windswept and wild English coastline the cliffs, the sky and the chalky earth now feel like their home. Moth has a terminal diagnosis, but against all medical […] See more »

Lionel Shriver

Wednesday 13th May, 7.30pm

The stubbornness of an ageing man in Lycra is not to be underestimated From the Orange Prize-winning author of We Need to Talk About Kevin comes the story of an obsession, of a marriage, of a betrayal. Lionel Shriver at her hilarious, sharp-eyed, audacious best. Allergic to group activities of any kind, all her life Serenata […] See more »

Tim Parks

Thursday 14th May, 7.30pm

The long-awaited new book on how Italy really works from the bestselling writer on Italian culture There is no world for whistle-blower in Italian, though you can absolutely chiudere un’occhio (turn a blind eye). In all areas of public life – community, education, employment – your connections are everything. From the bestselling author of Italian Neighbours, An Italian Education and Italian […] See more »

Sebastian Barry

Wednesday 20th May, 7.30pm

Even when you come out of bloodshed and disaster in the end you have got to learn to live… Winona is a young Lakota orphan adopted by former soldiers Thomas McNulty and John Cole. She is educated and loved, forging a life for herself beyond the violence and dispossession of her past. But the fragile […] See more »

Alison Weir

Thursday 28th May, 7.15pm

A naive young woman at the mercy of her ambitious family At just nineteen, Katheryn Howard is quick to trust and fall in love. She comes to court. She sings, she dances. She captures the heart of the King. Henry declares she is his rose without a thorn. But Katheryn has a past of which […] See more »

Susie Steiner

Tuesday 9th June, 7.30pm

The dead cannot speak. The body of a young man is found hanging from a tree in Cambridgeshire. A note is attached, its stark four-word message striking and cold. Was it murder? Was it suicide? Was he silenced, or driven to end his own life? By turns warm and witty, heartbreaking and uplifting, Susie Steiner’s […] See more »

James Boyce

Thursday 9th July, 7.30pm

This land, this Fen country… Between the English Civil Wars and the mid-Victorian period, and after centuries of resistance, the community of the Fenland people was destroyed. An innovative take on the drainage of the Fens, Imperial Mud upends the narrative of technological progress over nature, re-imagining not just the history of the Fens, but the history […] See more »

Robert Harris

Sunday 13th September, 7.30pm

Victory is close … On the brink of defeat, Hitler commissioned 10,000 V2s – ballistic rockets that carried a one-ton warhead at three times the speed of sound, which he believed would win the war. Dr Rudi Graf who, along with his friend Werner von Braun, had once dreamt of sending a rocket to the […] See more »

Charles Spencer

Tuesday 15th September, 7.30pm

Legend has it that the ship was doomed because priests had noted “unnatural practices” on The White Ship… Newly refitted, The White Ship sank near the Normandy coast on 25 November 1120. Three hundred souls drowned after the ship foundered on rocks. There was a single survivor. Amongst the dead was William Adelin, the only […] See more »

Ken Follett

Wednesday 23rd September, 7.30pm

The epic story that will end where The Pillars of the Earth begins It is 997 CE, the end of the Dark Ages, and England faces attacks from the Welsh in the west and the Vikings in the east. Life is hard, and those with power wield it harshly, bending justice according to their will […] See more »

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