What’s on in York: “Right Trusty and Well Beloved” Launch of Richard III anthology

York Explore

Saturday December 14th

2:00 pm – 3:30 pm 


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Launch event for anthology of short stories and poems inspired by York’s own King Richard III, with a Foreword by Philippa Langley, sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK).

Sixteen international authors have collaborated on a second anthology of short stories and poetry inspired by Richard III, the king who called York ‘home’. Right Trusty and Well Beloved…, with a Foreword by Philippa Langley, who found the king’s grave in 2012 after 500 years, is being sold in support of Scoliosis Association UK (SAUK), which aids people with the same spinal condition as King Richard. The book will be officially launched by six of the authors, including one from the USA, promising talks, Q&As, and readings and signings of their work. Everyone is welcome to this free event.

Fools For Love: A Launch of Two New Books

York Explore

Thursday December 5th

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm 


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A return of former journalists John Wheatcroft and Alan Smith in conversation with Alan Gillott about their latest novels exploring sex, death, and romantic love: no fools like old fools.

Alan Smith and John Wheatcroft bring their experience as journalists and prison teachers to their new novels, Virginia, and Rocket Boy. Virginia is an actor whose lover Dan dies slowly and awfully, leaving her wishing him both alive and dead; until she meets Hank, who is also trapped between lives. In Rocket Boy, Simon Waiters’ life is defined by a childhood meeting with Yuri Gagarin; revisiting his past, and lost loves, sounds dangerous but could just be the break he needs. Alan and John discuss their books with Stairwell publisher Alan Gillott.

What’s on in York: “Finding the Words” with Mark Connors, Gill Lambert & Kathleen Strafford

York Explore

Thursday November 28

6:45 pm – 7:45 pm 


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Image of poets Mark Connors, Gill Lambert and Kathleen Strafford

Mark Connors is an award winning poet and novelist from Leeds, UK. He’s had over 160 poems published in magazines, anthologies and webzines.Mark’s debut poetry pamphlet, ‘Life is a Long Song’ was published by OWF Press in 2015.  His first full length collection, ‘Nothing is Meant to be Broken’ was published by Stairwell Books in 2017. His second poetry collection, ‘Optics’, was published in 2019 by Yaffle. A joint collection, Reel Bradford, written with fellow writers behind poetry publishers, Yaffle, in partnership with Bradford City of Film, was also published in 2019. Mark is a managing editor at Yaffle. He is also a Bibliotherapist and Writing Workshop Facilitator for both poetry and fiction, and he co-runs the poetry open mic nights Word Club (Leeds) and Shaken in Sheeptown (Skipton), with his partner, Gill Lambert.

Gill Lambert is a poet and teacher from Yorkshire.  She has been published widely in print and online. With her partner Mark Connors she runs the poetry nights Shaken in Sheep Town and Word Club. Her pamphlet ‘Uninvited Guests’ was published in 2017 by Indigo Dreams and her debut collection ‘Tadaima’ was published by Yaffle this year.

Kathleen Strafford is a widely published poet, in journals, webzines and anthologies.  Her first poetry collection ‘Her Own Language’ was published by Dempsey & Windle in 2018. Kathleen’s new collection ‘Wilderness of Skin’ is published by Yaffle Press.  She is the chief editor of Runcible Spoon webzine publishing. Kathleen runs Runcible Spoon open mic at Miners Arms pub in Morley, Leeds. She is co-creator of ‘The Adventures of Dr Bear and Isabelle’ children’s book series.

What’s on in York: Julian Barnes, in conversation

York Explore

Tuesday November 26th

6:30 pm – 7:30 pm 


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Julian Barnes’s The Man in the Red Coat delves deep into the artistic life of turn-of the century Paris and London, bringing to life Dr Samuel Jean di Pozzi, dandyish model for John Singer Sargent, and ground-breaking gynaecologist. It’s a superbly-realised hybrid of art criticism and biography; the author comes to York Explore to discuss this new book.

In partnership with Waterstones York

Book online only

£20 to include a copy of the The Man in the Red Coat

£6 admission only

What’s on in York: Simon Parkin – “A Game of Birds and Wolves”

York Explore

Wednesday November 20th

6:30 pm – 7:30 pm 


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Join us to hear the explosive untold story of war at sea and how a secret game of battleships invented by eight exceptional young women and a retired Naval Captain won World War Two.

This event is presented in partnership with Fox Lane Books.

A Game of Birds and Wolves is the astonishing untold tale of an innovative game of battleships, Operation Raspberry, a tactic formulated via the game, and the unlikely heroines whose eureka moment cracked the battle of the Atlantic which, in the words of one of the most senior Admirals of the war, “contributed in no small measure to the final defeat of Germany.” For the first time, investigative journalist Simon Parkin brings these hidden figures into the light in this thrilling tale of war at sea, and of victory against all odds.

1941. Unknown to the British public, a vicious battle is being fought in the Atlantic – and the Allies are losing. Hitler’s U-Boats are mere weeks away from breaking Britain’s vital supply lines and starving the nation of food, fuel and weapons. Defeat would be unimaginably catastrophic, opening the door to a Nazi invasion and surrender. The stakes have never been higher as Britain faces its ‘Darkest Hour’.
In an unassuming building in Liverpool, Churchill is hiding a secret weapon. The Western Approaches Tactical Unit (WATU) has been tasked with devising a completely new strategy that will win the Battle of the Atlantic and turn the tide of the entire war. Churchill knows he’s asking the impossible of this largely inexperienced team, made up of a retired naval captain and eight fresh-faced Wrens – women as young as seventeen – who have never even seen a battle, let alone fought one. But circumstances are desperate, and Churchill has no other options. WATU is his last line of defence.

What’s on in York: Salley Vickers – Grandmothers

York Explore

Thursday November 14th

6:30 pm – 7:30 pm 


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Sunday Times bestselling author Salley Vickers will talk about her new novel Grandmothers, the story of three very different women and their relationship with the younger generation.

Grandmothers is a beautifully observed, sometimes subversive, often tender and elegiac novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Librarian.
It is the story of three very different women and their relationship with the younger generation: fiercely independent Nan, who leads a secret life as an award-winning poet when she is not teaching her grandson Billy how to lie; glamorous Blanche, deprived of the company of her beloved granddaughter Kitty by her hostile daughter-in-law, who finds solace in rebelliously taking to drink and shop lifting; and shy, bookish Minna who in the safety of shepherd’s hut shares with her surrogate granddaughter Rose her passion for reading. The outlook of all three women subtly alters when through their encounters with each other they discover that the past is always with us and that we go on learning and changing until the very end.

What’s on in York: Helen Cox – “Murder By the Minster”

York Explore

Saturday November 9th

@ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm 


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Join us to hear about the first in a brand new crime series based in York and featuring librarian-turned-sleuth Kitt Hartley.

Helen Cox is the author of a brand new crime series featuring Kitt Hartley, librarian at the Vale of York University.

It’s a perfectly normal day for Kitt Hartley at her job at the University of the Vale of York library, until Detective Inspector Halloran arrives at her desk to tell her that her best friend, Evie Bowes, is under suspicion of murder. Evie’s ex-boyfriend Owen has been found dead – with a fountain pen stabbed through his heart – and all the evidence points to her. Kitt knows it could not have been Evie and in an effort to clear her best friend’s name she decides to investigate the murder herself.

What’s on in York: “Reading Together”

York Explore

Thursday November 7th

12:30 pm – 2:00 pm 


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When did somebody last read to you?

Reading Together is a book group with no preparation required. Guided by writers Fiona Shaw and Daisy Hildyard, we read aloud together, and discuss – or simply listen to – a whole book. Over ten sessions this winter, we will read Maggie O’Farrell’s I Am, I Am I Am: the story of an extraordinary woman’s life told in near-death experiences.

At Reading Together you can share your thoughts about the book, engage in discussion, or simply enjoy being read to. Then continue the conversation over a cup of coffee in the cafe.

The group is free to join. However, places are limited. You can register in person or by telephone at any library in York or using the the Eventbrite link here

What’s on in York: Barking Mad: Gavin Baddeley on Lycanthropy for Fun and Profit

York Explore

October 31st

6:30 pm – 7:30 pm



What would happen to somebody who binged some 200 werewolf movies in a few short months? Find out as Gavin Baddeley talks about writing The FrightFest Guide to Werewolf Movies.

In the name of medical science – and because he’d been asked to write a book about cinematic shapeshifters – local author Gavin Baddeley binge-watched 200 werewolf movies in a few short months. The first thing he discovered was that while lazy filmmakers just squirted some ketchup on their mates and made another zombie snoozefest, or invested in some plastic fangs in order to shoot another cheesy vampire turkey, it takes a special kind of crazy to decide to make a low budget werewolf movie. But Gavin prefers crazy to lazy, so allow him to take you on a lurid tour of cinema’s weirdest bouts of full moon lunacy, from Jackalman perverts and Nazi wolfmen, to lycanthropic nuns and werewolf Man United fans.

What’s on York: Finding the Words with Suzanne Batty, Jane Burn and Keith Hutson

York Explore Library

October 24th @ 6:45 pm – 7:45 pm


Finding the Words is a relaxed and welcoming monthly poetry evening featuring established and emerging poets from Yorkshire and beyond.

Suzanne Batty’s most recent poetry collection States of Happiness (Bloodaxe Books 2018) begins with an extended sequence exploring her relationship with her twin sister, from their shared birth to her twin’s death from a rare genetic disease. The collection probes her primary concerns – the uncertainty and necessity of love and the drive to find meaning and healing through language. The search for states of happiness, no matter how fleeting, is at the heart of this collection.

Suzanne has won many prizes including the Poetry Society’s Anne Born prize in its inaugural year (2015), The Café Writer’s Poetry Competition (2015) and The York Poetry Prize (2016). Her first full-length collection The Barking Thing was also published by Bloodaxe. Suzanne uses creative writing to support people experiencing and recovering from mental distress.

“Reading these tour-de-force poems is to encounter shadow-wonders and brilliant terrors… Here is extraordinary witness in poems that recall the work of Janet Frame in their confronting both of mental anguish and the transformations that are the hard won and healing reward” -Penelope Shuttle

She is original, brave, unflinching” – Jackie Kay

Jane Burn’s poems have appeared in many magazines, such as Butcher’s Dog, The Interpreter’s House, Obsessed With Pipework, The Curlew, The Fenland Reed, Strix, Under the Radar, Bare Fiction, The Rialto, Prole, Long Poem Magazine,  Elsewhere, Crannog, Domestic Cherry, Iota Poetry,The Poet’s Republic, Eye Flash Poetry, Finished Creatures and the Oxford English Journal. Her poems have also been published in anthologies from The Emma Press and Seren. Her poems are regularly placed in competitions and she has been nominated for both The Pushcart and Forward Prize. Her latest collections are Fleet, from Wyrd Harvest Press, One of These Dead Places from Culture Matters and Remnants (co-written with Bob Beagrie) from Knives Forks and Spoons Press.

Keith Hutson has written for Coronation Street and for several well-known comedians. His plays have been performed at venues including The Royal Exchange, Manchester. Since beginning to submit his poetry five years ago, Keith has had over 150 poems published in journals. He has also had competition successes including being longlisted twice for the National Poetry Competition, shortlisted for the Wordsworth Trust Prize, and a winner in the Poetry Business Yorkshire Prize.

Keith tours extensively with Carol Ann Duffy, recently the Edinburgh Book Festival, Durham Festival and the Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank.

Keith’s debut pamphlet, Routines, was published in 2016 by Poetry Salzburg (where Keith is now on the Editorial Board) followed by a smith doorstop pamphlet, Troupers (2018) which was selected by Carol Ann as a Laureate’s Choice. His debut full collection, Baldwin’s Catholic Geese, was published by Bloodaxe in February 2019.

He delivers poetry and performance workshops for the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and for the Square Chapel Arts Centre Halifax.

These poems illuminate something timeless about the human spirit. Keith Hutson is a wonderful talent – his technically accomplished and hardworking poems arrive all of a piece, centre stage. Carol Ann Duffy on Baldwin’s Catholic Geese.