Category Archives: Author Event

London’s Loveable Villain, introduced by author Andy Scott – Tuesday 8 June, 7pm

Andy Scott reads from his book London's Loveable Villain about his great-uncle Chick "Cocky" Knight aka "the Bear". Described as a real London character, boxer, bouncer, wrestler, lifesaver, villain but undoubtedly with a heart of gold - Chick saved at least 3 people's lives in dramatic circumstances. As a bouncer in Soho he took on four wielding knives and razors. As a professional wrestler he appeared all over the world, fighting all the great heavyweights in a 25 year career from 1932 to 1958, and in 1938 one of the first to appear on television.

Register to attend

The Next Friends’ author event – Lilian Pizzichini

11 May, 7pm

Register for a free ticket and link to this online event

Lilian Pizzichini will talk with us about Mariella Novotny’s life, a life of intrigue, spying and crime...

In 1961 Mariella Novotny was engaging in sexual relations with President John F. Kennedy and believed to be a Communist agent. FBI officers called their investigation ‘The Bow-Tie Case’.

Two years later she was involved in the Profumo Affair. Then in the 1970s she began working undercover investigating police corruption in the Flying Squad. Her chief target was the author’s grandfather, Charlie Taylor, a London conman who had high-ranking officers in his deep pockets.

Mariella brought them all down and was found dead in February 1983. Christine Keeler said she was convinced it was murder, most probably by the CIA.

Mariella Novotny was embroiled in some of the top spy and crime stories of the day and in Lilian’s biography she emerges as the early embodiment of radical sexual politics.

See you there?

Dostoevsky in Love?

Alex Christofi joins us live on zoom - Tuesday 13 April, 7pm

A novelistic life that immerses the reader in a grand vista of Dostoevsky’s Russia: from the Siberian prison camp to the gambling halls of Europe; from the dank prison cells of the Tsar’s fortress to the refined salons of St Petersburg. Alex Christofi relates the stories of the three women whose lives were so deeply intertwined with Dostoevsky’s: the consumptive widow Maria; the impetuous Polina who had visions of assassinating the Tsar; and the faithful stenographer Anna, who did so much to secure his literary legacy.      

The memoir Dostoevsky might himself have written had life – and literary stardom – not intervened. Alex Christofi gives us a new portrait of the artist as never before seen: a shy but devoted lover, a friend of the people capable of great empathy, a loyal brother and friend, and a writer able to penetrate to the very depths of the human soul.

To register for an invitation, email:

Recovering stories of women in history – Naomi Clifford

Join us on Tuesday evening at 7pm, March 9th (the day after International Women's Day) with Lambeth author Naomi Clifford.

The rape and murder of Marcy Ashford in 1817 became a huge scandal. It was widely agreed who done it - but the man was acquitted in the first trial, to the outrage of many. The pursuit of justice by her family then took some extraordinary twists, which eventually led to a change in the murder laws of England. Theories about Mary's fate multiplied, obscured by bizarre guidance on rape cases in the Georgian law books. "Was it really murder, or did she commit suicide out of guilt?" The truth, Naomi Clifford says, has remained hidden in plain sight for two centuries....

The Friends are proud to host this event in collaboration with Lambeth Library Service.

It's easy to attend on zoom and free!

book a ticket here

Adam Mars-Jones – Box Hill

Tuesday, 9 February, 7pm - online

Herne Hill author Adam Mars-Jones presents his newest novel.

Box Hill won the Fitzcarraldo Novel Prize, was a Spectator Book of the Year in 2020 and was described by the Guardian as “the biggest small book of the year”.

It is the story of a strange, transgressive relationship that begins at the eponymous Surrey beauty spot. Set in the gay biker community during the late 1970s, it features loving depictions of the “scene” in such unlikely locations as suburban Woking and West Byfleet. A lost world recreated with sharp observation, affection and exquisite humour Margaret Drabble said: “It is a characteristic Mars-Jones mixture of the shocking, the endearing, the funny and the sad, with an unforgettable narrator. The sociological detail is as ever acutely entertaining.”

Other reviews describe it as clever, subtle, intimate, stirring, quietly powerful, darkly affecting, biting, stunning, a revelation of love and magic, not for the prudish, chatty - and very funny.

Join us on February 9 and make up your own mind!

to register for an invitation, email:

© Rob Smart


Tuesday 12 January, 7pm, online

Our latest monthly FoCL "First Tuesday" author talk!

Join Roy Vickery of South London Botanical Institute to discuss his
book, Vickery's Folk Flora: An A-Z of the Folklore and Uses of British
and Irish Plants.

Roy’s book is a dictionary of British (native, naturalised and
cultivated) plants and the folklore associated with them. Unlike many
plant-lore publications Vickery's Folk Flora tells us what people
currently do and believe, rather than what Victorians did and
believed. The result is a vivid demonstration that plant folklore in
the British Isles is not only surviving but flourishing; adapting and
evolving as time goes by, even in urban areas.
Organised by the Friends of Carnegie Library.

To register, email: