Past events

Author visits to Woodbridge

For Browsers, Catherine Larner organises and hosts author talks and book launches ranging from intimate gatherings of around 30 guests to large evening events with capacity audiences of up to 300 people. Recent guest authors have included Max Hastings, Victoria Hislop, Joanne Harris, Dan Snow, Kate Humble, Jeffery Deaver and Robert Peston.

Since launching the author talks more than 10 years ago, other speakers have included Alexander McCall Smith, Margaret Drabble, Kate Mosse and Deborah Moggach as well as Olympic rowing champion Katherine Grainger and antiques expert, Judith Miller.

In 2008 Catherine was the Artistic Director for the first Children’s Book Festival in Woodbridge, Suffolk, in association with Browsers Bookshop. There were four days of activities for children of all ages, and their parents. Many sessions were free and all were creatively run to ensure full interaction, participation and engagement throughout the community. Leading authors (including Philip Reeve, Nick Butterworth, Kevin Crossley-Holland and Meg Rosoff) presented at venues throughout the town. Supplementing the headline speakers there were launches of new books and authors, story playtimes for toddlers, a children’s comedian, storytelling trails around the town led by members of local amateur dramatic groups, and a dogwalking storytime by the river. It was an ambitious and varied programme which was professionally run and well-attended, creating a genuine excitement throughout the town.

Recent events


Thursday 26th September 2019 at 7.30pm

‘Stanley and Elsie’ reimagines the family life of famed painter Stanley Spencer, as seen through the eyes of his housekeeper, Elsie. The novel is a vivid and delicate portrait of the artist and the women who influenced his life.

Nicola gave a fascinating account of how she approached her subject, and also told us more about her popular Josephine Tey series of crime novels. Read an account of the event here.

Tuesday 24th September 2019 at 1.30pm

'Chastise: The Dambusters Story 1943' is a fascinating retake on legend in this history of the Dambusters raid from best-selling and critically acclaimed military historian, Max Hastings.

Max Hastings held a large audience in rapt attention for this afternoon talk which took place at Woodbridge Community Hall.

Read an account of the event here.

Monday 16th September 2019 at 1.00pm

Visiting us on one of his rare returns to the UK, the journalist, novelist, cookery writer and wine lover, Martin Walker talked to us about ‘The Body in the Castle Well’ his latest novel featuring ‘Bruno’, an unconventional village policeman who is also a gourmet cook and former soldier.

Martin had much to share with us about the fascinating life he's led, and the wonderful world he's created for Bruno in rural France. Read an account of the event here and Catherine's article here.

Tuesday 11th June 2019 at 7.30pm

Richard Hawking talked about the release of this new book ‘At the Field’s Edge’, the first full length appreciation of the work of Adrian Bell, one of our greatest writers about farming and rural life.

Martin Bell, the former BBC war reporter, joined us and shared some of the memories of his father during this very special evening. Read Catherine's article here.

Wednesday 29th May 2019 at 2.00pm

Best-selling novelist Victoria Hislop joined us at Woodbridge Community Hall for the start of a nationwide tour promoting her new book, ’Those Who Are Loved'. Read an account of Victoria's visit here and Catherine's article here.

This is Victoria's second visit to Browsers. In 2016 the venue was Woodhall Manor as Victoria talked to us about 'Cartes Postales from Greece'. Read about that event here and Catherine's article here.

Tuesday 7th May 2019 at 7.30pm

Oliver Soden has written an extraordinary account of British composer Michael Tippett revealing someone who was charming, stubborn and great fun, but who held secrets and sorrows.

This is a stunning book and Oliver's passion and enthusiasm for his subject and this project was infectious.

Read an account of Oliver's visit here and Catherine's article here.

Tuesday 7th May 2019 at 1.00pm

The hugely entertaining, bestselling crime writer John Connolly is the author of 20 novels. Best known for his Charlie Parker mysteries, he talked of how he travelled to East Anglia as one of the locations for a European setting in this new title in the series 'A Book of Bones'.

John also talked to us about the writing process in a wide-ranging and fascinating lunchtime event. Read an account of John's visit here and Catherine's article here.

Wednesday 17th April 2019 at 7.30pm

‘The Language of Birds’ is  inspired by the shocking Lord Lucan case and the ‘lovely young nanny’ at its centre. Read an account of Jill's visit here.

This is Jill's 10th novel. She joined us in 2016 to launch 'The Crime Writer, her extraordinary imagining of the time Patricia Highsmith lived in Suffolk. Read about that visit here.

Thursday 11th April 2019 at 7.30pm

Erin Kelly is a popular, best-selling thriller writer. This new book is set in her home county of Suffolk and imagines the lives touched by an abandoned mental hospital, and the secrets it holds.

Erin shared something of the inspiration for this book as well as her passion for writing generally. A mentor and lecturer on creative writing courses, she also gave tips to burgeoning novelists!

Read an account of Erin's visit here and Catherine's article here.

Friday 5th April 2019 at 8.00pm

The author of the Whitbread-shortlisted novel and  Oscar-nominated film, ‘Chocolat’ introduced her long-awaited latest installment called ‘The Strawberry Thief’.

Vianne Rocher and Rosette are happily running the chocolate shop in the square until life is disrupted by the death of the florist, Narcisse and a mysterious new shop opens in town.

Read an account of Joanne's visit here.

Wednesday 27th March 2019 at 7.30pm

Food writer and journalist, Sue Quinn visited us to introduce her new book 'Cocoa' and was joined by Sally Jones from Pump Street Bakery at Orford to talk about their chocolate business.

There was a glass of fizz on arrival, chocolate popcorn and shortbread to sample, chocolate tasting and a gift of Pump Street chocolate as well as a copy of the new beautifully illustrated recipe and history book 'Cocoa' to take home. Read an account of the evening here.

Wednesday 6th March 2019 at 7.30pm

‘The Pull of the River’ is an engaging adventure story about two men exploring Britain’s rivers in a hand-made wooden canoe. It is also a beautiful observation of the natural world, and a fascinating cultural history, and has won great acclaim from leading nature writers.

Author, Matt Gaw was a charming guest who delighted the audience with tales of his canoeing mishaps, sighting of a beaver and... otter poo! Read an account of Matt's visit here.

Wednesday 20th February 2019 at 7.30pm

Julia Blackburn held an attentive audience as she talked about her search for Doggerland, a huge and fertile area that once connected the entire east coast of England with mainland Europe, until it was finally submerged by rising sea levels around 5000 BC.

Read an account of Julia's visit here and Catherine's article here.

Wednesday 13th February 2019 at 7.30pm

We had a capacity audience to meet Elly Griffiths at Woodbridge Library.

This was her third visit to us at Browsers, and she just gets better and better. Her stories about the inspiration for her bestselling books are fascinating and she's very funny. We're looking forward to her next visit already!

This event was sold out. Read an account of the event here.

Tuesday 15th January 2019 at 1.00pm

The audience was held spellbound by all that Diane had to share with us, not just about this fabulous new book but also about her attitude to life and writing. She's astonishing!

Visiting us at lunchtime, in Woodbridge Library, ahead of her official promotional tour, copies of the book were released early especially for us.

Read an account of Diane's visit here.

Friday 7th December 2018 at 7.30pm

Former politician and now award-winning author Alan Johnson shared his memories with a packed audience at the Riverside.

His stories, his jokes and his mimicry certainly held this crowd.

Read an account of Alan's visit here.