Our forthcoming events are listed below. We would love to see you here, but seating is very limited so please book early to avoid disappointment.
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You can also call or email the bookshop on 020 7229 1010, to reserve your tickets.

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Saturday 8th October 2016, 2pm-3.30pm (£25 including book, tea and supplies)
POPPY CHANCELLOR: Cut it Out, a Papercutting workshop
More Information and Booking

Tuesday 25th October 2016, 7.30pm (£25 including book / £10 ticket only / £5 concessions)
RORY STEWART discusses The Marches
More Information and Booking

Tuesday 22nd November 2016, 7pm (£10 ticket only / £5 concessions)
More Information and Booking

Tuesday 29th November 2016, 7pm (£15 ticket only)
HENRY JEFFREYS discusses Empire of Booze
More Information and Booking


Saturdays at 10.30am – STORYTIME
Half an hour of reading for the under-five set, just turn up!

Wednesday 26th October 2016, 10.15am – JUKE BOOKS
To take part in Juke Books, please email

Monday 31st October 2016, 1pm – DAYLIGHT BOOK CLUB: DARK MATTER
To join this book club, please email

Wednesday 9th November 2016, 1pm – LUNCHTIME CLASSICS BOOK CLUB: VANITY FAIR (Chapters 1-35)
To join this book club, please email

Thursday 8th December 2016, 1pm – LUNCHTIME CLASSICS BOOK CLUB: VANITY FAIR (Chapter 36 onwards)
To join this book club, please email


Tuesday 4th October 2016
BEN MACINTYRE discussed SAS: Rogue Heroes

Tuesday 20th September
TED SANDLING discussed London In Fragments

Tuesday 28th June
HISHAM MATAR discussed The Return with WILLIAM FIENNES

Tuesday 21st June
ANITA BROOKNER: A panel discussion
Chaired by Juliet Annan, with Carmen Callil, Rachel Cooke and Tessa Hadley

Thursday 9th June 2016
EMMA CLINE discussed The Girls with Alexandra Heminsley

Tuesday 24th May 2016
PHILIPPE SANDS discussed East West Street with KATE FIGES

Tuesday 17th May 2016
JOHN PRESTON discussed A Very English Scandal with ROLAND PHILLIPS

Tuesday 19th April 2016

Tuesday 16th February 2016
ELIZABETH STROUT discussed My Name is Lucy Barton with CRESSIDA CONNOLLY

Tuesday 8th December 2015
ADAM PHILLIPS discussed Unforbidden Pleasures

Wednesday 28th October 2015
GARTH RISK HALLBERG discussed City on Fire with Tom Sutcliffe

Wednesday 30th September2015
Grief… and Happiness: MAX PORTER and JACK UNDERWOOD were in Conversation

Tuesday 29th September 2015
SEBASTIAN FAULKS discussed Where My Heart Used to Beat

Wednesday 9th September 2015

Wednesday 2nd September 2015
BILL CLEGG was in Conversation with ROLAND PHILIPPS

Tuesday 1st September 2015

Thursday 13th August 2015
DAVID GATES and STUART EVERS were in Conversation

Tuesday 14th July 2015

Tuesday 23rd June 2015
Conversation & Clothes Swap with LEANNE SHAPTON

Tuesday 16th June 2015
JAMES WOOD discussed The Nearest Thing to Life

Tuesday 2nd June 2015
HADLEY FREEMAN discussed Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned from Eighties Movies.

Wednesday 27th May 2015

Tuesday 19th May 2015
Doctors Dissected
MARTIN SCURR & JANE HAYNES were in Conversation

Tuesday 12th May 2015
Germany & Britain

Tuesday 5th May 2015
On The Wilder Shores of Love
GEORGIA DE CHAMBERET discussed the life and works of Lesley Blanch with ELISA SEGRAVE

Wednesday 29th April 2015
Love, Sex & Other Foreign Policy Goals

Tuesday 21st April 2015
Who Governs Britain & Get it Together

Tuesday, 3rd March 2015
ALEXANDRA FULLER discussed Leaving Before the Rains Come

Thursday 26th February 2015
DANA THOMAS discussed Gods & Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano

Tuesday 25th November 2014
WILL SELF and IAIN SINCLAIR discussed JG Ballard

Tuesday 28th October 2014

Wednesday 15th October 2014
TIMOTHY DONNELLY was in conversation with ADAM PHILLIPS

Tuesday 1st July
ADAM PHILLIPS on Becoming Freud

Thursday 29th May 2014
JOANNA RAKOFF discussed My Salinger Year with RACHEL COOKE

Wednesday 28th May 2014

Wednesday 21st May 2014

Tuesday 13th May 2014
PATRICK NESS discussed More than This with VIV GROSKOP

Tuesday 6th May 2014

Thursday 24th April 2014
ALICE GREENWAY and REBECCA HUNT were in conversation

Tuesday 25th March 2014, 7pm (£8)
BEN MACINTYRE on A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

Tuesday 18th March 2014
REBECCA MEAD was in conversation with FERNANDA EBERSTADT on The Road to Middlemarch

Tuesday 4th March 2014
BEN WATT was in conversation with JOHN NIVEN

Thursday 6th February 2014
JAMES LASDUN was in conversation with ADAM PHILLIPS

Monday 2nd December 2013
Nina Stibbe was in conversation with Nick Hornby

Wednesday 27th November 2013
Adam Phillips was in Conversation with Lisa Appignanesi

Wednesday 30th October 2013
Emily Berry was in conversation with Adam Phillips

Thursday 5th September 2013

Wednesday 28th August 2013, 7pm
Leanne Shapton in conversation with Craig Taylor

Thursday 15th August 2013
The Interestings and Clever Girl
Meg Wolitzer and Tessa Hadley in conversation.

Tuesday 16th July 2013
Philipp Meyer discussed The Son with Chris Cleave

Thursday 11th July 2013
Holland House
A Talk by Linda Kelly

Tuesday 2nd July 2013
The Woman Upstairs
Claire Messud talked to Kate Figes

Monday 1st July 2013
Ruth Ozeki and Matt Haig were in conversation with Jamie Byng

Thursday, 6th June 2013
Curtis Sittenfeld Discussed Sisterland with Viv Groskop

Wednesday 1st May 2013
Ron Rash discussed Nothing Gold Can Stay

Tuesday April 30th 2013
William Sutcliffe and John McCarthy were in conversation with William Sieghart

Wednesday 27th March 2013
Oli Hazzard was in conversation with Adam Phillips

Wednesday 13th February 2013
Stephen Grosz and Andrew Solomon were in conversation with Cressida Connolly

Wednesday, 6th February 2013
Lucy Hughes-Hallett discussed The Pike

Monday, 21st January 2013
Don Paterson was in conversation with Adam Phillips

Wednesday, November 28th 2012
Connie Bensley was in conversation with Adam Phillips

Wednesday, September 12th 2012
Jane Draycott was in conversation with Adam Phillips

Monday, September 10th 2012
Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi discussed Jerusalem with Giles Fraser

Wednesday, August 1st 2012
Leanne Shapton discussed Swimming Studies with Craig Taylor

Tuesday, July 3rd 2012
Ned Beauman and Nick Harkaway discussed The Teleportation Accident and Angelmaker with Roland Philipps

Thursday, 21st June 2012
Kate Summerscale discussed Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace with India Knight

Tuesday, 12th June 2012
Adam Phillips discussed Missing Out with Giles Fraser

Monday, 28th May 2012
Chad Harbach on The Art of Fielding

Monday, 23rd April 2012
Ben Macintyre discussed Double Cross

Thursday, 19th April 2012
Peter Stamm discussed Seven Years with Adam Thirlwell

Wednesday, 21st March 2012
Philip Gross was in conversation with Adam Phillips

Wednesday, 14th March 2012
Sadakat Kadri was in conversation with Barnaby Rogerson

Wednesday, 22nd February 2012
John Fuller was in conversation with Adam Phillips

Thursday, 9th February 2012
Lavinia Greenlaw was in conversation with Ted Hodgkinson of Granta Magazine

Tuesday, 31st January 2012
Laura Del-Rivo and Michael Horovitz were in Conversation with Julian Mash

Tuesday, 22nd November 2011
Cressida Connolly and Vendela Vida were in Conversation

Thursday, 17th November 2011
Adam O’ Riordan was in Conversation with Adam Phillips

Wednesday, 28th September 2011
Bernard O’Donoghue was in Conversation with Adam Phillips

Thursday, 23rd June 2011
Hisham Matar was in Conversation with Philippe Sands

Tuesday, 31st May 2011
Evelyn Juers discussed The House of Exile

Wednesday, 25th May 2011
John Burnside was in conversation with Adam Phillips

Monday, 23rd May 2011
Nicola Shulman discussed Graven With Diamonds with Alan Jenkins

Thursday, 19th May 2011
Wilson Stephens Jones Decorative Arts Sale

Wednesday, 11th May 2011
David Miller and David Flusfeder discussed Today and A Film By Spencer Ludwig

Wednesday, 20th April 2011
Christopher Reid was in conversation with Adam Phillips

Sunday, 10th April 2011
James Frey discussed The Final Testament of the Holy Bible with Kate Muir

Sunday, 23rd March 2011
Jennifer Egan discussed A Visit From the Goon Squad

Thursday, 17th March 2011
Jesse Norman discussed The Big Society with Anthony Fry

Wednesday, 16th March 2011
Jo Shapcott was in conversation with Adam Phillips

Wednesday, 26th January 2011
Emma Forrest discussed Your Voice in My Head with Jon Ronson

Wednesday, 24th November 2010
Geoff Dyer discussed Working The Room

Wednesday, 17th November 2010
Adam Phillips discussed On Balance

Wednesday, 3rd November 2010
Justine Picardie discussed Coco Chanel: A Life

Wednesday, 15th September 2010
Rebecca Hunt and Ned Beauman discussed Mr Chartwell and Boxer Beetle


October 23, 2016
Amaryllis Does It Herself

I had a few days off at the beginning of the wee:. I didn’t go anywhere; like Dorothy I prefer home and home is very beautiful at this time of year. It was made more so by the arrival of thousands of Brent Geese from Siberia tempted by the legendary happiness of my part of the world and the finest green algae. It is glorious to see them in flight formation and extraordinarily deafening to hear thousands of them honking with glee, a great improvement on the sounds of the city.

As well as watching and listening to the geese, I decided to put my few days to good use and indulge my artistic bent by making a start on decorating my living space. I started with the bookshelves: try as I might, I could find no way round painting the shelves whilst the books were on them so I had to remove and rehome hundreds of books before I could begin. I wished that my children could have chosen this weekend for a visit despite their constant refrain that I have too many books… but after the zillionth trip up and down the stepladder I was starting to think that maybe they had a point. I mean I would reread some of them but probably not most of them and those that had been reread were looking a bit shabby etc etc. But once I had cleared the shelves I realised how naked and boring the walls looked. Books really do furnish a room, especially when you don’t have much else in the way of furnishings. They provide colour, insulation, interest and a talking point. I don’t mean to be judgemental but books are the first things I look for and the non-existence or lack of books is not a great start to any relationship. What happens in the event of an awkward silence over the cups of coffee without the title of a book jumping out to rescue you? In fact, generally, I don’t see the point of any conversation that doesn’t begin with ‘have you read…’ or ‘recently I read’. So, I didn’t actually throw any books out and they will soon be returned to their lovingly, although not terribly neatly it has to be said, painted shelves.

I made a very exciting discovery on the last day of my mini-holiday: I was ambling through the streets near to home, when I spotted a shop sign that made my heart sing – bookshop – which I hadn’t seen before! So I entered forthwith into one of the most beautiful second hand bookshops in recent memory. It was a jewel of a bookshop: not very big but the books were delightfully arranged by publisher and so all the old orange penguins were together and the blue and the green and the silver; and the old picadors and penguin black classics. These were the days when Penguin covers were artistic gems in a kaleidoscope of colours and the books could sit on a table for more than a day without expanding to resemble a fan… It was beautifully stocked, just the sort of books you would find in the home of a kindred spirit; actually it was very like my own collection!

Not a terribly great week for reading: a dreadful new book about arctic exploration which promised so much but mistakenly decided half-way through that exploration of the body in a 50 Shades of Grey sort of way was the way to go. I am, however, loving Hagseed, Margaret Atwood’s new rendition of the Tempest not least because it has a passage that lists all the Shakespearean words of abuse that apply admirably and timelessly to Trump, Blair, Green amongst others.

Lastly, I would like to say how I shall much I shall miss my monthly telephone conversation with a dear fellow reader and lover of such wonderful books as Dorothy Whipple, Barbara Pym and Elena Ferrante. Her honest and engaging response to my selection of books was a treat and always brightened up my day.

October 15, 2016
Amaryllis is Not Amused

Christmas is coming. We know this not because geese are getting visibly fat but because of the rising preponderance of so called humour books… Last year the Christmas best-seller lists were topped by the Ladybird spoofs: these were formatted on an idea by someone who published an original parody entitled We Go to the Gallery but forgot about copyright. Penguin tried to sue and then realised what a brilliant idea it was but failed, as so often publishers do, to realise that less is more… They brought out six titles and the books found themselves in every secret santa and stocking and by January they were to be found in every charity shop in the country! But undeterred, Penguin have brought out more books for every ‘day’ of the year (see last week) and this Christmas they plan to excel themselves with about 10 new spoofs! Great to see original and thoughtful publishing at the forefront this Christmas. See also, more guinea pigs dressed up in 18th costume for our amusement, more pictures of ‘funny’ buildings and too many books from blogposts. Now, I like a giggle as much as anybody but I just don’t find these books funny. And, it can’t be because I’m old because obviously I’m not!

To make the matter even worse, publishers are very like proverbial sheep; everything one can do, the others (think) they can do better. So the publishers of the Famous Five have our trepid adventurers all grown up and engaged in parenting, strategy and ginger beer and fruitcake free diets. Another has taken the old I-Spy books to another and definitely not improved level. And so on and so on until every beloved literary memory from our childhood has been adulterated and we won’t be able to remember our favourite characters in a prelapsarian existence. It follows on from the dismal colouring books for adults phenomenon which saturated the market, a sop for people who didn’t know what to do once they had put their phone down so why not waste some more time by colouring in detailed but pointless images. We are all fiddling like Nero as time Trump gets into the White House and Syria burns whilst we worry about staying within the lines…

Anyway, thankfully there are still real books about. This week I read Transit by Rachel Cusk which was a wryly intelligent and engaging fictional account of life after divorce. I also read a forgotten classic, Now in November, by Josephine Johnson which was a very bleak account of surviving the drought in Depression era America but was so beautifully written. I am now reading Thin Air by Michelle Paver and thought about buying a ticket to Inverness so I could stay on the warm train and read this chilling ghost story all the way through. I often dream of doing this – just booking a train journey to some distant place, getting off, having a cup of coffee and then coming home again.

October 7, 2016
Amaryllis Celebrates Her Independence

So, I had just got over the dire man Booker shortlist and was luxuriating in animated book group discussions when some self important Italian journalist came up with his nasty little expose… Having trawled through her financial transactions – is that even legal? – Claudio Gatti triumphantly proclaimed that Elena Ferrante, author of some of the best books I have read in the last few decades, was not actually Elena Ferrante. She is in fact, well you’ll have to read his article yourself because I didn’t want to know and, as far as I can make out, nor did anyone else apart from Mr Gatti himself. She, Ferrante, as she will always be to me, has consistently avoided publicity and asked repeatedly to remain anonymous. In an age of the selfie and gross over- self publicity, her writing is a pure gift to the reader, an unalloyed narrative with no strings. But Mr Gatti is obviously of the type (male) that thinks that when a person (female) says one thing, she means the exact opposite. He says she is fair game because she has lied about her background in her forthcoming book of essays: obviously not an Agatha Christie fan or he would have heard of red herrings… His article seems to imply outrage that she has commanded large sums from best selling novels under a pen name when presumabably she has foregone large sums by refusing to cash in on her very deserved success. Anyway, for me and everyone I have spoken to, the books speak for themselves. However incalculable damage will have been done by Mr Gatti if Ferrante never publishes again as she has said would be the result of a loss of her anonymity. [T writes, we will not be linking to the offending article, for obvious reasons]

Interestingly, we read All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville West in our classics book club yesterday: Lady Slade, 88 years old and recently widowed decides, to the discomfort of her children, that she wants to move to a small house in Hampstead. She does so and having practically barred said horrible children and too youthful grandchildren from the house, settles down to a life of freedom and contemplation for the first time in her life. Vita Sackville West wrote the book as a response to and reflection on Virginia woolf’s A Room Of Her Own, a book still pertinent in the violation of Ferrante’s freedom and space by a self-righteous crusader in search of a story.

Tomorrow is the first National Bookshop Day. I am not a fan generally of ‘days’ – too exclusive! Valentine’s Day/Mother’s Day not really great for the single and childfree, dripping with sentiment and overpriced roses as if we can’t show love and appreciation unless everyone else is doing it too. Of course, Easter Day is different because it involves chocolate and partners and children are not necessary and not in fact desirable in order not to have to share.

I can’t decide about a National Bookshop Day – it doesn’t really hurt anyone but it feels unnecessary – everyday is potentially a day to visit a bookshop and we are not sheep and some people may not want or need a book tomorrow! But to grace the occasion I have decided to create a special window of all my favourite books, well, not all obviously, as big as our window is, it’s not that big! Also, I think we might as well have some chocolate!

September 30, 2016
Autumn Amaryllis

Tomorrow it will be the first of October, practically Autumn, season of mists, mellow fruitfulness and cosy evenings huddled up against the radiator with a big book!

At this time of the year, thoughts turn to old familiars and the Penguin classics on my shelf stand up taller and start giving me the eye, pick me, pick me! It is jolly hard to choose, but the first author who usually comes to mind is Dickens, probably because he was my first love, and although I have read all his books several times, lengthening shadows and failing light send me willingly back into the arms of Pip or Esther or David. But I would be just as happy with Jane or Catherine or Anne or Dorothea. So am delighted to have our Classics book club up and running. FD has chosen Vanity Fair for our next read which is a treat for me. JAM is a bit fazed by the size but FD and I are just ignoring her and going with it. Just wait until she has to read Clarissa…

But it’s not just nineteenth century classics that appeal at this time, Pym, Taylor, Wodehouse, Greene, Powell and so on are all screaming to be revisited. In fact the only prerequisite for a cosy, consoling read seems to be that it has been read before. Much as I love the clarity and colour of Autumn days, it’s not all conkers and magnificent sunsets and new Start Rite shoes… The year is entering old age and so inevitably breathes and breeds melancholy. Happily I am forewarned and forearmed and only need a couple of kittens to complete my bliss but hopefully that will be another story…

Anyway, luckily for us sensitive souls, the sun doesn’t seem to realise it is October, so I am happily still reading new books. I have just read Emma Donoghue’s new book, The Wonder which is set in mid-Nineteenth Century Ireland and which slowly builds the tension to a nail-biting finale. I have just re-read His Bloody Project, which was one of the Man Booker shortlisted titles that I actually liked, for a book club.

And I am two-thirds through a shocking and very timely book by Raoul Martinez which details the corruption, hypocrisy, lies and irresponsibility of many of our political and financial and business institutions where money speaks far louder than democratic ideals of freedom, morality, responsibility and equality. It should be a set text for all A-level students to inform them about what they’ll be up against and maybe even encourage them to set aside their phones and stand up and revolt as their chartist forefathers did nearly 200 years ago – although I suppose that didn’t end so well…

September 26, 2016
Amaryllis Tunes In

There are people in the world who are fortunate enough to have partners who read to them, people such as our dear JF. Should I ever be tempted again into sharing my life with someones, he who read most divinely and devotedly would be the lucky man. However, I don’t have to bother with all of that because of wonderful Radio Four and Radio Four Extra, the only good thing to come out of dabbling with the Internet! You switch it on, listen to what you want and then just switch off – perfect! Last weekend I listened to a wonderful dramatisation of A Tale of Two Cities and the final scene as Sidney Carlton mounted to the guillotine left me dewy eyed. Then I listened to a marvellously bloodthirsty drama around the reign of Ivan the Terrible, the first in a series of dramatised lives of all the tsars. Then there are the treasures resurrected from the archives, Paul Temple, Lord Peter Wimsey et al. This week sees the return of the radio adaptation of the Forsyte Saga, of which we are great devotees in the office, although it would help our enthusiastic discussions if some people would keep up – JAM!

When my children were younger, some of my very many precious moments were, bathed and clothed for the night, they gathered adoringly at my feet ready for me to begin: we laughed with Polly, Mary Mary and Paddington, climbed the Faraway Tree and went to school with Jennings and the Malory Towers and St Clare’s girls. Then they discovered Martin Jarvis and Stephen Fry who didn’t break off to tell them to stop biting their nails/sucking their thumb/ leave the poor Bella (the cat) alone and my days were numbered. Of course there was always the opportunity to read endless variations of the same story marketed as the Rainbow Fairies much beloved by my youngest but even the most devoted mother has her limits!

To keep you up you up to date with the Man Booker shortlist saga, I read, last weekend, the one remaining unread contender. Was ever practically a whole book built up to such a ridiculous and unlikely outcome? I don’t want to harp on but I wonder if the judges and I are actually reading the same books…

However, to end on an up- beat note, I just read the new forthcoming Ali Smith book, Autumn, and it is wonderful. She does things with language that most authors couldn’t even dream of doing! I am also very happily ensconced in the latest Lockwood and Co mystery by Jonathan Stroud. Strictly speaking they are classified as children’s books but they are better written, funnier and more imaginative and more terrifying than a great many so-called adult books I have read this year.

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