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.

Mick Herron

Wednesday 27th June, 7.15pm

**Please note the date change** Twenty-six-year-old Maggie Barnes is someone you would never look at twice. Living alone in a month-to-month sublet in London, with no family but an estranged sister, no boyfriend or partner, and not much in the way of friends, Maggie is just the kind of person who could vanish from the face of […] See more »


Professor Christopher Andrew

Tuesday 3rd July, 7.30pm

Professor  Christopher Andrew  is undoubtedly the world’s  leading authority on intelligence, having pioneered its study at Cambridge University. The author of many books, including Defence of the Realm: the authorized History of MI5 ,and the two volumes of the Mitrohkin Archive, Professor Andrew has now written the widest ranging history of intelligence and security operations yet […] See more »


Reading Group – J.G. Farrell’s Troubles

Monday 9th July, 7.30pm

Troubles tells the comic yet melancholy tale of an Englishman, Major Brendan Archer, who in 1919 goes to County Wexford in Ireland to reunite with his fiancée, Angela Spencer. From the crumbling Majestic Hotel at Kilnalough, he watches Ireland’s fight for independence from Britain “Had he not sadly died so young,” Salman Rushdie said in 2008, “there is no […] See more »


Reading Group – Robert Harris Munich

Monday 9th July, 7.30pm

Munich, september 1938:Hitler is determined to start a war, Chamberlain is desperate to preserve the peace. They will meet in a city which forever afterwards will be notorious for what is about to take place. As Chamberlain’s plane judders over the channel and the Fuhrer’s train steams south, two young men travel with their leaders. Former […] See more »


An Evening with Matt Haig

Wednesday 11th July, 7.30pm

The world is messing with our minds. Rates of stress and anxiety are rising. A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. We are more connected, yet feel more alone. And we are encouraged to worry about everything from world politics to our body mass index. How can we stay sane on a planet that makes us mad? […] See more »


Stella Tillyard: The Great Level

Wednesday 18th July, 7.30pm

We are delighted to welcome historian and writer Stella Tillyard, to talk about her latest novel, The Great Level.  Set in the Fens and the New World, it is a dramatic and elemental story about two people whose differences draw them together then drive them apart. In 1649, Jan Brunt, a Dutchman, arrives in England […] See more »


An Evening with Louis de Bernières

Tuesday 24th July, 7.30pm

Rosie and Daniel have moved to Ceylon with their little daughter to start a new life at the dawn of the 1920s, attempting to put the trauma of the First World War behind them, and to rekindle a marriage that gets colder every day. However, even in the lush plantation hills it is hard for […] See more »


Dale Pinnock

Wednesday 1st August, 7.30pm

Award-winning and highly qualified, Dale Pinnock, also known as the Medicinal Chef, is passionate about eating for good health. In Eat Shop Save, Dale turns his attention to recipes and meal planners to help people eat better, shop savvily and save money. Timed to coincide with this summer’s TV series, this is an evening which […] See more »


Daisy Johnson

Thursday 2nd August, 7.30pm

Gretel works as a lexicographer, updating dictionary entries, which suits her solitary nature. But a phone call from the hospital interrupts her isolation and throws up questions from long ago. She begins to remember the private vocabulary of her childhood. She remembers other things, too: the wild years spent on the river; the strange, lonely boy […] 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 »


An Evening with Michael Palin

Tuesday 2nd October, 7.30pm

Each £20 place booked includes admission to the event and a copy of the book (rrp £20). For an additional £4 you can bring a friend to the event. 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 […] 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 »


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 »