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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.

David Mitchell

Tuesday 22nd June, 7.30pm

Utopia Avenue might be the most curious British band you’ve never heard of.  We are delighted that bestselling novelist and author of Cloud Atlas David Mitchell will join us for an online event to celebrate the paperback publication of Utopia Avenue. To book places, preorder your signed copy of Utopia Avenue – either as a […] See more »

James Ellroy

Tuesday 6th July, 7pm

The modern master of noir James Ellroy joins us for an online event to discuss his new novel, Widespread Panic. To book places, preorder a copy of Widespread Panic here. Each copy of the book includes access to the online event. We’ll send the event link to the email address you use to complete your order, […] See more »

Brandon Taylor

Thursday 8th July, 7pm

We are very excited that Brandon Taylor will be joining us for an online event to discuss his hotly anticipated first collection of short stories, Filthy Animals. To book places, preorder your signed first edition of Filthy Animals here. Each copy of the book includes access to the online event. We’ll send the event link to the […] See more »

Kate Sawyer

Wednesday 14th July, 7.30pm

‘Gorgeous and original and captivating’ – Marian Keyes, international bestselling author of Grown Ups Ruth lives in the heart of the city. Working, drinking, falling in love: the rhythm of her vivid and complicated life is set against a background hum of darkening news reports from which she deliberately turns away. When a new romance […] See more »

Christy Lefteri

Thursday 15th July, 7.30pm

We are joined (virtually) for an evening by Christy Lefteri to celebrate the publication of Songbirds, the powerful new novel from the bestselling author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo.  To book places, order your signed first edition of Songbirds here. Each copy of the book includes access to the online event. We’ll send the event link to the […] See more »

Victoria Hislop

Thursday 22nd July, 7.30pm

Victoria Hislop, the author of The Island, joins us to discuss her much-awaited sequel, One August Night. To book places, preorder your copy of One August Night here. Each copy of the book includes access to the online event. We’ll send the event link to the email address you use to complete your order, 24 hours before the event. 25th […] See more »

Tim Parks

Wednesday 18th August, 7.30pm

Bestselling author Tim Parks follows the hair-raising journey of Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi, 250-miles on foot from Rome to Ravenna, to explore Italy’s past and present. In the summer of 1849, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Italy’s legendary revolutionary hero, was finally forced to abandon his defence of Rome. He and his men had held the besieged city […] See more »

Ronald Hutton on Oliver Cromwell

Thursday 26th August, 7.30pm

Ely’s most famous past resident is also one of the most complex and controversial figures in English history. An obscure Fenland property-owner who became an innovative self-taught general and eventually  head of state, Oliver Cromwell is, for some, a champion of liberty, for others a fiercely intolerant tyrant and mass-murderer. Who better to untangle Cromwellian […] See more »

An Evening with Pat Barker

Thursday 2nd September, 7.30pm

We are delighted to announce an exclusive virtual event with the phenomenal, bestselling writer and Booker Prize winner, author of The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker. Pat joins us to celebrate and discuss her latest novel, The Women of Troy, which continues her extraordinary and critically acclaimed retelling of one of our greatest myths. […] See more »

Francis Pryor

Monday 6th September, 7.30pm

From the critically acclaimed author of The Fens comes an invigorating journey through Britain’s prehistoric landscape, and an insight into the lives of its inhabitants. Distinguished archaeologist Francis Pryor paints a vivid picture of Britain’s prehistory, from the Old Stone Age (about one million years ago) to the arrival of the Romans in AD 43, in […] See more »

An Evening with Francis Spufford

Friday 10th September, 7.30pm

‘Dazzling’ The Times … ‘Exceptional’ Guardian …‘Brilliant’ Observer … ‘Extraordinary’ Financial Times November 1944. A German rocket strikes London, and five young lives are atomised in an instant. November 1944. That rocket never lands. A single second in time is altered, and five young lives go on — to experience all the unimaginable changes of the […] See more »

Alan Johnson

Monday 13th September, 7.30pm

Gary reads the words ‘HELP ME’ scrawled in sticky black letters on the glass… Gary Nelson has a routine for the commute to his rather dull job in the city. Each day, he watches as a woman on the train applies her make up in a ritual he now knows by heart. He’s never dared […] See more »

Joanne Harris

Tuesday 14th September, 7.30pm

Now I’m in charge, the gates are my gates. The rules are my rules. It’s an incendiary moment for St Oswald’s school. For the first time in its history, a headmistress is in power, the gates opening to girls. Rebecca Buckfast has spilled blood to reach this position. Barely forty, she is just starting to […] See more »

Dave Goulson

Wednesday 15th September, 7.30pm

Our collective lack of understanding and shortsightedness has brought us to the brink of ecogical disaster. We have disregarded the warnings for too long and simply cannot afford to ignore Dave Goulson’s tremendously timely book. — George McGavin Insects are essential for life as we know it. As they become more scarce, our world will […] See more »

Harry Sidebottom

Thursday 30th September, 7.30pm

 AD265 – In the shadow of Mount Etna, slaves are rising up. As the rebel leader declares Sicily the new land of the free, men and women are slaughtered, and cities across the island are sacked and burned. When a ship is wrecked off the island’s west coast, all but two survivors are cut down […] See more »

Gyles Brandreth

Monday 11th October, 7.30pm

‘I am what my childhood made me.’ But what is that exactly, Gyles? Who are you? And why? In Odd Boy Out Gyles Brandreth provides an extraordinarily revealing account of growing up and coming of age in an apparently well-to-do but always strapped-for-cash middle-class English family. It is a story about the ordinary things – family life, […] See more »

Michael Morpurgo

Thursday 21st October, 7.30pm

The UK’s favourite storyteller is back in Ely! The wonderful Michael Morpurgo joins us for an evening of live music, poetry and storytelling. To celebrate the publication of The Carnival of the Animals we’ll be welcoming the country’s most celebrated author together with musicians for the most magical evening of our Autumn Literary Festival. A […] See more »

Colin Thubron

Wednesday 27th October, 7.30pm

In his 80th year, acclaimed travel writer and novelist Colin Thubron made a dramatic and ambitious journey along the almost unknown river that divides China and Russia. The tenth longest river in the world, rising in the Mongolian  mountains and flowing through Siberia to the Pacific, the Amur River forms the tense border between Russia […] See more »

Simon Armitage

Thursday 4th November, 7.30pm

“You’re beautiful because when you were born, undiscovered planets lined up to peep over the rim of your cradle and lay gifts of gravity and light at your miniature feet”   In March 2020 Simon Armitage launched a podcast, The Poet Laureate Has Gone To His Shed, also broadcast on BBC Radio 4. It’s been […] See more »

Max Hastings

Monday 8th November, 7.30pm

The gripping story of an epic battle at sea, from one of Britain’s most acclaimed historians of war. In August 1942, beleaguered Malta was within weeks of surrender to the Axis, because its 300,000 people could no longer be fed. Churchill made a personal decision that at all costs, the ‘island fortress’ must be saved. […] See more »

An Evening with Mary Beard

Tuesday 9th November, 7.30pm

From the bestselling author of SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, the fascinating story of how images of Roman autocrats have influenced art, culture, and the representation of power for more than 2,000 years What does the face of power look like? Who gets commemorated in art and why? And how do we react to statues of […] See more »

Jenny Uglow

Wednesday 17th November, 7.30pm

From one of our most admired writers, a beautifully illustrated story of a dynamic artistic partnership between the wars. In 1922, Cyril Power, a fifty-year old architect, left his family to work with the twenty-four year old Sybil Andrews. They would be together for twenty years. Both became famous for their dynamic, modernist linocuts, streamlined, […] See more »

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