The Holt Bookshop – News & Events


10 Appleyard



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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, February 24th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

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

Come and meet award-winning TV comedy writer Carl Gorham who will be here at 6.30pm on Friday, February 24th, to talk about his new book The Owl at the Window: A Memoir of Loss and Hope.

Part love story, part widower's diary, the book tells of his wife's death from cancer and his attempts to rebuild his life afterwards with his six-year-old daughter.

'She is dead. She was here just now and she was alive. How can she suddenly be dead? People in history are dead.

Old people are dead. Grandparents are dead. Other people are dead.

Not people like me. Not this person. The person I was married to.

Had a child with. Not the person who was standing next to me. Chatting. Laughing. Being.'

Shock is just one of many emotions explored in Carl's account of his bereavement which is by turns deeply moving and darkly humorous.

Realised in a series of vivid snapshots, it takes the reader on an extraordinary journey from Oxford to Australia, from Norfolk to Hong Kong through fear, despair, pain and anger to hope, laughter and renewal. The Owl at the Window is a fresh and original exploration of what it means to lose a partner in your forties, and how Carl learned to live again.

Carl, who lives near Holt, is best known as the creator, co-writer and producer of the acclaimed animated BBC2 sitcom Stressed Eric.

He has won numerous awards including an Indie and two British animation awards and has been nominated for a British Comedy Award and a Bafta.


Friday, February 3rd, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

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

Award-winning North Norfolk author Rory Clements will be at The Holt Bookshop at 6.30pm on Friday, February 3rd, to talk about Corpus, the first in a major new series of thrillers.

Rory's previous seven novels have been set in the Elizabethan era and featured John Shakespeare, fictional brother of William.

Now Rory's focus moves closer to our own era.

1936. Europe is in turmoil. The Nazis have marched into the Rhineland.

In Russia, Stalin has unleashed his Great Terror. Spain has erupted in civil war. In Berlin, a young Englishwoman evades the Gestapo to deliver vital papers to a Jewish scientist.

Within weeks, she is found dead in her Cambridge bedroom, a silver syringe clutched in her fingers. In a London club, three senior members of the British establishment light the touch paper on a conspiracy that will threaten the very heart of government. Even the ancient colleges of Cambridge are not immune to political division.

Dons and students must choose a side: right or left, where do you stand? When a renowned member of the county set and his wife are found horribly murdered, a maverick history professor finds himself dragged into a world of espionage which, until now, he has only read about in books. But the deeper Thomas Wilde delves, the more he wonders whether the murders are linked to the death of the girl with the silver syringe - and, just as worryingly, to the scandal surrounding King Edward VIII and his mistress Wallis Simpson...Set against the drumbeat of war and moving from Berlin to Cambridge, from Whitehall to the Kent countryside, and from the Fens to the Aragon Front in Spain, this big canvas international thriller marks the beginning of a major new series from bestselling author Rory Clements.


Friday, January 20th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

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


Prize-winning North Norfolk poet Phil Barrett will be at The Holt Bookshop at 6.30pm on Friday, 20th January, to launch his book of poems Writing Me.

Originally trained as a visual artist, Phil spent 27 years as head of art at The Purcell School for Young Musicians in Bushey, Herts.


Since taking early retirement, he has focused on his writing and has undertaken a range of poetry workshops with individuals and schools in North Norfolk. Writing Me is a sequence of poems which explores growing up in a Norfolk town.

These accessible poems conduct a lovingly detailed and witty exploration of the poet's growing up and his touching lifelong relationship with his parents, hearteningly honest produce from what he calls, in Mum's Vegetable Patch, 'this exceptional yet ordinary earth'. Michael Laskey

In this lucid, thoughtful collection Phil Barrett succeeds in conveying the texture of childhood, the vulnerability, the energy and the joys. He has an eye for 'telling' detail and the capacity to allow a poem to travel. Moniza Alvi

Phil will be introduced at the event by Kevin Crossley-Holland.



Friday, November 25th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

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

Two of Britain's leading crime novelists, Elizabeth Haynes and Elly Griffiths, will be at The Holt Bookshop at 6.30pm on Friday, November 25th, to discuss the world of crime writing with John Smart, former Gresham's head of arts.


Elly is best known for her Ruth Galloway series, set in and around Titchwell, and her Stephens and Mephisto series, set in Brighton.

Elizabeth, a former police intelligence analyst, lives in Norfolk and her new psychological thriller, Never Alone has just been published. Her debut novel Into the Darkest Corner was published in 37 countries.



Friday, November 11th, at 6.30pm

The Holt Bookshop, 10 Appleyard, Holt

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

Come and meet North Norfolk author and award-winning journalist at the bookshop on Friday, November 11th at 6.30pm. Richard will be discussing his new book, The Man Who Ate the Zoo: Frank Buckland, Forgotten Hero of Natural History.


The Man Who Ate the Zoo is a lively biography of 'the forgotten man of Victorian science,' a surgeon, natural historian, writer and conservationist. Buckland was obsessed by food security and finding ways to feed the hungry.

He can be credited with saving British fish from commercial extinction.


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.


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.

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.