The Holt Bookshop – News & Events


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"I visited The Holt Bookshop when on holiday, and was immediately taken by the wide and interesting range of books and the friendly staff. I was easily able to find a couple of books that I hadn't seen anywhere else, and when after returning home I found a minor publisher's error with one of the books, David went out of his way to sort everything out. These are the reasons why we must never lose our independent book shops – interesting books and staff who are actually interested in their customers."
Alan White


Friday, September 30th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Tickets are £5, redeemable against the purchase of a book

Simon Barnes pic

Simon Barnes will be at The Holt Bookshop on Friday, 30th September at 6.30pm, to talk about his new book The Meaning of Birds.

One of our most eloquent nature writers offers a passionate and informative celebration of birds and their ability to help us understand the world we live in.

The Meaning of Birds jacket

From the mocking-birds of the Galapagos who guided Charles Darwin toward his evolutionary theory, to the changing patterns of migration that alert us to the reality of contemporary climate change, Simon explores both the intrinsic wonder of what it is to be a bird - and the myriad ways in which birds can help us understand the meaning of life.

Simon, who lives in Norfolk, worked as a journalist on The Times for 32 years, serving as Chief Sports Writer until 2014. He also wrote a weekly wildlife and bird-watching column.

Simon is the author of seventeen books, including three novels.


Friday, October 14th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Tickets are £5, redeemable against the purchase of a book


Come and meet artist Nicky Loutit who will be discussing her new book on October 14th at 6.30pm.

In 2015 Nicky began making paintings which evolved as she walked the North Norfolk Coast. Her book is a visualisation of memory - of how our past returns to us when we least expect or want it to - as well as a meditation on motherhood, ageing and a life fully lived.

An artist for 40 years, Nicky will be talking about her life to publisher Henry Layte.


Children's Storytelling with Nandana Sen

Tuesday, July 26th and Wednesday, July 27th, 10-10.30am

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Nandana pic

Come and meet Indian author and award-winning actress Nandana Sen who will be at The Holt Bookshop from 10-10.30am on Tuesday, July 26, and Wednesday, July 27, to read from her new children’s book Kangaroo Kisses.

The free readings form part of this year’s Holt Festival and are designed for children aged 3+ (accompanied by an adult).

Kangaroo Kisses jacket

The book follows one mischievous child as she delays getting ready for bed and has some amazing wildlife encounters along the way.

A leading child rights activist, Nandana has starred in more than 20 feature films.


Thursday, June 9th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Tickets are £2, redeemable against the purchase of a book

Hugh Aldersey-Williams

Come and meet North Norfolk author, Hugh Aldersey-Williams, whose new book Tide: The science and lore of the greatest force on earth, will be launched at the bookshop.

Tide jacket

From Cnut to D-Day, Hugh's book explores the science and lore behind the tide. Hugh's previous books include Periodic Tales: The Curious Lives of the Elements, Anatomies: The Human Body, it's parts and the Stories They Tell and The Adventures of Sir Thomas Browne in the 21st Century.


Friday, March 18th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Tickets are £5, redeemable against the purchase of a book

Anything from a pin jacket

Come and meet Chris Armstrong who will be at The Holt Bookshop at 6.30pm on Friday, March 18th, to talk to John Smart about his new book Anything from a Pin to an Elephant: Tales of Norfolk Retail.

Norfolk boasts a remarkable collection of independent stores which have survived bombs, fires, recessions, depressions, family fallings out and takeover bids.

The book features a number of retailers including Bakers & Larners, Jarrolds and Roys of Wroxham.


Friday, February 26th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Tickets are £5, redeemable against the purchase of a book

Jutland was the only major fleet engagement to take place during the First World War and the only time in history in which columns of great battleships fought each other. Despite terrible losses of life, the battle did nothing to change the strategic situation in northern European waters. It simply confirmed Britain's command of the seas and her ability to enforce the blockade which eventually led to Germany's downfall.

This new book examines the strengths and weaknesses of both navies and identifies some of the reasons for the disappointing performance of the Royal Navy in the battle. Confusion and poor staff work in the Admiralty led to a failure to make proper use of the vital information gleaned by Room 40, the brilliant Admiralty intelligence centre, which was able to read German signals traffic.

Voices from Jutland jacket

Many years of totally irrelevant experience and inappropriate disciplines in the Victorian and Edwardian navies were poor preparation for 20th century warfare, and led to bad decisions being made by senior officers during the battle. Careless ammunition handling resulted in the loss of three battle cruisers and over 3,000 deaths. British warships were designed for world-wide cruising and to project naval might on a global basis, instead of being optimised for encounters close to home, in the North Sea.

By contrast the German fleet performed magnificently and their ships proved extremely durable, but this was not enough to enable them to mount a serious challenge to superior British fire power and numbers.

The book argues that the building of the High Seas Fleet was a strategic blunder on the part of the Germans, who could have forced Britain out of the war completely if they had instead concentrated on their submarine fleet and on mine-laying. Admiral Jellicoe, commander of the British Grand Fleet, was in the unenviable position of having to give overriding priority to keeping his fleet intact, rather than inflicting a crushing defeat on the enemy. His steadfast pursuit of this objective was to lead to ultimate victory.

Jim Crossley, who lives in Wiveton, comes from a naval family. His father served with the navy in the Second World War while his uncle was Admiral Goodenough who gave distinguished service at Jutland. Unfortunately, Jim’s poor eyesight meant he did his National Service with the army rather than the navy.

Jim’s previous books include Bismarck, the story of how the Royal Navy sank the pride of the German fleet in 1941, The Hidden Threat, which dealt with how the navy used mines and mine-sweeping to combat the threat of U-boats and German mines, and a book on Monitor warships, which mounted the biggest guns the navy has ever employed.

Jim, who read modern history at Cambridge before spending his working life in engineering, has also written a novel, Something Wrong With Our Ships.


Friday, February 12th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Tickets are £5, redeemable against the purchase of a book

Woman in Blue jacket

The murder of women priests in Walsingham sucks Dr Ruth Galloway into an unholy investigation. When Ruth's friend Cathbad sees a vision of the Virgin Mary, in a white gown and blue cloak, in the graveyard next to the cottage he is house-sitting, he takes it in his stride. Walsingham has strong connections to Mary, and Cathbad is a druid after all; visions come with the job.

But when the body of a woman in a blue dressing-gown is found dead the next day in a nearby ditch, it is clear Cathbad's vision was all too human, and that a horrible crime has been committed. DCI Nelson and his team are called in for the murder investigation, and soon establish that the dead woman was a recovering addict being treated at a nearby private hospital. Ruth, a devout atheist, has managed to avoid Walsingham during her seventeen years in Norfolk.

But then an old university friend, Hilary Smithson, asks to meet her in the village, and Ruth is amazed to discover that her friend is now a priest. Hilary has been receiving vitriolic anonymous letters targeting women priests - letters containing references to local archaeology and a striking phrase about a woman 'clad in blue, weeping for the world'. Then another woman is murdered - a priest.

As Walsingham prepares for its annual Easter re-enactment of the Crucifixion, the race is on to unmask the killer before they strike again...

Elly Griffiths

The Woman in Blue is the eighth book in Elly Griffiths’ series of crime novels featuring Ruth Galloway, all of which are set in Norfolk.

The previous books in the series are The Crossing Places, The Janus Stone, The House at Sea’s End, A Room Full of Bones, Dying Fall, The Outcast Dead and The Ghost Fields.

Elly has also written The Zig Zag Girl and Smoke and Mirrors, the first two books in her new Stephens and Mephisto series which is set in Brighton.

Elly read English at King’s College, London, and worked in publishing for many years before becoming a full-time writer. She lives near Brighton with her husband and their two children.

Trevor Heaton pic


in conversation with John Smart

Friday, December 4th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Tickets are £5, redeemable against the purchase of a book

What if Boudica had defeated the Romans?

Turning Points jacket

What if the Spanish Armada had landed in Norfolk?

What if Nelson had died young?

What if the V2s had hit Norwich?

From the author of the best-selling A Scandal at Felbrigg comes a history book like no other, exploring key moments over the past 2,000 years and asking: What if things had turned out differently?

From invasion scares to the fates of presidents and kings, from rebellions to cities that never were, from sieges to atom-smashers, this is an imaginative, fascinating and unique look at the history of a great county.

Trevor Heaton is the award-winning features editor of the Eastern Daily Press. This is his eleventh book, the follow-up to his East Anglian Book Awards-shortlisted A Scandal at Felbrigg.


Tuesday, November 24th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Tickets are £5, redeemable against the purchase of a book

Geoff Andrews

The book tells the story of James Klugmann, a shadowy figure in the history of the Cambridge spies, who was educated at Gresham’s from 1926-31 and was later a mentor and friend to Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess.

One chapter of the book deals with Klugmann’s schooldays at Gresham’s.

Klugmann was the man who recruited promising students deemed ripe for conversion to the Communist cause, a fact borne out by the release of his MI5 file and the disclosure of Soviet intelligence files in Moscow. These revealed his key part in the recruitment of John Cairncross, the so-called “fifth man”, as well as his pivotal role in the Special Operations Executive in shifting Churchill and the allies to support Tito and the communist partisans in Yugoslavia.

The Shadow Man jacket

However, as Geoff Andrews shows in the first full account of his life, Klugmann was a brilliant intellectual, student leader and teacher, whose reluctant journey into the world of espionage, carried out on the orders of the Communist Party, needs to be understood in the context of anti-fascism.

As a rising communist intellectual he was subject to conflicting loyalties which intensified during the Cold War. The compromises and choices he made then broke him intellectually, particularly in the aftermath of the events of 1956 which shook the communist world, and he reverted to the life of a party functionary. At the same time he remained tormented by his earlier espionage which threatened to catch up with him as MI5 continued to monitor his activities.

Geoff Andrews is a writer and historian who specialises in the history of political ideas and movements. He is senior lecturer in politics at The Open University. His previous books include Not a Normal Country: Italy after Berlusconi and Endgames and New Times: The Final Years of British Communism.

He will be discussing his book with Simon Kinder, deputy head of Gresham’s, and a history teacher who has long been fascinated by the history of espionage.


Friday, November 13th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Tickets are £5, redeemable against the purchase of a book

Cabaret of Plants jacket

In Richard Mabey's characteristically lyrical and informative tone, The Cabaret of Plants explores plant species which have challenged our imaginations, awoken that clichéd but real human emotion of wonder, and upturned our ideas about history, science, beauty and belief. Picked from every walk of life, they encompass crops, weeds, medicines, religious gathering-places and a water lily named after a queen.

Beginning with pagan cults and creation myths, the cultural significance of plants has burst upwards, sprouting into forms as diverse as the panacea (the cure-all plant ginseng, a single root of which can cost up to $10,000), Newton's apple, the African 'vegetable elephant' or boabab, whose swollen trunks store thousands of litres of water - and the mystical, night-flowering Amazonian cactus, the moonflower.

From Ice Age artists, to the Romantic poets, via colonialism and the nineteenth century botanical mania of empire, Mabey concludes his magnum opus with the latest revelations of possible 'plant intelligence' in this extraordinary collection of encounters between plants and people.

Richard Mabey pic

Richard Mabey was educated at Oxford and worked as a lecturer in Social Studies in Further Education, then as a Senior Editor at Penguin Books. He became a full-time writer in 1974.

Richard is the author of 30 books, including Weeds: The Story of Outlaw Plants; Whistling in the Dark: In Pursuit of the Nightingale; Beechcombings: The Narratives of Trees; Flora Britannica, winner of a National Book Award; Gilbert White, which won the Whitbread Biography Award; Nature Cure and Food for Free.

His most recent book is Dreams of the Good Life: The Life of Flora Thompson and the creation of Lark Rise to Candleford.


Friday, October 30th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Tickets are £5, redeemable against the purchase of a book

Adam Sisman jacket

John le Carré is still at the top, more than half a century after The Spy Who Came in from the Cold became a worldwide bestseller.

From his bleak childhood - the departure of his mother when he was five was followed by 'sixteen hugless years' in the dubious care of his father, a serial-seducer and con-man - through recruitment by both MI5 and MI6, to his emergence as the master of the espionage novel, le Carré has repeatedly quarried his life for his fiction. Millions of readers are hungry to know the truth about him.

Written with exclusive access to le Carré himself, to his private archive and to many of the people closest to him, this is a major biography of one of the most important novelists alive today.

Adam Sisman pic

Adam Sisman worked in publishing before becoming a full-time writer. His first book was a highly-praised biography of the historian A.J.P.Taylor and this was followed by Boswell's Presumptuous Task, which was awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award for biography.

Sisman’s next book was The Friendship: Wordsworth and Coleridge, the first book to explore the extraordinary story of the legendary friendship - and quarrel - between these two giants of English Romanticism.

This was followed in 2011 by a much-acclaimed biography of the brilliant historian and Oxford don Hugh Trevor-Roper, who tainted his reputation with a catastrophic error when he authenticated the forged 'Hitler Diaries'.


in conversation with John Smart

Thursday, August 27th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Tickets are £5, redeemable against the purchase of a book

After Me Comes the Flood jacket

Sarah Perry was born in Essex. She gained a PhD in Creative Writing & the Gothic from Royal Holloway in 2012, having been supervised by Andrew Motion. A winner of the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize & a Royal Holloway doctoral studentship, she was Writer-in-Residence at Gladstone's Library, January 2013. She has written for a number of publications including the Guardian, the Independent and the Spectator. Her work has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

After Me Comes the Flood was the winner of the East Anglian Book of the Year Award 2014, longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2014 and nominated for the Folio Prize 2015.

How You See Me jacket

S.E. (Sally) Craythorne is a graduate of the Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia. An extract from How You See Me, was longlisted for Mslexia‘s Women’s Novel Competition. Sally was brought up on a smallholding in rural Norfolk and has worked as a bookseller, journalist, artist’s model, English teacher and librarian.

Taut and suspenseful, How You See Me examines the terrifying power of the mind to deceive, not only others but – most destructively of all – ourselves.


Amy Finegan pic

Monday, 20th July to Saturday, 25th July, from 10.30am to 11.00am

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

As part of the Holt Festival 2015, Amy returns to The Holt Bookshop to delight and captivate children with her unique storytelling, each day bringing a whole new theme!

With pitch-perfect delivery to entrance the young, the delightful Amy will be entertaining children under seven with songs and tall tales.


Wednesday, June 24th, from 1pm to 2pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Emma Healey

To celebrate this year's Independent Booksellers Week, Emma Healey, author of the best-selling novel Elizabeth Is Missing, will be visiting The Holt Bookshop from 1pm-2pm on Wednesday, June 24th.

Elizabeth Is Missing poster

Emma will be happy to chat to customers and sign copies of her book. Do come along and meet her!


Thursday, June 11th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Tickets are £5, redeemable against the purchase of the book

John Craske, a Norfolk fisherman, was born in 1881 and in 1917, when he had just turned 36, he fell seriously ill.

For the rest of his life he kept moving in and out of what was described as a “stuporous state”. In 1923 he started making paintings of the sea and boats and the coastline seen from the sea, and later, when he was too ill to stand and paint, he turned to embroidery, which he could do lying on his bed. His embroideries were also of the sea, including his masterpiece, a huge embroidery of The Evacuation of Dunkirk.

Threads jacket

Very few facts about Craske are known and only a few scattered photographs have survived, together with accounts by the writer Sylvia Townsend Warner and her lover Valentine Ackland, who discovered Craske in 1937.

So—as with all her books—Julia Blackburn’s account of his life is far from a conventional biography. Instead it is a quest which takes her in many stranger directions – to fishermen’s cottages in Sheringham, a grand hotel fallen on hard times in Great Yarmouth and to the isolated Watch House far out in the Blakeney estuary; to Cromer and the bizarre story of Einstein’s stay there, guarded by dashing young women in jodhpurs with shotguns.

Threads is a book about life and death and the strange country between the two where John Craske seemed to live.

Julia Blackburn has written six books of non-fiction, a family memoir, The Three of Us, which won the 2009 J.R.Ackerley Award, and two novels, The Book of Colour and The Leper’s Companions, both of which were shortlisted for the Orange Prize. She lives in Suffolk and Italy.


Friday, May 29th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Tickets are £5, redeemable against the purchase of the book

Bloomsbury’s Outsider: A Life of David Garnett

Literary Sensation, Lover, Libertine, Family Man

Sarah Knights pic

Award-winning novelist and towering figure of the 20th century British literary landscape, David Garnett was a Bloomsbury insider ultimately pushed to the margins. In this, the first biography of Garnett, author Sarah Knights – who has had unprecedented access to Garnett’s papers – goes beyond stereotype and myth to present a clear sighted account of this often contradictory figure.

Trained as a scientist, Garnett worked as a novelist and wrote exquisite prose. Lady into Fox was made into a Rambert ballet and Aspects of Love into an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. In the First World War, he was a conscientious objector whereas in the Second he worked for British intelligence. A free love enthusiast, he nevertheless married. He loathed literary criticism but became a leading literary critic.

Bloomsbury's Outsider jacket

Born into the Victorian period, Garnett’s life spanned two World Wars, the Swinging Sixties and beyond. From pre-Revolutionary Russia, by way of Indian Nationalists in London and carefree Neo-Paganism, Garnett’s early life was packed with adventure. Propelled by a desire to be constantly in love, he dazzled men and women, believing the person mattered, irrespective of gender. Confidante and mentor of many writers, T. E. Lawrence, Rupert Brooke, D. H. Lawrence, Joseph Conrad and H. G. Wells were among his friends. Garnett felt most at home with the Bloomsbury Group, in particular with Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, his lover, with whom he lived during the First World War. Their long friendship was threatened, however, when Garnett’s cradle-side prophecy to marry their daughter Angelica came true.

Sarah Knights has an MA in Life Writing and a PhD from the School of Creative Writing and Literature at the University of East Anglia. She lives in north Norfolk.


The Adventures of Sir Thomas Browne in the 21st Century

Wednesday, May 20th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Hugh A-W pic

A profound and delightful jeu d'esprit of a book, mixing biography, etymology, cultural history and quixotic scientific experiments.

Adventures of Sir Thomas Browne jacket

Hugh Aldersey-Williams pulls the unfairly neglected yet enormously influential writer Thomas Browne out of the obscure pages of Pseudodoxia Epidemica and into the 21st century, to apply his generous curiosity and rational intelligence to the vagaries and contradictions of life today. Browne has had some impressive fans (Sebald, Woolf, Borges, Poe, Marias) but this book will revive him, bringing his extraordinary genius to a whole new audience.

Poetry next the sea logo

The Holt Bookshop is delighted once again to be supplying books for the 18th Poetry-next-the-Sea Festival which runs from Friday, May 8th to Sunday, May 10th 2015.

The festival will be held at The Maltings, Staith Street, Wells-next-the Sea, NR23 1AU.

Among the highlights will be Robert Crawford talking about his new book Young Eliot and Rachel Kelly discussing her book Black Rainbow.

Christopher Reid will be reading from his new collection The Curiosities while Andrew McNeillie, Bernard O'Donoghue, Colette Bryce and Katrina Porteous will be reading selections of their poetry.

Four Faber New Poets, Rachael Allen, Will Burns, Zaffar Kunial and Declan Ryan, will also give readings.

For details of the festival please visit


WARTIME AND POST-WAR HOLT: Illustrated History of Holt Volume 2

Tuesday, May 5th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

This is a free event but please R.S.V.P

Holt Volume 2  jacket

Holt was directly affected by the Second World War because of its military importance. The threat of a German invasion turned the town into a strategic centre for coastal defences. Holt, in effect, became a garrison town.

Later phases of the war, particularly the bomber offensive and preparations for D-Day, meant that from 1939 until 1945 Holt was in a war zone. Rural tranquillity was shattered and its inhabitants and those returning from war service had to rebuild their community in the post-war years.

Like Keith Entwistle's Volume One, this account tells the story of the town through the memories of those who remembered.


Friday, April 24th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Tickets are £5, redeemable against the purchase of the book

Patrick Barkham

Patrick will be at the bookshop to talk about his new book Coastlines: The Story of Our Shore.

Patrick Barkham was born in 1975 in Norfolk and was educated at Cambridge University. He is a National History writer for the Guardian where he has worked for the last 10 years, reporting on everything from the Iraq War to climate change.

His first book, The Butterfly Isles, was shortlisted for the 2011 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje prize. His most recent book, Badgerlands, was hailed by Chris Packham as "a most read for all Britain's naturalists" and was shortlisted for both the 2014 RSL Ondaatje Prize and the inaugural Wainwright Prize for Nature and Travel Writing.

Coastlines jacket

Coastlines is being published by Granta Books to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the National Trust's campaign to save the British coast. Told through a series of walks beside the sea, this is a story of the most beautiful 742 miles of coastline in England, Wales and Northern Ireland: their rocks, plants and animals, their views, walks and history, and the people who have made their lives within sight of the waves. As he travels along coastal paths, visits beaches and explores coves, Barkham reflects on the long campaign to protect our shoreline from tidal erosion and human damage and weaves together fascinating tales about every aspect of the coast - from ancient conquests and smuggler's routes, to exotic migratory birds and bucket-and-spade holidays - to tell a more profound story about our island nation and the way we are shaped by our shores.

Patrick has made a number of previous visits to The Holt Bookshop. He has spoken to audiences about his own books The Butterfly Isles and Badgerlands and has also interviewed fellow nature writers Richard Mabey and Richard Girling in the shop. He has a home in North Norfolk.


Friday, April 10th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Tickets are £5, redeemable against the purchase of the book

Peter Stanford

Peter Stanford is a writer, journalist and broadcaster. His books include biographies of the Labour Cabinet minister and penal reformer, Lord Longford; the Poet Laureate, C Day-Lewis; Bronwen Astor; and Cardinal Basil Hume. His writings on religion range from The Devil: A Biography, Heaven: A Traveller's Guide, The She-Pope: The Legend of Pope Joan to Catholics and Sex, The Extra Mile, a look at pilgrimage in the 21st century and How To Read a Graveyard.

Peter will be at the bookshop talking about his latest book, Judas: The Troubling History of the Renegade Apostle. In this fascinating historical and cultural biography, writer and broadcaster Peter Stanford deconstructs that most vilified of Bible characters: Judas Iscariot, who famously betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Beginning with the gospel accounts, Peter explores two thousand years of cultural and theological history to investigate how the very name Judas came to be synonymous with betrayal and, ultimately, human evil. But as Peter points out, there has long been a counter-current of thought that suggests that Judas might in fact have been victim of a terrible injustice: central to Jesus' mission was his death and resurrection, and for there to have been a death, there had to be a betrayal.

Judas jacket

This thankless role fell to Judas; should we in fact be grateful to him for his role in the divine drama of salvation? 'You'll have to decide,' as Bob Dylan sang in the sixties, 'Whether Judas Iscariot had God on his side'. An essential but doomed character in the Passion narrative, and thus the entire story of Christianity, Judas and the betrayal he symbolises continue to play out in much larger cultural histories, speaking as he does to our deepest fears about friendship, betrayal and the problem of evil. Judas: the ultimate traitor, or the ultimate scapegoat? This is a compelling portrait of Christianity's most troubling and mysterious character.

Peter's books have been translated into eleven languages. A former editor of the Catholic Herald (1988-1992), he writes for the Daily and Sunday Telegraphs, the Independent and the Observer.

He presents television and radio documentaries including the award-winning Channel 4 series, Catholics and Sex, BBC 1's The She Pope, Channel 5's The Mission and has appeared as a regular panelist on the BBC's The Moral Maze, Vice or Virtue? and FutureWatch.

He was one of the BBC commentary team for the papal visit to Britain. His biography of Lord Longford was the basis for Channel 4's 2006 multi-award winning drama, Longford.

Born in 1961 and raised in Birkenhead, he was chairman of the spinal injuries charity, Aspire, for 20 years until September 2011, and is the director of the Longford Trust for penal reform. He lives in London with his wife, and their two children.


Tuesday, April 7th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

This is a free event but please R.S.V.P

Fiona Neill pic

Bestselling North Norfolk author Fiona Neill will be at The Holt Bookshop to sign copies of her new book The Good Girl, a compelling novel of a Norfolk family's darkest secrets.

The Good Girl jacket

Fiona had great success with her previous titles, which include The Secret Life of a Slummy Mummy, What the Nanny Saw and Friends, Lovers and Other Indiscretions



Thursday, January 22nd, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Tickets are £5, redeemable against the purchase of the book

Mark Kitto

China hand Mark Kitto will be at The Holt Bookshop on Thursday, January 22nd at 6.30pm, to discuss the follow-up to his
best-selling debut book China Cuckoo, which told how he 'lost a fortune and found a life in China'.

That's China jacket

But how did Mark make that fortune? In That's China, North-Norfolk based Mark reveals how he took on the Chinese propaganda machine in a battle that ended in the highest law court in China.

** We regret to say this event has been cancelled **

A Saturday signing with Jody Lawrence

Saturday, December 13th, from 11am - 1pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Nightscapes jacket

'Night Owl' Jody Lawrence will be here to sign copies of his stunning book of photographs Nightscapes North Norfolk.

Jody's night-time pictures capture the mystery and beauty of the area from Wells-Next-The-Sea, Morston, Blakeney and Cley, to Holt, Weybourne and Sheringham....

A Saturday signing with Jackie Bennett

Saturday, December 6th, from 11am - 1pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Jackie Bennett is a former editor of The Garden Design Journal, the English Garden Magazine and Gardening with the National Trust. She began her career in television, producing gardening and natural history programmes before becoming a full time writer.

In 1990, she won an award for nature writing in the BBC Wildlife Magazine Awards and her books include The Wildlife Garden Month by Month, The Cottage Garden and Wild About the Garden. She won the Garden Writer's Guild 'Gardening Column of the Year' 2009 for a series about her own Norfolk garden.

The Writer's Garden jacket

Jackie has studied garden design and landscape history. She runs writing workshops for the Society of Garden Designers and for the Cambridge and Oxford Botanic Gardens.

In this book of gardens, Jackie examines how the poet, writer, novelist derived a creative spirit from their private garden, how they tended and enjoyed their gardens, and how they managed their outdoor space. The book includes: Jane Austen at Godmersham and Chawton, John Ruskin at Brantwood, Agatha Christie at Greenway, Charles Dickens at Gad's Hill Place, Winston Churchill at Chartwell, Ted Hughes at Lumb Bank, Rudyard Kipling at Bateman's and many more.

PLEASE NOTE: This event was originally scheduled for Friday, December 5th at 6.30pm

A Saturday signing with Lucinda Riley

Saturday, November 29th, between 11am and 1pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Lucinda Riley pic

Lucinda Riley was born in Ireland and wrote her first book at the age of 24. Her novel Hothouse Flower (also called The Orchid House) was selected for the UK's Richard and Judy Bookclub in 2011 and went on to sell 2 million copies worldwide. She is a multiple New York Times bestselling author and has topped the bestseller charts in four European countries.

seven sisters jacket

In response to demand from her readers, she has recently re-written two books from her early writing career when published under her maiden name Lucinda Edmonds - the books are now being published as The Italian Girl and The Angel Tree.

The Seven Sisters, an epic tale of love and loss, is the first of a unique seven book series based allegorically on the mythology of the famous star constellation.

Lucinda's books are translated into 28 languages and published in 38 countries. She lives with her husband and four children on the North Norfolk coast and in the South of France.

A Saturday signing with Martin Hayward Smith

Saturday, November 22nd, between 11am and 1pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Martin H S picture

Martin will be signing copies of his new book My Year With Hares on Saturday, November 22nd, between 11am and 1pm.

Born and bred in Norfolk, his father was a press photographer and keen sailor. From an early age Martin learned to sail at Brancaster and explore the creeks and sandbars where his love of wildlife started. At the age of eight Martin was learning to develop and print film in his father’s dark room.

After five years in the Royal Navy, travelling the world with camera in hand, Martin was next off to the North Sea, the Ivory Coast and Gabon working in the oil industry. Taking time off to explore Africa he ventured into northern Kenya where he met and worked with the late George Adamson of ‘Born Free’ fame.

My Year with Hares jacket

After gaining a distinction in photography at Southport College of Art, it was back to North Norfolk with an assignment to photograph wildlife at Pensthorpe Waterfowl Park. A commission from Anglia Television followed with Martin subsequently joining their renowned ‘Survival’ team as a wildlife cameraman, travelling the world from the crocodile caves of Madagascar to the Amazon basin.

For BBC television, Martin worked on Sir David Attenborough’s ‘Life of Birds’, the award winning ‘Living Britain’ series, the ‘Natural World’ programmes. Other work has included series with Bill Oddie, Alan Titchmarsh and Jimmy Doherty (‘Jimmy’s Farm’). Martin has also worked on Series 1, 2 & 3 of ‘Wild Britain’ with Ray Mears and most recently on the BBC Two Nature Series ‘The Burrowers’, presented by Chris Packham.

When not filming, or hanging out of helicopters, Martin can be found on his houseboat amongst the marshes, or with his daughter sailing at Morston on the North Norfolk coast...

Peter Tolhurst

Saturday, October 25th, between 11am and 1pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Norfolk Parish Treasures jacket

Peter Tolhurst will be signing copies of his new book Norfolk Parish Treasures: North and West Norfolk on Saturday, October 25th, between 11am and 1pm.

Peter is the owner of the independent publisher, Black Dog Books, which has produced many local books including: A Distant Cry, the first of three collections of East Anglian short stories; Water Marks: Art in East Anglia, by Ian Collins and several titles from the acclaimed Suffolk writer Ronald Blythe.

Martin Stephen

Martin Stephen

Friday, September 12th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Tickets are £5, redeemable against the purchase of the book

Martin Stephen, author and historian, will be discussing his two new books Scapegoat: The Death of Prince of Wales and Repulse, a radical new account of one of Britain's greatest naval disasters, and Poetry & Myths of the Great War: How Poets Altered Our Perception of History.

Scapegoat jacket
Poetry & Myths jacket

Dr Stephen, who lives in North Norfolk, is the former high master of St. Paul's School, London.

Chris Armstrong

Tuesday, September 2nd, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Tickets are £5, redeemable against the purchase of the book

Chris Armstrong will be at The Holt Bookshop at 6.30pm on Tuesday, September 2nd, to discuss his latest book Mustard, Boots & Beer – the inside stories of eight Norfolk men of business in the 19th century.

Mustard, Boots jacket

Chris was born in Kings Lynn, educated at Gresham’s, and spent much of his life in the financial services industry.

His previous book Under the Parson’s Nose was a new selection from the diaries of his great grandfather Benjamin Armstrong, Vicar of East Dereham 1850-1888.

Anna Bogie

Monday, September 1st, 11am to 1pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Local author, Anna Bogie, will be at The Holt Bookshop between 11am to 1pm on Monday, September 1st, to sign copies of her new picture book, Happy Hooves, Ta Dah!, illustrated by Rebecca Elliott.

Happy Hooves jacket

Happy Hooves, Ta Dah!, the first book in a series, follows Donkey who has a dream about a trip to the beach. He calls to his friends and they begin their journey to the sea and sand. But how will they cross the terrifying cattle grid that lays ahead? Join Donkey in this exciting and funny adventure of five hoofed friends who use the power of teamwork and friendship to overcome challenges.

The next book in the series, Happy Hooves, Oh! Oh! Oh! is due to be published in November.

Emma Healey

Friday, August 22nd, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Tickets are £5, redeemable against the purchase of the book

Emma Healey

Britain's most talked about young author, Emma Healey, will be talking about her first novel Elizabeth is Missing at the bookshop in August.

Elizabeth is Missing jacket

The book, which has received superlative reviews, sparked a bidding war among major publishers. It's a thriller which revolves around an elderly woman's quest to find her missing friend.

Six Weeks of Blenheim Summer: An RAF Officer's memoirs of the Battle of France 1940

Friday, August 8th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

Tickets are £5, redeemable against the purchase of the book

Victoria Panton Bacon will be at The Holt Bookshop to talk about her Grandfather's book.

Six Weeks jacket

Six Weeks of Blenheim Summer is a vivid and unique memoir of life as an RAF reconnaissance pilot in France during the hellish summer of 1940. It brings to life the fear, loneliness, pain and terrible sadness Panton and his comrades came to live with during those long weeks, as well as drawing on the bravery, camaraderie and humanity which made those unpredictable days more bearable.

Alastair Panton captained a Bristol Blenheim Mark IV and this is very much the story of a pilot and his plane.