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Read up on what you missed during past events & workshops

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Prospero's Project is our fund-raising effort; read up on it here

What's Gone Before . . .

Crime Writers in Conversation

Ruth Ware, Julia Crouch and Colette Mcbeth joined event chairman Patrick Easter in conversation 10 March 2018. After the talk we opened the renovated Much Ado for the crowd of fans, who sipped madeira, met the authors and enjoyed the preview of our new look!


Drink More Fizz!

Jonathan Ray entertained a capacity crowd, discussing champagne and other fizz. The enthusiastic crowd enjoyed five different bubblies, helping celebrate Drink More Fizz!

Mysterium Signing - Saturday, 16 December

Authors Jo Keeling and David Bramwell joined us to discuss real-life mysteries . . .







Deck the Halls – The weekend of 1-2 December

Alfriston turned into a musical wonderland for the first weekend in December, with a series of live concerts hosted in shops up and down the high street.

We hosted a performance by artist Clare Whistler, together with violinist Joanna Lawrence. The pair presented a performance based on Clare's ten-year project focussing on gifts which different cultures traditioanlly offer to newborns.

We also hosted author and activist Sarah Corbett. Her book, How to be a Craftivist - The Art of Gentle Protest attracted fans who came to meet her, as well as eight crafters who took part in a free workshop.

A highlight of the weekend: Dame Jacqueline Wilson not only joined Santa Claus to light the village Christmas tree, but also came to Much Ado to sign copies of Hetty Feather's Christmas. A throng of happy children met Jacky, and took home inscribed copies of the book to treasure for years to come!





Slightly Foxed Autumn Launch Party - Saturday 16 September

We were proud to host a launch party celebrating Slightly Foxed's 55th issue. 40 or more customers joined in, quaffing wine, nibbling delicious offerings and chatting about all things bookish!




Book Memories

Helping us mark Independent Booksellers Week, the audio specialists Zoe and Leon of WordPlayAudio spent the afternoon of Sunday 25 June at Much Ado. Customers shared favourite memories of books and reading; listen to the 11-minute result below!



Crime Writers in Conversation - Sunday 30 June

Lesley Thomson (The Dog Walker) and Elly Griffiths (The Chalk Pit) were in discussion moderated by Lisa Holloway (of The Space, in Brighton). More than 50 people turned out to hear them discuss the origins of their stories, their writing habits and the place of humour in the gruesome world of mysteries . . .


Sarah Holloway Collage Workshop - Saturday 29 June


As Kingfishers Catch Fire - Thursday 13 June

Author Alex Preston and artist Neil Gower entranced more than 90 perople at Deans Place Hotel during the launch party for their new book. Neil displayed the original art, and the pair discussed the development of the book and the paintings with a slide show to illustrate the talk.


Discussion Evening: Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus - 8 June

What's there to talk about, inspired by Camus' existentilist essay? How about:

Human freedom vs. determinism; the limits of knowledge and the ineffable/inexpresable aspect of language; Camus' ethical stance and commitment to life, despite the seeming sbscene of meaning encountered in the world; the idea of god and its different uses through history; moral relativism and the idea of the objective good; camus' novels and how his philosophy found expression in his fiction; the difference between poetic and logical forms of expression; the notion of 'absurd' and the idea of paradox and contradiction with regard to reason / thought . . .

Kitchen Table Day - Fund-Raising for Maggie's Centres, 7 May

We served up drop scones and sausages in our barn to help raise funds for the drop-in centres supporting cancer patients. With the help of volunteers Emma Mason, Jilly Byford and Lisa Thompson we served more than 45 people and raised £520 for the charity!








Claire Fuller: Swimming Lessons – 30 April

Claire answered questions from fans, on subjects ranging from the role of ambiguity in her books to the pleasures of swimming in the sea . . . And left some pieces of ephemera in copies available in the shop, reflecting the plot . . .

Sarah Holloway Collage workshop - 22 April

Artist Sarah Holloway shared tips and techniques for creating collage art




Walter Benjamin: The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction - 9 March

Paris Higgins led a lively discussion touching on film as art and as propoganda, Marxist aesthetics, the internet, the restoration of paintings and far more, all rising from a reading of the 1936 essay.

Exploring 'Homer' - 23 February

David Soulsby offered introduced some of the mysteries of ancient Greece, the challenges of interpreting a 'dead' language,  and the many pleasures of Homer's poetry.




Curwen Press History - Sunday 27 November

Author Stuart McMinn, spent the afternoon discussing the history of the celebrated Curwen Press and his new book Curwen Press: Printing Blocks

Kids Learn to Stitch - 23 October

Super-cute, super-easy projects for kids to enjoy? Designer Lucinda Guy and illustrator Francois Hall have it covered with their brilliant book, Kids Learn to Stitch. On Saturday the 23rd, the pair joined us to demonstrate techniques with both need and thread and pen and ink . . .

Sussex Traditions Launch Event - Sunday 23 October

Our barn has rarely been so crowded as the the afternoon the new charity, Sussex Traditions, introduced its website with a concert by the renowned Copper Family!

More than 40 people crowded in to enjoy the music and learn about plans for the group's extraordinary database centring on Sussex music. (Plans call for the site to expand hugely in coming months and years, to create an important resource for historians as well as anyone bitten by the Sussex bug!)

National Bookshop Day - 8 October

Bookshops had their own day on 8 October 2016, and we invited customers to join us for a variety-pack of events! We intived artist Clare Whistler to read favourite autumnal poems to customers; we unvelied new art (see below!); we gave customers a chance to print their own bookmarks on our vintage Adana press; and we initiated our new ruler showing how the height of a selection of authors; artist Keith Pettit, who lettered the brobdingnagian-sized ruler, models it below . . .

New Shop Saint Unveiled

Who better to bless the shop and our customers than the Bard himself, in the form of a portrait by artist James Brown? (The print is so large James needed a steamroller to print it!)

On the first-ever Bookshop Day (8 October 2016) we unveiled James' artwork, toasting it with glasses of bubbly and hoping for benificent blessings on all!


National Poetry Day

What more could you ask for on National Poetry Day (Thursday 6 October) than a lucky dip of poems to choose from when buying a book?

Historical Society Book Sale

When we purchased the library collected by Denis and Edna Healey, it seemed entirely appropriate that some of the books should benefit the Alfriston and Cuckmere Valley Historical Society. After all, the couple were firm supporters of the organisation, and Edna served as President for several years.

So we suggested the group could select some books to for a fund-raising sale, and on 3 October they welcomed the public to Deans Place Hotel where they set out more than 1,000 volumes. The sale was a terrific success, and the ACVHS will be able to pursue several new initiatives thanks to the Healey books!


Andy Hamilton

Better known for his fanastically popular TV work and Radio 4 appearances, Andy Hamilton celebrated publication of his first solo novel, The Star Witness, with a reading at Deans Place Hotel on Wednesday 7 September. A packed house enjoyed a mix of anecdotes, memories and trenchant analysis – and then we sold out of his book!





Kit Kemp event raises £2100 for Fine Cell Work

Author and interior designer Kit Kemp - an owner of the Firmdale Hotels in London and New York – brought a little piece of London to Alfriston on Wednesday 7 September, to raise funds for the charity Fine Cell Work.

Bartenders from the Ham Yard Hotel served cocktails ('Mademoisle Much Ado') and gorgeous canaped in our yard, on a warm evening that couldn't have been bettered.

Fine Cell Work provided a lovely cushion (and Much Ado a gift certificate), for a raffle. All together we raised £1800, which proved very cheering news for Fine Cell Work!

"Events like this are such a treat for us, and the donations raised through ticket sales and sales of our products enable us to continue our core work in prison, teaching high-quality, creative needlework to foster hope, discipline and self-esteem amongst our prisoners" said Katie Steingold, Events Manager for the organization. "Our aim is to enable them to finish their sentences having acquired work skills, earned and saved some money and acquired the self-belief to not re-offend."

Thanks are due to everyone who came to the event, and most especially to Min Kemp and Kit Kemp, who made it such an amazing evening! See photos of the event by clicking here . . .


Kim Marsland and Jonathan Christie Book Signing - 21 May 2016

With books focusing on very different aspects of the art world, we invited Kim and Jonathan to meet their readers on a lovely Saturday afternoon. Kim's book, Charleston Farmhouse 1981 features the photographs she took of the Bloomsbury Group's Sussex home, before the house was saved for us all to enjoy. Jonathan's George Smart - Tailor of Frant is a monograph about a remarkable folk artist.





Jacqueline Wilson: Rent a Bridesmaid – Tuesday 17 May 2016

More than 130 fans turned out to meet Jacky Wilson at Deans Place Hotel. We heard about her early school days and her ambition to be a writer (despite poor feedback from teachers and losing a writing competition when Jacky's best friend was awarded a prize!); her start writing for what became Jackie Magazine; and her books (Rent a Bridesmaid was her 104th!).

Jacky's talk was riveting; and she met every one of her fans and signed books for all of them - a treasure to keep and enjoy!

(photos coming soon . . .)

Bunting Workshop - Sunday 8 May 2016


Kay Hussey led an exploration of the book Bunting, Banners, Garlands and Pennants . . .











Celebration of Vergil - 5 May 2016

David Soulsby guided us through the thicket of translations of Vergil's Aeneid, and revealed along the way some fascinating facts about the Roman poet. (His name is often spelled 'Virgil', apparently because his nickname was, roughly 'the virgin'; but his proper name was spelled with an 'e' - hence David's preference for 'Vergil'.) The event raised £180 for the Alfriston Village School, as well as helping elucidate the complicated issues around turning Latin poetry into English . . . and the reasons that Seamus Heaney's recent version is superior!

Juliet Nicolson: A House Full of Daughters – 28 April 2016

Juliet Nicolson offers a moving talk about her family history and her decision to explore it. More than 80 people came to discussion, at Deans Place Hotel in Alfriston. Juliet's honesty, bravery and humour touched us all!

'Here's the Book I sought for So' Contest


Celebrating Shakespeare's birthday, we challenged customers to send us a photograph, painting, collage or picture of a book they found at Much Ado. The winner: Clare Dunstall, whose tribute to Bohemian Style showed skill, imagination, effort and a love for the book that stood out, even among a strong showing of runners-up!








Shakespeare Saturday - 23 April 2016

We gave out sonnets; gave customers 'Bard is my Bag' bags for their books; and enjoyed folk music from Brighton musician Jo Burke!

Alfriston Summer Music Festival Preview - Friday 22 April

Friends of the Alfriston Summer Music Festival enjoyed a concert of Dvorak and were first to learn of plans for this year's fantastic festival . . .





Edna and Denis Healey Preview Launch - 16 April 2016

We were honoured to buy Edna and Denis' library, choosing from 15,000 volumes they assembled over almost 9 decades. Their interests were so various and the books so special that we wanted to give interested customers and firens of the Healeys a chance to see a cross-section of their library. on Saturday 16 April we opened our barn, with tables and bookcases filled. The focus: The couple's Bloomsbury collection including a signed limited edition of Virginia Woolf's Street Hauntings and a scarce early edition of her Kew.

But that wasn't all: Art; photography; UK history; foreign history; literature; poetry; children's books . . . we tried to highlight the range and focus of their lifelong love of books!



Ann Wroe Book Launch - 9 April 2016

Ann Wroe asked us to host a private launch for Six Facets of Light - and generously included a few of our Friends group . . .


Prospero's Project Library Launch

We raised £2,500 for a project run by East Sussex Library Services: Kids in Year 7 at the Seahaven Academy in Newhaven were able to each recommend a book for the local libraries to display, and were also given a copy of a book of their choice. On 17 March, the Library launched their displays with students and teachers as well as library representatives at the NEwhaven Library. Read more about Prosperos Project and the 2016 project here . . .






Soup for Syria - 13 March

With huge help from Jo Fairley and friends, we raised £1,150 for the Refugee Community Kitchen. Serving soup made by Rima and Mars Sams, we fed almost 100 people - and added donations helped us surpass our expectations!


Printing Workshop

Kay Hussey led crafters in experimenting with printing and stamping on Sunday 28 February 2016. Using everything from erasers and paperclips to traditional wooden carved designs, the group decorated tags, greeting cards and cotton bags . . .

Author Debby Holt entertained a crowd of fans at a reading on 20 February 2016, celebrating publication of The Soulmate


Matt Haig Reading & Signing - 22 November 2015

More than a dozen children showed up to hear Matt Haig read from his new book, A Boy Called Christmas.








Bill Bryson Book signing - 21 November 2015

More than 100 customers lined up to meet Bill Bryson. But his work didn't end when he had shaken hands with the last fan; he had more than 200 more copies of The Road to Little Dribbling to sign for customers who couldn't make it on the day, or who ordered copies to be posted. Thanks, Bill - your hard work made Christmas special for lots of readers!

(Thanks to Dilys Goggins for her photographs!)

Woman's Hour interview (19 September)

In the BBC Woman's Hour Green Room Nicola Miles-Wildin with Jacqueline Wilson Author Shirley Hughes We took the Woman's Hour gang some notebooks and a Christmas Stocking . . . Hope Santa fills it well!

Cate was invited to chat on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour for a segment focussing on bookshops, part of a show guest-hosted by Jacqueline Wilson.

We found to the BBC studio 'green room' filled with some of the most interesting people around (the show encompassed subjects ranging from the portrayal of disabled children in books to fashion for the older set and childhood toys). Author Shirley Hughes; actor Nicola Miles-Wildin; bookseller Anne Brichto (from the trio of shops in Hay on Wye, Addyman Books); actor Amanda Barrie . . . and the list of participants doesn't end there!

It all added up to a terrific show, and you can still listen to the episode – just click here!

Yard Sale in a Good Cause (13 September)


A house move prompted an attic clear-out and a yard sale - with all proceeds going to the British Red Cross Europe Refugee Crisis Appeal.

We raised more than £840, and found new homes from everything from curtains and tableclothes to bookcases and mirrors (an much in-between!)

Thanks are due to everyone who helped organize, heft and sell . . . And to everyone who turned out on an unpromising drizzley day to root out treasures!

Flow Garden Party (4 April)

We gathered to celebrate the Dutch magazine with crafts and food, including homemade almond bars from a Dutch recipe and some specially-imported biscuits too! Crafters made tags, cards, bunting and more using a table laden with materials. There was craft chat, of course, and an exchange of tips and ideas - all in the spirit of the magazine!


Patrick Easter: Crime and Justice in 18th-Century London (12 April)

From the attractions of crime on the river to the vageries of justice and the formation of a police force (and without neglecting the unpleasantess of the 'Newgate Dance' – don't ask!) the author of historical mystery novels offered a glimpse of crime and punishment in London's gritty underworld.




Jon Walter Book Signing - 13 December

The author of the acclaimed Close to the Wind met fans and signed copies of his book.





Super+Super Craft Demonstrations & Book Signing - Sunday 7 December

Claire Culley and Amy Phipps – who run a Brighton craft workshop space as Super+Super – celebrated the publication of their new books, Printmaking and Embroidery. The duo met customers, shared tips, and even gave away teatowels after showing how to make lovely designs with an apple!





Susan Hill – Sunday 30 November




Susan Hill spoke to an appreciative audience of more than 100 fans, discussing her variety of writing; the requirements foran English ghost story; the development of the play The Woman in Black; the new edition of her poem Can It be True?; and much more . . .

The Bookshop Book

Jen Campbell joined us on 7 November to discuss how working in a bookshop and writing a blog led to a book about bookshops around the world and the amazing stories of the people who run them . . .







Perfume Night

Josephine Fairley and Lorna McKay, authors of The Perfume Bible, spoke at a delightfully fragrant event on Friday 17 October, celebrating their new book The Perfume Bible. 25 people squeezed into our upstairs room to learn about the history of fragrences, how to wear scents and develop a scent sensibility, and tips for wearing perfumes . . .

Cocktails & Colouring (Volume 1 – Thursday, August 21 & Volume 2 – Thursday 18 September)

The latest fashion for crafters came to Much Ado, with a grown-up colouring event that featured Mojitas and The Art Therapy Colouring Book . . . Followed by a second session with Dark & Stormies


Andrew Motion & Ian Buckle at the Alfriston Music Festival

We were delighted to sponsor an evening of war poetry read by Andrew Motion, on 23 July.

The former Poet Laureate read works by Philip Larkin, Wilfred Owen and Geoffrey Hill, along with some of his own recent poems. Between readings, Ian played works by Ravel (La tombeau de Couperin was a series of compositions memorializing friends who died in the war), Weber and others. The sell-out event was a highlight of the 2014 music festival!



Towner Treat

On 18 July, curators led tours of their exhibits at Eastbourne's Towner Museum. Sara Cooper showed us through a show centring on artist Peggy Angus, which we sponsored. The show encompasses paintings and drawings; tile designs; fabric; and work as a teacher - touching on all the aspects of Peggy's extraordinary life. Then, Nathaniel Hepburn – now curator of the wonderful Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft – showed us around the show he guest-curated. It brings together artist-designed products that were mass-produced, from the Omega Group to Eric Ravilous' Wedgewood deisgns to wonderful fabrics that are part of St Jude's umbrella of artists.








Emma Chapman (How to be a Good Wife) set out on a massive road-trip visiting all the indy bookshops she could, in just one month! At Much Ado, we hung bunting to greet her – and handed her a special bag of goodies for life on the road, ranging from munchies to toiletries to red wine . . .








Sheila Bugler: Hunting Shadows reading - 9 May

Sheila discussed writing her first book, a mystery about the effort to find a kidnapped child that embroils DI Ellen Kelly in a dangerous and thrilling hunt.










Just Folk

On Thursday 17 April, The Copper Family hosted a fantastic concert and talk by Steve Roud, author of The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs.

An Evening with Lynne Truss - 28 March

More than 70 people joined Lynne for a reading from her new novel, Cat Out of Hell.







After-hours party at the Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft

On Sunday 16 March we hosted a party at the Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, which boasts a brand new building. It provides a gorgeous home for a terrific collection, and the new space wowed our party-goers during tours led by museum staff and volunteers.






Valentine Card-Making Workshops

Over the weekend of 1-2 February we put on a series of six workshops giving everyone a chance to craft their own Valentine's Day cards - with an opportunity to gift one card to a resident in a local assisted living home.





2013 events

Prospero's Project raises £2300 for Kids Company!

Click here to read more . . . .

Bill Bryson for Thanksgiving

Celebrating publication of his new book, One Summer - America 1927, Bill Bryson visited Much Ado and addressed more than 120 people at an event we held at Deans Place Hotel on 28 November - Thanksgiving, in America.

The book focuses on extraordinary events over the summer of 1927, which included Charles Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic and Babe Ruth's homerun-record setting hitting spree; his talk was wonderfully entertaining and inspired record book sales for Much Ado!

Books Are My Bag

A nationally-organized event celebrating independent bookshops, Books Are My Bag featured a cotton carrier bag with a vivid orange slogan in unmissably large letters. On 14 September we joined the celebrations by offering our customers free bags - and the chance to "Pimp My Bag" - to decorate it with markers, fabric and sewing to make their bags as individual as they wanted!



Artist Rowan Forestier-Walker is gaining a reputation as a sound artist. But she has also produced some wonderful papercut art, and shared her skills and tips with a group on 7 September.



Juliet Clarke - Alfriston Historian

Juliet Clarke join us on 24 August  to discuss Alfriston's beginnings and development. Her well-researched book, Alfriston - A Sussex Market Town and its Makers, sheds welcome light on a little-known period in the village's development!







3D Printing Demonstration (almost)

Inventor Stephen Britt brought his amazing 3D printer to the shop . . . but technical problem prevented the production of anything but frustration.

Still, an appreciative crowd gathered to watch him work. And following the public session, Stephen hosted a salon for members of the Friends of Much Ado, touching on issues of copyright and patenting; licensing challenges; the convenience of 3D printing and the difference between cookies and biscuits (staged mainly for the benefit of the American shop owner).

Stephen has shared a kind of beginner's guide to 3D printing, complete with links to sites of interest:

Stephen Britt's 3D Printing Guide

Recent developments in 3d printing have bought the technology to a point where it is viable to have a printer at home. I purchased a 3d printer for my business two years ago. I now see real potential for home users.

To start with you need to produce a model that you want to print. This is like using a word processor for text. A 3d Computer Aided Design application (CAD) is used. I use Google Sketchup, this is free to download. If you use Google Earth, and have seen 3d buildings in there, they were made using Sketchup.  You can learn how to use this free package ahead of any printing.

People also share the models that they have created on-line. You can search, view, download and print many models from sites like this-

You can then either send your design to a 3d printing company or buy a 3d printer. This is the CAM part (Computer Aided Manufacture). I bought an UP! 3d personal printer from Cool Components.

One machine has been made that prints full sized buildings in concrete. Another (HP POEM) does embroidery. Some commercial machines print metal parts. The possibilities are endless.

Have fun learning,



Book Arts Upstairs at Much Ado

Artist Andrew Malone ehibited his manipulated book art, along with framed art constructions and cards, Upstairs at Much Ado





Much Ado about Publishing

Much Ado about Publishing (Saturday 29 June) featured Nigel newton in conversation with Suzy Joinson (The Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar); Publisher Candida Lacey with members of the Myriad Books editorial and design team, in discussion with Lisa Cutts (Never Forget); Editor and publishing commentator Beverley Birch in discussion with author Paul Bryers (Mystery of the Septagram series; the Nathan Peake naval series); and Suzanne Dean, Creative Director of Vintage Design, with editor Laura Hassan, Vintage Editorial Director.

We learned about the importance of publishers serving bisuits if they want to impress perspective authors; about the challenges of copy editing novels with complicated timelines; about the challenges of designing a book cover; about finding the voice for a character - and sticking with it; about the number of people who feel free to critique a fabulous cover design . . . and lost more!


Drop-in Bookmark Making

On 26 May we opened the craft room Upstairs at Much Ado, for people to fashion their own bookmarks . . .





Letterpress Printing

Les Ellis (from Brighton's printing place, Inkspot) set up our Adana so visitors could print their own postcards, using his vintage wooden type . . .

Book Binding with Sarah Bryant








Our first workshop help Upstairs at Much Ado – we each came away with a beautiful hardback book, thanks to Sarah!

Letter-Writing day

We celebrated National Stationery Week on Sunday 21 April by inviting customers to pen letters which we posted for free.





Doing Bird

Martin Gurdon entertained more than 20 people in our Barn on Saturday 20 April, discussing his adventures with chickens and other fowl. He brought along two chickens – one (not anatomically correct in all respects) purchased at Ikea, and one elegent-looking rooster named Sarkozy.








Valentine Card-Making

On 9 February we gathered to cut, paste, sew, tie and assemble some special cards . . .




Crime at Christmas

A crime-wave of bookish proportions swept through Alfriston on Saturday 15 December.

Author Patrick Easter organised 15 other members of the Crime Writers Association to join in a series of forums held in the Old Chapel Centre. The likes of Peter James, Elly Griffiths and Patrick himself engaged on such weighty questions as what the future of the book might be, whether there is an art to writing; and what the shape of a writer's working day might look like.

More than 60 people turned out to hear their discussions and ruminations.



Much Ado’s British History Book Club - A Round-up.

In 2012, we launched our first History Book Group thinking there might be a few hardy souls interested in discussing books with a purely historical bias. We were amazed how quickly the Group was over-subscribed, and resorted to the only fair thing we could do and offered places on a first come, first served basis.
Since we weren’t aiming for a heavy academic route march through history, we chose books from across the spectrum that we thought people would find interesting, kicking off with Stuart Maconie’s Hope & Glory, a fairly light-hearted look at a significant event from each decade of the last century. We then discussed two books assessing the impact of World War One, Richard van Emden’s The Quick and the Dead which focused on the lives of soldiers at the front and their families left at home and Juliet Nicolson’s The Great Silence, which considered the two years following the end of the war and the ways in which both the country and individuals began the process of coming to terms with it. Our final book of the season was Thomas Penn’s Winter King: Dawn of Tudor England, a very detailed account at the life of Henry VII, an often overlooked and somewhat shadowy figure who ushered in the Tudor age.
At the final meeting in December, we laid the floor open for people to recommend history books to other members of the group: the selection was diverse to say the least, ranging from two books on Russia (one about a Russian childhood, the second, Twenty Letters to a Friend, written by Stalin’s daughter Svetlana Alliluyeva) to those which captured a particular period well -  including Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, Jenny Uglow’s The Lunar Men, Iain Mortimer’s Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England and Roy Porter’s consideration of English Society in the Eighteenth Century. Mary Beard’s Pompeii – a book she’d intended to write for 30 years – was the only book that focused on a place rather than a time or person, and Geraldine Brooks A Year of Wonders, was the only work of fiction put forward for its account of the plague year in the small Derbyshire village of Eyam. A slightly different recommendation was Lynsey Hanley’s book Estates about the history of social housing in Britain.
We’d really like to thank everyone who supported the History Book Group and turned up to the meetings no matter what the weather. With our plans for a sabbatical and some construction work ahead, we’re not sure where things will take us, but we’ll keep you posted should we decide to do it all again.

- Ruth Rossington

Evening event: Eat, Drink, Print & be Merry!

We invited our e-newsletter subscribers to enjoy an after-hours shopping event on Sunday 9 December.

We served up a quite ravishing Pear cognac, with our own homemade biscuits. But the real attractions lay in the recital of seasonal poetry from different authors and periods by artists Clare Whistler and Jane Metcalfe.

And not a few visitors took advantage of the opportunity we offered to print some of their own Christmas cards on our Adana letterpress. We had hand-set a sentiment from Charles Dickens, found in our of his letters to a brother-in-law, and a steady line of printers took turns working on the result.

All in all, it was a lovely evening!



Hailsham WI Reading Group

An enthusistic reading group from the Hailsham WI joined us for tea & chit-chat on Saturday, 1 December. Led by Diane Page, the women (with some men braving the event, as well!) brought along a selection of cakes and biscuits. After enjoying a discount on in-shop purchases (and free gift wrapping, of course!) they retired to chat and nosh in our barn - a thoroughly satisfactory way to round off a pre-Christmas expedition!

Book Swap in the Barn

We invited customers to drop off a book they enjoyed, and pick up another book from another customer to discover. Through the afternoon, a stream of readers came in to share their favourites and see what other people had enjoyed . . . (16 September 2012)

Saturday 8th September - Book Signing & Discussion Group

A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar author Suzanne Joinson joined in discussion with 15 readers, who quizzed her on topics ranging from themes in the book to the historical research; from names and places to research and writing style.



Book Group - The Conductor by Sarah Quigley

Set in Leningrad during the Nazi seige, this enthralling novel follows the lives of musicians under extraordinary duress. Quigley uses her thorough research lightly; the book's impetus comes from her well-drawn and engagging characters who gossip, undercut one-another, strive for artistic greatness and fall in  - and out! - of love while the world falls apart around them.

Conductor James Lowe, who has made a special study of Shostakovich, joined us to add his professional judgement on the novel.

The discussion took place in our Barn, from 3pm on Sunday, 2 September 2012

Saturday 11th August 2012 -  Crocheted Accessories book launch

Much Ado hosted the launch of a fantastic new crochet book by local author Vanessa Mooncie, a new author with many inspring craft ideas.

Vanessa held court in our underpass, signing copies of her book and dispensing crochet tips, as well as our delicious lavender shortbread.

The book's projects have fantastic, modern designs that would suit any level of crocheter, giving anyone the opportunity to whip up some fabulous new accessories.

Book Swap!

We held our second book swap on Sunday 22nd April.

The afternoon took place at the Old Chapel Centre, Alfriston, led by two fantastic hosts and book swap masterminds, Scott Pack and Robert Hudson.

Joining us were also the authors Lizzie Enfield and Patrick Easter, fielding all manner of questions from an enthusiastic audience, swapping some of their own favourite reads and even taking part in a paper plane competition.

The audience shared lovely cakes they had brought along and eagerly exchanged a wide variety of books. Be them treasured novels for someone else to read or a book that wouldn’t be read but someone else might enjoy, books were bartered for and swapped back and forth. It was great to hear so many passionate recommendations from the audience.

Celebrating Eric Ravilious

James Russell presented a fascinating discussion of Eric Ravilious’ art and life on Tuesday, 27 March 2012.

The author of the popular Ravilious in Pictures series from Mainstone Press, featuring informative essays paired with beautiful reproductions of prints and paintings by Ravilious, James presented a slide show encompassing examples of Ravilious' art and photographs of the places he painted.









Christmas Wreath-Making Workshops

Bridgette Saunders and Deborah Kalinke (from The Garden House in Brighton) brought their craft skills to wreath-making workshops on 11 December 2011.

Providing heaps of greenery, berry-laden branches and ribbons, they helped sixteen participants make their own Yuletide wreaths.



Jacqueline Wilson Ceebrate her anthology “Green Glass Beads”

Jacqueline Wilson came to Alfriston to discuss her anthology of poems for girls, Green Glass Beads.

More than 150 fans turned out to see her speak at Deans Place Hotel on 4 December 2011. Jacqueline talked about her appreciation for poetry, her amazing collection of books, and early recollections of performing in public, and the process of choosing specific poems and themes to include in her book.





























Alfriston History Uncovered

Historian Juliet Clarke signed copies of Alfriston – A Sussex Market Town and its Makers. 20 years’ research makes this an essential book for anyone interested in the village’s history. (13 November 2011)


Asa Briggs recalls Bletchley Park Service

Historian Asa Briggs (pictured with former Secretary of State for Defence and Chancellor of the Exchequer Denis Healey) signed books for fans and Bletchley Park colleagues. (12 November 2011).




Bill Collison Book Signing

Authors Bill Collison and Sheridan McCoid visited Much Ado to sign copies of Bills – The Cookbook – Cook, Eat, Smile.

Bill is something of a legend for founding the Lewes produce shop and restaurant Bills, which has now gone national with branches in Brighton, London and elsewhere.

On Sunday, 20 November 2011 he and Sheridan met a steady stream of appreciative cooks, looking forward to using his recipes.



Keith Pettit - Wood Engravings

Artist Keith Pettit brought his marvellous wood engravings to Much Ado’s barn on 26 and 27 November 2011.

Shop customers enjoyed his display of lovely woodcuts, and his exhibition of printing techniques.

Many customers already know his work without realizing it; Keith carved our sign and our mailbox, and also created the striking ‘stumpery’ decorating our yard. His burgeoning career as a woodcut artist comes after years studying with a number of talented artists.


Craft Afternoons round-up

14 July: Paper Made!

9 June: Paper Craft

13 May: Fabric swap










15 April: Paper, Please . . .


18 March: Inaugural Craft Afternoon - folding, creasing, and gluing paper