Sherborne Literary Events

Henry Hemming Our Man in New York. Sept 6th 2019



A gripping, interactive 45-minute talk inspired by Henry’s new book Our Man in New York – the eye-opening story of how the British used ‘fake news’ to help bring the United States into the Second World War. 

You’ve heard about Russian attempts to influence the last US presidential election. But did you know that the largest ‘influence operation’ ever launched in America had nothing to do with Moscow? It was run by the British, it reached millions of Americans, and in this new talk Henry will show how it helped to change the course of the Second World War.  


Kirsty Wark, The House by the Loch. 23rd October 2019



 Scotland 1950s. Walter MacMillan is bewitched by the clever, glamorous Jean Thompson and can’t believe his luck when she agrees to marry him. Neither can she, for Walter represents a strong, steady and loving man who can perhaps quiet the demons inside her. Yet their home on remote Loch Doon soon becomes a prison for Jean and neither a young family, nor Walter’s care, can seem to save her. Many years later Walter is with his adult children and adored grandchildren on the shores of Loch Doon, where the family has been holidaying for two generations. But the shadows of the past stretch over them and will turn all their lives upside down on one fateful weekend. Inspired in part by Kirsty’s childhood memories and her late father, this is a story about the bonds between generations, the need to belong and the devastating consequences of family secrets.  


Raynor Winn - The Salt Path. 23rd October 2019



Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years, is terminally ill, their home is taken away and they lose their livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.

Carrying only the essentials for survival on their backs, they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea and sky. Yet through every step, every encounter and every test along the way, their walk becomes a remarkable journey.

The Salt Path is an honest and life-affirming true story of coming to terms with grief and the healing power of the natural world. Ultimately, it is a portrayal of home, and how it can be lost, rebuilt and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways.



Max Hastings, CHASTISE The Dam Busters Story, 1943. 23rd October 2019


   A brand new history of the Dambusters raid from best-selling and critically acclaimed military historian, Max Hastings. Operation Chastise, the RAF's 1943 assault on Germany's dams, has passed into legend as one of the RAF's greatest feats of arms.  


Paul Williams - Wildlife Photography – saving my life one frame at a time 24th October 2019




Wildlife Photography – saving my life one frame at a time – is the story of one man’s journey to restore his mental health and find meaning once again.

Paul Williams, 58, joined the army at 17 and loved being a soldier. He especially enjoyed the physical, adrenaline filled side of it. But in 1988 he shattered both ankles falling 100 feet in a climbing accident and was never physically the same again. He left the military in 1993.


Jonathan Scott - The Vinyl Frontier 24th October 2019




Forty years ago, a group of scientists, artists and writers gathered in a house in Ithaca, New York to work on the most important mix tape ever conceived. It wasn’t from one person to another, it was from Earth to the Cosmos.   

During the design phase of the Voyager mission, it was realised that this pair of plucky probes would eventually leave our solar system to drift forever in the unimaginable void of interstellar space. With this in mind, NASA decided to commission astronomer Carl Sagan to create a message to be fixed to the side of Voyager 1 and 2 – a plaque, for any passing alien that might one day chance upon them.   

The result was the Voyager Golden Record, a genre-hopping multimedia metal LP that contained a 90-minute playlist of music from across the globe, a sound essay of life on Earth, spoken greetings in multiple languages and more than 100 photographs and diagrams, all painstakingly chosen by Sagan and his team to represent humanity. The record included music by J.S. Bach and Chuck Berry, a message of peace from US president Jimmy Carter, facts, figures and dimensions, all encased in a golden box with instructions on how to play the record and even a handy stylus to drop in the groove. Each track, each sound, and every image has a tale to tell.  


Sherborne Literary events

Louise Carpenter and Ziauddin Yousafzai - Let Her Fly 24th October 2019



In this intimate and extraordinary memoir, Ziauddin Yousafzai, the father of Malala, gives a moving account of fatherhood and his lifelong fight for equality – proving there are many faces of feminism.

“Whenever anybody has asked me how Malala became who she is, I have often used the phrase. ‘Ask me not what I did but what I did not do. I did not clip her wings’”

For over twenty years, Ziauddin Yousafzai has been fighting for equality – first for Malala, his daughter – and then for all girls throughout the world living in patriarchal societies. Taught as a young boy in Pakistan to believe that he was inherently better than his sisters, Ziauddin rebelled against inequality at a young age. And when he had a daughter himself he vowed that Malala would have an education, something usually only given to boys, and he founded a school that Malala could attend.

Then in 2012, Malala was shot for standing up to the Taliban by continuing to go to her father's school, and Ziauddin almost lost the very person for whom his fight for equality began.


Tom George - Mindfulness Writing Workshop 25th October 2019



Learn to free your natural creativity at this unique workshop combining writing and mindfulness. Taking inspiration from nature, the senses and an open-ended approach to creativity we will learn to free our inner voice and create without self-judgement. 

Mindfulness is a practice that comes from Buddhism; it invites us to connect with the present moment and see beauty in the smallest things. Writing mindfully, we can take a playful approach to creativity, writing intuitively - poetry, prose or whatever comes out. We can explore, experiment and try new approaches. 

The workshop includes guided meditation plus advice on incorporating mindfulness into your life and creative practice. There are fun, collaborative exercises as well as opportunities to be more reflective individually. We will also take inspiration from the gardens surrounding the venue, weather permitting. The will be a break halfway through, with lunch available from the onsite cafe.  

This workshop is provided by Mindful Arts and facilitated by Tom George, a writer and musician with a special interest in wellbeing and mental health.


Libby Page - The Lido 25th October 2019




Meet Rosemary, 86, and Kate, 26: dreamers, campaigners, outdoor swimmers...

Rosemary has lived in Brixton all her life, but everything she knows is changing. Only the local lido, where she swims every day, remains a constant reminder of the past and her beloved husband George.

Kate has just moved and feels adrift in a city that is too big for her. She's on the bottom rung of her career as a local journalist, and is determined to make something of it.

So when the lido is threatened with closure, Kate knows this story could be her chance to shine. But for Rosemary, it could be the end of everything. Together they are determined to make a stand, and to prove that the pool is more than just a place to swim - it is the heart of the community.

'Feel-good and uplifting, this charming novel is full of heart' LUCY DIAMOND


John Hemming - Explorer-Humanitarians of the Amazon. 25th October 2019



The three dashing Villas Boas brothers became Brazil's most famous explorers, in tough and exciting expeditions.  They used their fame, throughout the second half of the twentieth century, to champion a series of indigenous tribes (four of which they contacted for the first time); they transformed public attitudes to these splendid peoples; and achieved the first gigantic reserve to protect them and their Amazonian rivers and rain forests.

John Hemming knew the brothers well, and has himself undertaken many expeditions and visited and written about tribal peoples all over Brazil.  Like the Villas Boas, he has cut into unexplored forests and been at first contact of four tribes.


David Burnett - Lost Dorset. 15th November 2019


 ‘Lost Dorset' could easily be called ‘Unknown Dorset’, for few of the 350 photographs chosen from Barry Cuff’s remarkable collection of Dorset postcards have been published before, and many are extremely rare. The result is a large 200 page hardback documenting Dorset’s villages and rural way of life through a period of extraordinary upheaval and change. 


Andrew Lownie - Dickie & Edwina: The Lives and Loves of the Mountbattens. 7th December 2019


 Earl Mountbatten of Burma (1900-1979) is one of the major British historical figures of the twentieth century and a central figure in The Crown. As one obituary noted, ‘It seemed almost unbelievable that one human being could have touched the history of our century at so many points’. Head of Combined Operations, a Member of the Chiefs of Staff and then Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in South East Asia during World War Two, the last Viceroy and first Governor General of India, First Sea Lord and Chief of the Defence Staff, member of the Royal Family and mentor of Prince Philip and Prince Charles: his life provides an opportunity to look at the most important and controversial issues of the last century. His biography cannot be told without also examining that of his wife Edwina, the richest heiress in the world when they married, whose aimless pre-war life of multiple lovers found new purpose during World War Two and afterwards with her humanitarian work. s.