Past events

Author visits to Woodbridge

For Browsers, Catherine Larner organises and hosts author talks and book launches ranging from intimate gatherings of around 30 guests to large evening events with capacity audiences of up to 300 people. Recent guest authors have included Max Hastings, Victoria Hislop, Joanne Harris, Dan Snow, Kate Humble, Jeffery Deaver and Robert Peston.

Since launching the author talks more than 10 years ago, other speakers 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


Wednesday 28th September 2016 at 7.30pm

We gathered together in the stunning panelled room in Woodhall Manor, the door open to the fountains burbling outside with an owl hooting intermittently during this lovely summer's evening.

Artemis Cooper presented the story of Jane's life with a slide show, and explained the challenges she faced in compiling the biography.

Read an account of the evening here.

Tuesday 27th September 2016 at 2.30pm

We were delighted and privileged to have the hugely popular novelist, Victoria Hislop to visit us at Woodhall Manor for her new book 'Cartes Postales'.

The ballroom was filled to capacity to hear Victoria in conversation with Catherine Larner. They discussed her extraordinarily successful career and Victoria explained the inspiration behind this new title, illustrated with original photography. Read an account of the event here.

Monday 5th September 2016 at 7.30pm

Diana Henry's cookery books are some of the most stunning on the market in terms of their production, and in their selection of flavour combinations.

The stunning Woodhall Manor was our venue and local restaurateur, Vernon Blackmore wowed guests with canapes created from recipes in Diana's new book 'Simple'.

Read an account of the event here and Catherine's article here.

Martha Collison at our Browser's event.
Friday 15th July 2016 at 3.00pm

Martha was the youngest contestant on BBC TV's 'Great British Bake Off'. She joined us at the beautiful setting of Woodhall Manor, to launch her first cookbook, ‘Twist’.

Our guests were treated to samples of Martha's recipes provided by The Cake Shop - Woodbridge’s own tv stars, named as Britain’s Best Bakery in 2014. There was also a gift for each guest from the Woodbridge Kitchen Company.

Read an account of the event here and Catherine's article here.

Friday 24th June 2016 at 7.00pm

Veronica Henry is a best-selling novelist who has set her latest story in a bookshop.

She visited us in Woodbridge talk about her love of books, of reading and of bookshops, in what was a very lovely evening.

Surrounded by books, we sipped Prosecco, listened to exquisite music performed by a trio of cellists, led by Jonathan Evans of Woodbridge Violins and chatted with Veronica. Read an account of the event here.

Tuesday 14th June 2016 at 7.00pm

In 'The Crime Writer', Jill Dawson imagines the period when American author Patricia Highsmith lived in Suffolk, cleverly melding together biographical details and various elements from the plots of Highsmith's novels, as well as offering her own perception of this rather dark, eccentric and obsessive character.

The event was held at the beautiful Woodhall Manor. Read a report here.

Thursday 31st March 2016 at 7.30pm

The popular historian and tv presenter provided the most inspiring, entertaining and energising talk about her love of history and her inspiration for her new novel 'The Edge of the Fall', set in the 1920s.

We couldn't fit anyone else into the bookshop, with our biggest audience yet for this venue, and everyone went away with a signed copy of Kate's book as part of their ticket price. Read about the event here.

Tuesday 23rd February 2016 at 7.30pm

An architectural critic and writer, who was the architecture and design editor at The Guardian until 2012, Jonathan has written authoritatively, entertainingly and extensively about a huge number of subjects, trains, planes and churches, and Concorde.

He shared his knowledge and insight, as well as telling tales of his writing career.

Emily Hauser in Woodbridge with Catherine Larner
Thursday 28th January 2016 at 7.30pm

Emily Hauser grew up in Woodbridge, studying at Queens and the Abbey School before moving on to Orwell Park and Colchester Grammar. She studied at Cambridge under the well known classics scholar, Mary Beard and is now completing a PhD at Yale University in the US.

We were thrilled that in a short visit back to the UK to launch her debut novel, Emily chose to join us in Woodbridge.

We arranged a visit to the Latin, Greek and Classics students at Woodbridge School and then held an event for the town in the library in the evening. The audiences were large and enthusiastic for both events.

Emily is a beautiful, engaging and passionate ambassador for her subject, and everyone who heard her speak wanted to read the book. Learn more about the event here.

Rachel Joyce with Catherine Larner
Friday 13th November 2015 at 7.00pm

The author of the wonderful, best-selling novel ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ was in conversation with Catherine Larner about her books, career and a new and delightful collection of bitter-sweet short stories called ‘A Snow Garden’.

The event took place at the beautiful Seckford Hall Hotel, and everyone got in the mood for Christmas. Read the report here.

Mark Mason at Browsers with Catherine Larner
Thursday 22nd October 2015 at 7.30pm

Mark Mason connects fascinating facts behind the 124 postcodes defining the regions of the British Isles, and delves into the history of our postal service in his new book ‘Mail Obsession’.

The audience was buzzing after listening to Mark at this event in Woodbridge Library. He was a hugely entertaining speaker and has an endless supply of astonishing information about the broadest selection of subjects. Read about the evening here.

Sophie Hannah signing books at Woodbridge
Wednesday 23rd September 2015 at 7.30pm

We took over the classroom at Woodbridge School to hear from Sophie Hannah. Her new book 'A Game for all the Family' is set around a school near a river in Devon, so we thought this setting would be fitting. Multiple choice questions tested our knowledge of Sophie's books before she arrived, and there were sweets from our childhood too. But no one was distracted when Sophie started to talk - she's a fantastic speaker and everyone wanted to take her books, and poems, away to read. Read more about the evening here.

Jason Hewitt signing books in Browsers
Thursday 17th September 2015 at 7.30pm

We gathered in the bookshop listening to tracks from Jason's playlist for his book 'The Dynamite Room' and Joe Loss and Benny Goodman certainly got us in the mood for the wartime settings.

Jason's passion for his books was contagious, and the audience were thrilled to take away his new book at the end of the evening. Read a full report of the evening here.

Natalie Meg Evans at Browsers, Woodbridge
Thursday 10th September 2015 at 7.30pm

We were thrilled when guests for 'The Milliner's Secret' responded to our invitation and arrived wearing their favourite hats. The town's charity shops had all put on special hat displays in the weeks leading up to our event.

We sipped Prosecco as we listened to the author describe her research for the book looking into Paris during the war. It felt a very special occasion. Read a report on the evening here.

Sunday 16th August 2015 at 2.00pm

The much-loved author-illustrator visited Browsers to sign copies of her new book and to read from 'Love is My Favourite Thing'.

Thursday 9th July 2015 at 7.30pm

What would you do if you realised the book you were reading was all about you?

After hearing Renee talk about the inspiration for her gripping new thriller, everyone went home with a signed copy of her book. 

Read an account of the event here.