Ask the book buyer about some of the most exciting author events this autumn


There are some brilliant authors visiting Norwich and Jarrold this autumn. Coming along to meet and hear them speak isn’t something you can do on a device, says Jarrold book buyer Chris Rushby.

Dear Reader,

If high street retailers are to survive and prosper in these online, digital modern times, when you can probably do most of your shopping fairly straightforwardly from home, those retailers really need to work hard to give you positive reasons to want to visit the high street.   

One of the ways in which Jarrold aims to offer its customers something they couldn’t do online is to bring them face to face with real-life bestselling authors. Typically, you can come and hear an author speak, or be interviewed about their book (and probably their life beyond writing too) and ask them questions if you’ve a mind to and if the author in question is willing to answer questions, which most authors are happy to do. Finally, you’re likely to have the chance actually to meet the author one-to-one, as you get your copy of their book signed and dedicated: a unique memento of what ought to have been a special occasion. Try doing all that on your Kindle…

What follows is a taster for some of the author events this autumn to which I’m most looking forward. You can see information about all of these on the Jarrold website, or on in-store posters, flyers and the like. Rather than replicate the wording in those documents I'd like to tell you about each event in turn, giving you – I hope – a sense of why I think they’ll provide some special moments. We’ll see you at one or more of them, I hope.

Happy reading,


Elly Griffiths, 31 October

Elly Griffiths is not just our bestselling author of crime fiction; she’s our bestselling author in any genre. Her series of Norfolk-set novels featuring forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway attracts more and more new readers as the months roll past. If you haven’t discovered Elly yet here’s a chance to meet this warm, funny and fascinating author over a sumptuous Jarrold afternoon tea, for the launch – one day ahead of its official publication – of The Stranger Diaries, a brilliant new stand-alone novel with elements of crime fiction about it, but also something of the modern gothic thriller. Here’s a quote about it from that doyen of crime novelists, Peter James: “Elly Griffiths writes with a sharp, smart eye and great elegance. This novel is compelling, intelligent and increasingly mesmerising.” If you’re an Elly fan this event will be a treat. If you haven’t discovered her yet this is the perfect time to start.

Afternoon Tea with Elly Griffiths 

Jodi Picoult, 31 October

Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty four internationally bestselling novels, a true star amongst US novelists. There are only around half a dozen UK stops on her tour for the launch of A Spark Of Light and we’re delighted to be one of those. She speaks – as she writes – directly and movingly: I remember hearing her tell a story at a publisher dinner a few years ago about some elephants in a safari park and, without boring you with my version of that story, it reduced me and others in the audience to tears. This is one of those events attracting audience numbers that make it just too big for the store’s event spaces, so we’ll be using the OPEN venue up at the top of London Street.    

An Evening with Jodi Picoult

Alan Johnson, 8 November

Alan Johnson was, of course, a high-ranking Labour politician who served in both the Blair and Brown governments. Latterly, his three volumes of autobiography have won both fans and literary prizes, their author coming across as funny, warm, witty, intelligent and unsentimental. Alan Johnson came to Jarrold a couple of years ago and was a brilliantly entertaining speaker. It’s one of the thrills of my bookselling year – no, make that career – to have the chance to interview him this time round, particularly given his latest book is, essentially, an autobiography told from the perspective of the music that has meant most to him (and much of it to me too) over the years: from Bob Dylan to David Bowie, from Lonnie Donnegan to Bruce Springsteen and, of course, the Beatles, whom he has worshipped with undying admiration since 1963.

An Evening with Alan Johnson

John Simpson, 19th November

John Simpson is a hugely familiar and reassuring figure on television, as well as a highly respected journalist and foreign correspondent. His non-fiction has sold massively well over the years, but now John Simpson has written – somewhat presciently, you might say, given he must presumably have at least begun writing it before the Skripal case and its international reverberations – a novel about a murder campaign, both in Britiain and abroad, that appears to lead back to the Russian state and government. It’s a pleasure to welcome such a respected author to Norwich and we look forward to hearing him speak not only about the new book but also, we hope, giving his view on current events in Britain and around the world, many of which seem themselves stranger than fiction.  

An Evening with John Simpson

The East Anglian Book Awards, 23 November

Last but not least, here’s an opportunity to join us for a very special Jarrold literary lunch-style event at Norwich City Football club, including the presentation of this year’s East Anglian Book Awards. This annual event recognises the best of writing and publishing from and about the East Anglian region, with the presentation of various category awards and, finally, with the overall Book of the Year being revealed. You’ll be able to rub shoulders with some of the best of the region’s writers, enjoy a sumptuous lunch provided by Delia Smith’s splendid team, enjoy some of my best and oldest jokes as I introduce the event – and generally bask in the fact that this region punches far above its weight in the number of brilliant authors and publishers to be found here. Although emotional blackmail isn’t a pretty thing I’m keen to try it with you just this once: I’ll be retiring (or ‘dropping out’ as I prefer to call it) early in the new year, so this will certainly be my last EABA, probably my last author event with Jarrold. Given we’d much like that final event to be a big, celebratory one, it would be SPLENDID to see you there. No pressure… 

Jarrold Literary Lunch and East Anglian Book Awards

Ask the Jarrold book buyer

Chris Rushby has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to books. From fact to fiction, crime to comedy, Chris and his team are on hand to help you make the most of the Jarrold book department. Discover a selection of titles online or for the full range of books and book related items come and visit us instore on the lower ground floor.


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