Cambridge Literary Festival @ Madingley Hall | Institute of Continuing Education skip to content

For the first time ever, the Institute of Continuing Education will be teaming up with the Cambridge Literary Festival to hold an author event and many other attractions for readers and writers at Madingley Hall.

This event on the weekend of 8/9 April will include an author talking about their new book, a literary dinner and a selection of writing seminars by our creative writing tutors. The weekend should appeal to our regular students, as well as dedicated festival goers who enjoy all things book-related.

Online booking is now closed, but you can book tickets up to 3pm on Friday by contacting Lisa Hitch on or 01223 746212.

Programme of events

Saturday 8 April 2017

Making fiction truthful - FULLY BOOKED

Saturday 8 April, 2.30pm at Madingley Hall, £12

They say that clichés become clichés ‘because they’re true’. So how do we communicate truths whilst resisting old and tired ways of telling? Come and discover ways of reaching beyond the convenient ‘go to’ metaphors, the low-hanging fruits in adjectives and adverbs. Illuminate your truths and brighten your writing.

Dr Sarah Burton has published non-fiction, short fiction, humorous fiction and children’s fiction and is Course Director of the MSt in Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education.

The path to publication - FULLY BOOKED

Saturday 8 April, 2.30pm at Madingley Hall, £12

How can you 'up' your game and make your writing as fresh and sparkling as possible? Is there any such thing as writer's block? How do you get published and what can you expect once you are? Come and get 'unblocked' and revitalised in this informal, fun session.

Midge Gillies is the author of eight books of non-fiction and Academic Director for Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education.

Scene and heard

Saturday 8 April, 2.30pm at Madingley Hall, £12

When you write for radio, you provide the words while your listeners come up with costumes and scenery. This much-loved medium is a happy fusion of film, theatre, TV and novels, from wide vistas to internal monologues. A practical workshop, full of advice, tips and tools of the trade.

Sue Teddern is the co-author of Writing for TV & Radio: A Writers’ & Artists’ Companion. Her radio credits include Cooking in a Bedsitter, and The Charm Factory. She is a Panel Tutor at the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education.

Book launch with Lucy Hughes-Hallett

Saturday 8 April, 4.30pm at Madingley Hall, £12

Lucy Hughes-Hallett’s last book, The Pike: Gabriele d'Annunzio, won all three of the UK's most prestigious awards for non-fiction - the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Duff Cooper Prize and the Costa Biography of the Year Award. She has also written on Cleopatra and on Heroes. Now she's turned her hand to fiction. Her first novel - Peculiar Ground - will be published in May. She will be talking about her work as a critic and author, and about how liberating but alarming it is to be free to make things up.


Saturday 8 April, 6.30pm at Madingley Hall, £50

Enjoy a three-course meal with a glass of wine in Madingley Hall's spectacular Dining Hall. The dinner will be followed by a series of short talks and book signings by three leading authors. Toppings, Ely's famous independent bookshop, will be selling books.

Literary dinner speaker: Tom Holland

Tom Holland is a historian of antiquity and the early Middle Ages: author of Rubicon, Persian Fire, Millennium and In The Shadow Of The Sword, and the translator for Penguin Classics of Herodotus’ Histories. His most recent work of history, Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar was published last year. His biography of Æthelstan, the first in Penguin’s monarchs of Britain series, was published last summer. He is the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Making History, and of documentaries on topics that have ranged from the origins of Islam to dinosaurs.

Literary dinner speaker: Elly Griffiths

Elly Griffiths is a bestselling crime writer and winner of the 2016 Crime Writers’ Association’s “Dagger in the Library” award.  She is an Associate Lecturer at West Dean College in Sussex.

Literary dinner speaker: Tim Hayward

Tim Hayward is an award-winning writer, broadcaster, restaurateur and “unrepentant food geek”. He writes a column and criticises restaurants for the Financial Times and his features have appeared in publications including the FT, Guardian, Observer Food Monthly, and Waitrose Food Illustrated. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme and a panellist on The Kitchen Cabinet. His first book, Food DIY is a handbook of smoking, curing, preserving, baking and other “manly pursuits”. His second, The DIY Cook takes a “deconstructive and nerdy approach” to culinary classics. He is proprietor of Fitzbillies, a ninety-year-old bakery and restaurant in Cambridge.

Sunday 9 April 2017

Writing a fantasy novel: myths and realities - FULLY BOOKED

Sunday 9 April, 2.30pm at Madingley Hall, £12

How do you take that good idea and turn it into a fantasy novel? How does the writing process for fantasy (and other fiction) work, and is it really as mystic as it sounds — or is there some practical scaffolding underneath it all? Come and find out what really goes on behind the page in this relaxed, fun session.

Natasha Pulley's novels include The Watchmaker of Filigree Street and The Bedlam Stacks. She is a Panel Tutor at the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education.

Go wild with words - CANCELLED

Sunday 9 April, 2.30pm at Madingley Hall, £12

Learn how to boost your powers of observation and write imaginatively about nature in a lively practical session. Weather permitting, we will use the beautiful grounds of Madingley Hall as our open air writers' workshop. Wildlife knowledge is a bonus, but by no means essential.

Derek Niemann is a country diary columnist for the Guardian, feature writer for BBC Wildlife and author of several non-fiction nature books for both adults and children. He is a Panel Tutor at the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education.

What is it really about? An introduction to theme

Sunday 9 April, 2.30pm at Madingley Hall, £12

What topics or issues do you feel passionate about? What motivates you to come up with particular ideas, and tell particular stories at a particular point of time? How can theme help to shape your ideas, and connect your writing to a reader/audience? Come and explore your ideas in relation to these questions and more, in a relaxed and informal session.

Rick Harvey is a screenwriter, freelance lecturer and story consultant. He is a Panel Tutor at the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education.

Event date

Saturday, 8 April, 2017 - 14:30
Sunday, 9 April, 2017 - 14:30


Madingley Hall
CB23 8AQ