An Evening With Tim Bentinck - AKA David Archer!
Nov
19
7:00 PM19:00

An Evening With Tim Bentinck - AKA David Archer!

Come an enjoy an in conversation event with this witty and erudite actor as he launches his book about his hugely rich and varied life; as well as radio fame and a successful TV career, he's had a number of jobs ranging from HGV driver and computer programmer to U.S. tour guide and farm worker... as well as being the Earl of Portland and the voice of 'Mind the Gap' on the Piccadilly line!

Being David Archer and Other Unusual Ways of Earning a Living by Tim Bentinck

7.00pm Aylsham Town Hall. Doors 6.30pm

£6 from the website or shop in person or on 01603 219268

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Alex Langlands
Nov
7
6:30 PM18:30

Alex Langlands

Well known for his many television appearances, presenting on series such as Edwardian Farm, Victorian Farm and Wartime Farm, as well as Tales From the Green Valley and Time Team, Alex is also a writer and academic. His first book is released this autumn and we are thrilled he has chosen to trek across Britain from his home in Wales to talk at Aylsham. A brilliant speaker with a deep rooted passion for his subject, this will be a lively and fascinating evening...

Cræft

In a period of meaningless mass manufacturing, our growing appetite for hand-made objects, artisan food, and craft beverages reveals our deep cravings for tradition and quality. But there was a time when craft meant something very different; the Old English word cræft possessed an almost indefinable sense of knowledge, wisdom, and power. In this fascinating book, historian and popular broadcaster Alex Langlands goes in search of the mysterious lost meaning of cræft. Through a vibrant series of mini-histories, told with his trademark energy and charm, Langlands resurrects the ancient craftspeople who fused exquisite skill with back-breaking labour-and passionately defends the renewed importance ofcræft today.

November 7th - 6.30pm doors - 7.00pm talk

Tickets are £6 from The Book Hive, by phone on 01603219268 or in our online shop here.

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Francis Spufford
Oct
12
6:30 PM18:30

Francis Spufford

It is a great pleasure to be able to welcome to our Aylsham event series the highly esteemed writer Francis Spufford. A writer of extraordinary range and depth, his works of non-fiction have won several major prizes and his debut novel Golden Hill, published last year, won the Costa best first novel award. He will be joining us to mark the publication of his first volume of essays - don't miss this rare chance to listen to a writer of such excellence talking about his work.

True Stories and Other essays

Francis Spufford’s welcome first volume of collected essays gathers an array of his compelling writings from the 1990s to the present. He makes use of a variety of encounters with particular places, writers or books to address deeper questions relating to the complicated relationship between story-telling and truth-telling. How must a nonfiction writer imagine facts, vivifying them to bring them to life? How must a novelist create a dependable world of story, within which facts are, in fact, imaginary? And how does a religious faith felt strongly to be true, but not provably so, draw on both kinds of writerly imagination?

Ranging freely across topics as diverse as the medieval legends of Cockaigne, the Christian apologetics of C. S. Lewis, and the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini, Spufford provides both fresh observations and thought-provoking insights. No less does he inspire an irresistible urge to turn the page and read on.

October 12th - 6.30pm doors - 7.00pm talk

Tickets are £6 from The Book Hive, by phone on 01603219268 or in our online shop here.

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Patrick Barkham
Sep
29
6:30 PM18:30

Patrick Barkham

Patrick Barkham is a local hero! Guardian columnist, journalist and nature writer and author of several acclaimed books including The Butterfly Isles and Badgerlands, this Norfolk boy has risen to the top of the pile of UK Natural History writers. We are thrilled that he has chosen Aylsham as the venue to launch his fantastic new book. Get in early to make sure you can be there at the start of this brilliant story...

Islander: A Journey Around Our Archipelago

 Britain is an archipelago made up of two large islands and 6,289 smaller ones. Some, like the Isle of Man, resemble miniature nations, with their own language and tax laws; others, like Ray Island in Essex, are abandoned and mysterious places haunted by myths, ghosts and foxes. There are resurgent islands such as Eigg, which have been liberated from capricious owners to be run by their residents; holy islands like Bardsey, the resting place of 20,000 saints, and still a site of spiritual questing; and deserted islands such as St Kilda, famed for the evacuation of its human population, and now dominated by wild sheep and seabirds.

In this evocative and vividly observed book, Patrick Barkham explores some of the most beautiful landscapes in Britain as he travels to ever-smaller islands in search of their special magic. Our small islands are both places of freedom and imprisonment, party destinations and oases of peace, strangely suburban and deeply wild. They are places where the past is unusually present, but they can also offer a vision of an alternative future. Meeting all kinds of islanders, from nuns to puffins, from local legends to rare subspecies of vole, he seeks to discover what it is like to live on a small island, and what it means to be an islander.

September 29th - 6.30 doors - 7.00pm talk

Tickets are £6 from The Book Hive, by phone on 01603219268 or in our online shop here.

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Alison Weir
Sep
21
6:30 PM18:30

Alison Weir

We are delighted to be welcoming back to Aylsham the marvelous Alison Weir, who gave a superb talk last year about our local heroine Anne Boleyn. This year Alison will be talking abut her new book which will be hot off the press at the time of the event. Don't miss this chance to hear her discuss another fascinating part of our history...

Queens of the Conquest

The story of England’s medieval queens is vivid and stirring, packed with tragedy, high drama and even comedy. It is a chronicle of love, murder, war and betrayal, filled with passion, intrigue and sorrow, peopled by a cast of heroines, villains, stateswomen and lovers. In the first volume of this epic new series, Alison Weir strips away centuries of romantic mythology and prejudice to reveal the lives of England’s queens in the century after the Norman Conquest. Beginning with Matilda of Flanders, who supported William the Conqueror in his invasion of England in 1066, and culminating in the turbulent life of the Empress Maud, who claimed to be queen of England in her own right and fought a bitter war to that end, the five Norman queens emerge as hugely influential figures and fascinating characters. Much more than a series of individual biographies, Queens of the Conquest is a seamless tale of interconnected lives and a rich portrait of English history in a time of flux. In Alison Weir’s hands these five extraordinary women reclaim their rightful roles at the centre of English history.

September 21st - 6.30pm doors - 7.00pm talk

Tickets are £6 from The Book Hive, by phone on 01603219268 or in our online shop here.

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Carol Ann Duffy
Dec
1
6:30 PM18:30

Carol Ann Duffy

The last event of the year - taking place in the beautiful parish church of Aylsham - promises to round 2016 off with great style. The Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy will be reading from collections spanning her whole career, and with the humour and charm which are the hallmarks of her public appearances she will once again remind us of the importance that poetry can play in all our lives. She will be joined by the musician John Sampson who travels with a collection of wired and wonderful instruments: Together they present a show which is by turns uplifting, touching and hugely entertaining. A perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit! Carol Ann will sign books, which will be for sale, after the reading. This event will be popular so book early to avoid disappointment! Tickets are available from the Book Hive online shop HERE  or by phone, email or in person. £15, £12 for under 18s.

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Nicholas Crane
Nov
4
6:30 PM18:30

Nicholas Crane

Join us in Aylsham Town Hall for an evening with the much respected and well renowned writer and broadcaster Nicholas Crane. Perhaps best known for his co-presenting of the long running BBC series Coast, Nick is also the president of The Royal Geographical Society as well as a writer and explorer. His new book, The Making of the British Landscape is published this October. Tickets are £12 in advance in our online shop HERE, by phone, email or in person.

Nicholas Crane's new book brilliantly describes the evolution of Britain's countryside and cities. It is part journey, part history, and it concludes with awkward questions about the future of Britain's landscapes. Nick Crane's story begins with the melting tongues of glaciers and the emergence of a gigantic game-park tentatively being explored by a vanguard of Mesolithic adventurers who have taken the long, northward hike across the land bridge from the continent. The Iron Age develops into a pre-Roman 'Golden Era' and Crane looks at what the Romans did (and didn't) contribute to the British landscape. Major landscape 'events' (Black Death, enclosures, urbanisation, recreation, etc.) are fully described and explored, and he weaves in the role played by geology in shaping our cities, industry and recreation, the effect of climate (and the Gulf Stream), and of global economics (the Lancashire valleys were formed by overseas markets). The co-presenter of BBC's COAST also covers the extraordinary benefits bestowed by a 6,000-mile coastline. The 12,000-year story of the British landscape culminates in the twenty-first century, which is set to be one of the most extreme centuries of change since the Ice Age. 

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Prof. David Crystal
Jun
21
7:00 PM19:00

Prof. David Crystal

David Crystal is Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Bangor. His many books range from clinical linguistics to the liturgy and Shakespeare. He is the author of The Story of English in 100 Words and Spell It Out: The Singular History of English Spelling. His Stories of English is a Penguin Classic. He will be delivering a talk called 'The pernickety story of English punctuation' based on his current best-selling book, Making a Point:

Behind every punctuation mark lie a thousand stories. The punctuation of English, marked with occasional rationality, is founded on arbitrariness and littered with oddities. For a system of a few dozen marks it generates a disproportionate degree of uncertainty and passion, inspiring organisations like the Apostrophe Protection Society and sending enthusiasts, correction-pens in hand, in a crusade against error across the United States. Professor Crystal leads us through this minefield with characteristic wit, clarity and commonsense. He gives a fascinating account of the origin and progress of every kind of punctuation mark over one and a half millennia, and he offers sound advice on how punctuation may be used to meet the needs of every occasion and context.

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Simon Armitage
May
10
7:00 PM19:00

Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage is one of our best known poets. He was born in West Yorkshire and is Professor of Poetry at the University of Sheffield. He has published ten collections of poetry, is the author of two novels as well as the bestselling memoir, All Points North. In 2010 he received the CBE for his services to poetry. Armitage's 2012 book Walking Home, an account of his troubadour journey along the Pennine Way, was a Sunday Times best-seller for over a month. He has now followed up that journey with a walk of the same distance but through the very opposite terrain and direction far from home. In Walking Away Simon Armitage swaps the moorland uplands of the north for the coastal fringes of Britain's south west, once again giving readings every night, but this time through Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, taking poetry into distant communities and tourist hot-spots, busking his way from start to finish. From the surreal pleasuredome of Minehead Butlins to a smoke-filled roundhouse on the Penwith Peninsula then out to the Isles of Scilly and beyond, Armitage tackles this personal Odyssey with all the poetic reflection and personal wit we've come to expect of one of Britain's best loved and most popular writers.

Simon will also be publishing his new translation of Pearl at the time he comes to Aylsham. A follow up to his translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl is another of the poems from that manuscript.

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Dan Cruickshank
Apr
11
7:00 PM19:00

Dan Cruickshank

Dan Cruickshank is a writer and architectural historian who has made numerous history and culture programmes for the BBC. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, was an editor on the Architects' Journal and The Architectural Review, was visiting Professor of Architecture at the University of Sheffield, has served on the executive committee of the Georgian Group and on the Architecture Panel of the National Trust, is a founding Trustee of the Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust, of SAVE Britain's Heritage and of the campaign to rebuild the Euston Arch.

His new book is A History of Architecture in 100 buildings. Featuring over 200 photographs, this stunning book by renowned television historian Dan Cruickshank tells the history of architecture through the stories of 100 iconic buildings. Journeying through time and place, from the ancient Egyptian pyramids to the soaring skyscrapers of Manhattan, renowned architectural historian Dan Cruickshank explores the most impressive and characterful creations in world architecture. His selection includes many of the world's best-known buildings that represent key or pioneering moments in architectural history, such as the Pantheon in Rome, Hagia Sophia in Turkey, the Taj Mahal in India and the Forbidden City in China. But the book also covers less obvious and more surprising structures, the generally unsung heroes of an endlessly fascinating story. Buildings like Oriel Chambers in Liverpool and the Narkomfin Apartment Building in Moscow. Dan Cruickshank has visited nearly all the buildings in the book, many in locations that are now inaccessible and under serious threat. A History of Architecture in 100 Buildings is an eloquent and often moving testimony to the power of great architecture to shape, and be shaped by, world history.

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Alison Weir
Mar
23
7:00 PM19:00

Alison Weir

Alison Weir is the biggest-selling female historian (and the fifth best-selling historian) in the United Kingdom. She has published twenty-one books and sold more than 2.7 million - over a million in the UK and more than 1.7 million in the USA. 

She will be delivering a talk in Aylsham about local heroine Anne Boleyn:

THE LADY IN THE TOWER: THE FALL OF ANNE BOLEYN

The imprisonment and execution of Queen Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII`s second wife, in 1536 was unprecedented in the annals of English history.  It was sensational in its day, and has exerted endless fascination over the minds of historians, novelists, dramatists, poets, artists and film-makers ever since.  It is also the stuff of which myths and legends were made – indeed, a spin was being put on the tale within a fortnight of Anne`s death.  Anne was imprisoned in the Tower on 2nd May 1536, and tried and found guilty of high treason on 15th May.  Her supposed crimes included adultery with five men, one her own brother, and plotting the King`s death.  She was executed on 19th May.  Mystery surrounds the circumstances leading up to her arrest.  Alison Weir tells the story of one of the most tragic, cataclysmic and romantic episodes in history, and examines the circumstances of Anne's fall.  Hers is a thoroughly gripping story, and at its centre is one of the most charismatic, controversial, courageous and tragic heroines in history.

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Louis de Bernieres
Feb
25
7:00 PM19:00

Louis de Bernieres

Louis de Bernieres is the award winning author of many novels, including Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Birds Without Wings and most recently The Dust That Falls from Dreams:

In the brief golden years of King Edward VII's reign, Rosie McCosh and her three very different sisters are growing up in an eccentric household in Kent, with their neighbours the Pitt boys on one side and the Pendennis boys on the other. But their days of childhood adventure are shadowed by the approach of war that will engulf them on the cusp of adulthood. When the boys end up scattered along the Western Front, Rosie faces the challenges of life for those left behind. Confused by her love for two young men - one an infantry soldier and one a flying ace - she has to navigate her way through extraordinary times. Can she, and her sisters, build new lives out of the opportunities and devastations that follow the Great War? This magnificent and moving novel follows the lives of an unforgettable cast of characters as they strike out to seek what happiness can be built from the ruins of the old world.

Louis will be publishing a brand new collection of poetry the week he comes to Aylsham.

Of Love and Desire is a rich collection of love poems, written over a lifetime and capturing its many forms - from rapture, infatuation, urgency, to sorrow, heartache and disillusion. Poetry was de Bernieres' first and greatest literary love, a passion evident in the musicality and emotion of his poems, which are full of stories and the truth of lived experience. This, his second collection, bears the mark of many influences, from the classical Persian poets, to Neruda, to Quintus Smyrnaeus, to Brian Patten. Beautifully illustrated by Doland Sammut, this is an indispensable companion on the lover's journey.

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