Past events

Author visits to Woodbridge

For Browsers, Catherine Larner organises author talks and book launches ranging from intimate gatherings of around 30 guests to large evening events with capacity audiences of more than 250 people. Recent guest authors 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


Tuesday 11th June 2019 at 7.30pm

One of our greatest writers about farming and rural life, Adrian Bell’s work spanned sixty years from 1920-80.

His observations about the ecology, economy and culture of the British countryside has much to say to a new generation.

Richard Hawking talked about the release of this new book ‘At the Field’s Edge’, the first full length appreciation of Bell’s work.

Martin Bell, the former BBC war reporter and Independent Member of Parliament from 1997 to 2001, joined us and shared some of the memories of his father during this very special evening.

Tickets £20 included a copy of the book (RRP£20) with one further ticket available for £10, without the book.

Wednesday 29th May 2019 at 2.00pm

Victoria's books are enjoyed by 10 million readers! They have enjoyed novels such as 'The Island', 'The Return' and 'The Thread', and won't fail to delight in her latest book called 'Those Who Are Loved', set against the backdrop of the German occupation of Greece.

"Everyone knows how much I love Greece," says Victoria, "but exploring this story has taken me to some new and disquieting places.

"'Those Who Are Loved' has been germinating for a decade now, from the moment I first saw the island of Makronisos from the Greek mainland.

"I was told it was uninhabited, but had been a prison camp for communists. The discovery compelled me to read about the Greek civil war (in which many women played a role), but of course it also meant researching the events that led to that conflict as well as the long-term after-effects that are still seen in Greece even today."

Tickets £20 included a copy of ‘Those Who Are Loved' (RRP£19.99). One additional ticket could be purchased at £10 without the book.

Read my report of Victoria's visit here.

Tuesday 7th May 2019 at 7.30pm

British composer Michael Tippett is considered among the most visionary of the twentieth century. His work included five operas and four symphonies, and the oratorio 'A Child of Our Time'. But little has been written about his extraordinary life - and his childhood was spent in Suffolk.

Oliver Soden has written an extraordinary account of the man revealing someone who was charming, stubborn and great fun, but who held secrets and sorrows.

Oliver has drawn on unpublished letters and manuscripts, and interviews with Tippett's friends and colleagues. And he introduces us to other notable figures of the time, with their influence on Tippett - T.S. Eliot, E.M. Forster, Barbara Hepworth, and W.H. Auden among them.

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

Tickets £22 inc a copy of the book (RRP £25.00), or £10 without.

Read my account of Oliver's visit here.


Tuesday 7th May 2019 at 1.00pm

Bestselling crime writer John Connolly was in conversation with Catherine Larner for this special lunchtime event at Woodbridge Library.

The hugely entertaining Irish writer, the author of 20 novels, is best known for his Charlie Parker mysteries.

While John was drawn to the American crime tradition to explore issues of compassion, morality, reparation and salvation, this new mystery brings Charlie Parker to the UK for the first time, and to East Anglia!

Ticket £18 included a copy of the book, and one additional ticket without the book could be purchased for £10.

Read my account of John's visit here.

Wednesday 17th April 2019 at 7.30pm

One of our favourite authors returned to Browsers to tell us all about her new novel, inspired by the shocking Lord Lucan case and the ‘lovely young nanny’ at its centre.

‘The Language of Birds’ is a compelling fictional account of the lives of two young nannies in London in the 1970s. Rosemary watches from the wings as her friend Mandy edges towards her tragic fate.

Jill is an acclaimed novelist, poet and anthologist. 'The Great Lover' was a Richard and Judy summer read. 'Fred and Edie was shortlisted for the Orange and Whitbread awards and 'Watch Me Disappear' was longlisted for the Orange Prize. 'The Language of Birds' is her tenth novel.

She joined us in 2016 to launch 'The Crime Writer, her extraordinary imagining of the time Patricia Highsmith lived in Suffolk.

Tickets were £18 including a copy of 'The Language of Birds' and one additional ticket could be purchased for £8 without the book.

Read my account of Jill's visit here.

Thursday 11th April 2019 at 7.30pm

Erin Kelly is a popular, best-selling thriller writer.

Her first novel, 'The Poison Tree', was a Richard and Judy bestseller and an ITV drama. Those that followed were 'The Sick Rose', 'The Burning Air', 'The Ties That Bind'.

Her last novel, 'He Said She Said', wowed the critics and readers with its original and provocative tale of a young couple who witness a rape and, after the trial, begin to wonder if they believed the right person.

This new book is set in her home county of Suffolk and imagines the lives touched by a mental hospital. The Victorians labelled these places 'stone mothers' because they thought the design of the building could nurse the sick back to health.

Marianne is an architect but her obsession with a particular property in Suffolk doesn't spring from its aesthetics. There is a secret held here that she is desperate never to reveal.

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!

Tickets were £14 to include a copy of 'Stone Mothers' (RRP£12.99) with one additional ticket available, without the book, for £8.

Read my account of Erin's visit 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.

Joanne has written 13 other novels, two cookbooks and many short stories. Her work covers magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy.

Tickets £20 inc a copy of the book (RRP £20). One additional ticket could be purchased without the book for £12.

Read my account of Joanne's visit here.

Wednesday 27th March 2019 at 7.30pm

Food writer and journalist, Sue Quinn visited us at the bookshop to introduce her new book 'Cocoa'.

Sue has investigated the history, production, culture, characteristics and appeal of chocolate in this fantastic new book, which also includes a selection of gloriously chocolatey recipes. She'll also told us something about her career as a food writer.

She was joined by Sally Jones, a member of the team from Pump Street Bakery at Orford who told all about their chocolate business as well as giving us tips on tasting chocolate. She handed round lots of delicious samples.

There was a glass of fizz on arrival, chocolate popcorn and shortbread to sample, and a gift of Pump Street chocolate and a copy of the new beautifully illustrated recipe and history book 'Cocoa' to take home.

Tickets were £25 including a copy of the book, all tastings and treats, and one additional ticket could be purchased for £10 without the book.

Read my 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 my report 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 my report of Julia's visit 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!

Read my report of her visit 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 my report of Diane's visit here.

Friday 7th December 2018 at 7.30pm

Former politician and now award-winning author Alan Johnson shared his memories to a packed audience at the Riverside. His stories, his jokes and his mimicry certainly held this crowd.

Read my report of Alan's visit here.

Friday 30th November 2018 at 7.30pm

You never forget evenings in the company of the extraordinary Maggi Hambling.

Tonight she told us all about her father's work.

Read all about the evening here.

Tuesday 20th November 2018 at 7.30pm

The Suffolk Sandlings, the strip of coastline from Lowestoft to Felixstowe, is an area unusually rich in military archaeology.

Historians Rob Liddiard and David Sims gave a fascinating and entertaining account of how they came to produce their detailed study of the wartime landscape.

Read my report of their visit here.

Monday 12th November 2018 at 7.30pm

The historian and tv presenter Dan Snow spoke without prompts or notes as he strolled back and forth on the stage telling us all about his love and passion for history.

He was a very popular speaker and people patiently waited in the long queue to have their book signed at the conclusion of the event.

Read my report of his visit here.