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Most of our events, held throughout the year, are talks given by nationally well-known authors about their latest book. Given the demand to hear them we hold these talks in a larger venue. Scroll down to see the events planned and how to purchase tickets. Apart from these larger events, we hold events such as Words with Wine which are held in a smaller venue where a local, or less well-established, author talks about their book(s). A generous canapé buffet and a glass of wine are provided and time is allowed before the talk to turn these into super social events.


Scroll DOWN for Festival Eventbrite Tickets


2023 Events Programme


14th - 16th April - Travel Writing Festival, curated by Rory MacLean. See our separate dedicated page

Other Events

28th FebSimon Keable-Elliot, Utterly Immoral

The Eastbury, Long St, Sherborne

2.30 for 3pm

Robert Keable was a WW1 chaplain who wrote a novel Simon Called Peter on life behind the front lines, the story centring on an affair between a chaplain and a nurse. The book was slated by the critics and considered so "utterly immoral’" by F Scott Fitzgerald that he mocked it in The Great Gatsby. It therefore became a huge international bestseller and, despite being banned in parts of America, spawned a Broadway play and, the sequel, a Hollywood movie.


The author’s life was truly extraordinary. As a child he was an evangelical preacher. He won a scholarship to Cambridge, became a priest, worked in Africa as a missionary and gained a reputation as a writer of devotional books. He then recruited black labourers to help the war effort and in 1917 travelled to France. Witnessing the appalling racism the men faced "changed him", as did an affair. He left the church and after a year as a teacher fled England to live in Paul Gauguin’s house in Tahiti where he "married"a Tahitian princess.


Simon's talk centres on Simon Called Peter - why he wrote it; the reaction in England, America and Australia; the attempts to ban it; the link to The Great Gatsby and the Hall-Mills murders; and the resulting play and movie.


Simon has been researching Robert Keable’s life and work for the last thirty years. He is very pleased to be coming to Sherborne as he went to school here and indeed his father. Robert Keable's illegitimate son, was also an Old Shirburnian.

Tuesday 28th February. The Eastbury Hotel, Long St, Sherborne DT9 3BY. 2.30pm for 3pm start. Tickets include tea/coffee and biscuits. Cash/card on door.

In view of the fairly short-notice, this will be a tickets on the door only event (£9 members, £10 non-members) but if you would like to reserve a seat and so that we have an idea of numbers, please email us at

beforehand if you are coming.



14th March - Lucinda Hawkesley, Dickens and Travel

Words With Wine (and canapés)

The Raleigh Hall, Digby Road, Sherborne

6.30 for 7pm

From childhood, Charles Dickens was fascinated by tales from other countries and other cultures, and he longed to see the world. In Dickens and Travel, Lucinda looks at the journeys made by the author – who is also her great great great grandfather. Although Dickens is usually perceived as a London author, in the 1840s he whisked his family away to live in Italy for a year, and spent several months in Switzerland. A few years later he fell in love with France and took up residence in Paris and Boulogne (where, towards the end of his life, he lived in secret with his lover). In addition to travelling widely in Europe, he also toured the USA twice, travelled around Canada, where he and his wife Catherine performed onstage and, before his untimely death, was planning a tour of Australia.


Dickens and Travel enters into the world of the Victorian traveller and looks at how Charles Dickens’s journeys influenced his writing and enriched his life.



All books featured in our programme and many others may be purchased from Winstone's bookshop with a 10% discount for Society membersClick here.

How to Buy Tickets

You can purchase tickets for our events other than Words With Wine online through Eventbrite – simply click on the event link in the list below.


Additionally, Winstone's Bookshop at 8 Cheap Street, Sherborne (01935 816128) will have a limited  number of paper tickets available over the counter. 

Please note that the Simon Keable-Elliot event at the Eastbury is pay on door only.

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