Skip to content

Previous Events and Festivals

Cambridge, Heffers: An Evening with Philip Hardie

Thursday, May 29th at 18.30

Philip Hardie is launching his latest book ‘The Last Trojan Hero’ with us. In his major and much anticipated new book Philip Hardie explores the many remarkable afterlives – ancient, medieval and modern – of the Aeneid in literature, music, politics, the visual arts and film. The Last Trojan Hero, by one of Virgil’s leading interpreters, puts continually fresh and surprising perspectives on one of the outstanding works of civilization. Placing the Aeneid on a broad artistic and historical canvas, it shows with elegance, originality and creative insight how and in what ways this remarkably durable text continues so powerfully to capture the cultural imagination, and why it still speaks to us over a gulf of centuries.   Philip Hardie is senior research fellow at Trinity College Cambridge and Honorary Professor of Latin at the University of Cambridge. His many books include Virgil’s Aeneid: Cosmos and Imperium, The Epic Successors of Virgil, Ovid’s Poetic of Illusion, The Cambridge Companion to Ovid and, edited with S. Gillespie, The Cambridge Companion to Lucretius   Tickets from:

Cambridge, Heffers: An Evening with Jerry Toner

Thursday, June 5th at 18:30

Jerry Toner 003 
Jerry Toner is joining us to launch his latest book How to Manage Your Slaves. How to Manage Your Slaves offers practical answers to every question you’re likely to have and guidance on every problem you’re likely to encounter. Part-parody and part-history, How to Manage your Slaves gives the contemporary reader the Roman perspective on slavery through the voice of a Roman nobleman, Marcus Sidnonius Falx along with chapter-by-chapter commentary from Cambridge classicist Jerry Toner. Marcus Sidonius Falx shows where and how to buy the slaves for the purposes you have in mind and how to get the best out of them once you’ve got them. He explains how to tell a good slave from a bad, offers guidance on the punishment of miscreants, and reveals the secrets of command and authority. He covers the delicate subjects of when you should let your slaves have sex with each other and whether to engage in sex with them yourself – and considers when to set them free. Armed with this guide you will be master in your own home: your household will be a comfort to your family and its running the envy of your neighbours. Up to now ancient slavery may have been difficult to fathom: this Roman’s-eye view takes us to the heart of the matter and, based on a wealth of original sources, lets us understand just why slaves meant so much to the Romans. Jerry’s research looks at Roman social and cultural history, with a focus on trying to look at history ‘from below’. He’s also interested in sensory history, disasters, and the use of Classics to create various imagery and stereotypes relating to subordinate groups. After completing his PhD in Classics at Cambridge, he spent 10 years as a Fund Manager in the City of London, where he managed USD15bln in global bond, currency and asset allocation funds. Tickets from:

Cambridge, Heffers: An Evening with Mary Beard

Wednesday, June 11th at 18:30

Mary Beard is coming to Heffers to talk about her latest book: Laughter in Ancient Rome What made the Romans laugh? Was ancient Rome a carnival, filled with practical jokes and hearty chuckles? Or was it a carefully regulated culture in which the uncontrollable excess of laughter was a force to fear—a world of wit, irony, and knowing smiles? How did Romans make sense of laughter? What role did it play in the world of the law courts, the imperial palace, or the spectacles of the arena? Laughter in Ancient Rome explores one of the most intriguing, but also trickiest, of historical subjects. Drawing on a wide range of Roman writing—from essays on rhetoric to a surviving Roman joke book—Mary Beard tracks down the giggles, smirks, and guffaws of the ancient Romans themselves. From ancient “monkey business” to the role of a chuckle in a culture of tyranny, she explores Roman humour from the hilarious, to the momentous, to the surprising. But she also reflects on even bigger historical questions. What kind of history of laughter can we possibly tell? Can we ever really “get” the Romans’ jokes? Mary Beard is Professor of Classics at Cambridge University. Her many books include The Roman Triumph and Pompeii. Tickets from:

 Robin Waterfield in conversation with Paul Cartledge

Tuesday, April 1st at 18:30

Robin Waterfield is making a rare appearance in Cambridge.

The evening will be chaired by Paul Cartledge. In addition to having translated numerous Greek classics, including works by Plato, Aristotle, Herodotus, Xenophon, Polybius, and Plutarch,he  is the author of Why Socrates Died: Dispelling the Myths, Xenophon’s Retreat: Greece, Persia and the End of the Golden Age, Athens: A History, Dividing the Spoils: the War for Alexander the Great’s Empire and his most recent book Taken at the Flood: The Roman Conquest of Greece. He lives in the far south of Greece on a small olive farm. Apart from the thrilling military action, the story of the Roman conquest of Greece is central to the story of Rome itself and the empire it created. As Robin Waterfield shows, the Romans developed a highly sophisticated method of dominance by remote control over the Greeks of the eastern Mediterranean – the cheap option of using authority and diplomacy to keep order rather than standing armies. And it is a story that raises a number of fascinating questions about Rome, her empire, and her civilization. For instance, to what extent was the Roman conquest a planned and deliberate policy? What was it about Roman culture that gave it such a will for conquest? And what was the effect on Roman intellectual and artistic culture, on their very identity, of their entanglement with an older Greek civilization, which the Romans themselves recognized as supreme?   Paul Cartledge is the first A. G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at Cambridge University, having previously held a personal chair in Greek History at Cambridge


Michael Scott – Delphi

 Tuesday, March 25th 2014 at 18:15

ISBN: 9780691150819 - Delphi

Don’t just take our word for it that Michael Scott’s talk will be something special: “Like the two eagles released by Zeus from opposite ends of the world who then met in Delphi, Michael Scott gets to the heart of antiquity’s most celebrated and enigmatic oracle. A vivid and lucid study that reanimates the mentality of those who consulted Apollo more convincingly than any other I have read.” Tom Holland, author of Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West “Few scholars know the history of ancient Delphi as intimately as Michael Scott does. Apollo’s injunction to ‘know yourself’ is as hard to obey now as it was in ancient times, but readers seeking enlightenment will surely be encouraged to learn that the unsettling Delphic effect is good for them. On a more earthly plane, they will find Scott’s expert guidance to the site and its museum invaluable.” Paul Cartledge, author of After Thermopylae: The Oath of Plataea and the End of the Graeco-Persian Wars Michael is appearing at Heffers, Cambridge, to talk about his latest book “Delphi: A History of the Center of the Ancient World” . Tickets avaliable only from:  


Heffers Classics Festival 2013

Tickets available from 23rd September 10.00am

Please click here for Heffers Classics tickets

Please call us on 01223 463220 or email: if you have any queries.

Heffers Classics Festival returns to Cambridge: Saturday 2nd November 2013. The venue for this years Festival is the Law Faculty, Sidgwick Site, University of Cambridge.

In association with Cambridge University’s Festival of Ideas, Heffers are delighted to be holding the annual Heffers Classics Festival with a host of celebrities from the worlds of Classics Fact and Fiction.

Be transported back to the ancient world with experts, historians and comedians, as we explore everything from long-forgotten cities, heroes and gods, detectives and villains to current exhibitions.

This dynamic day long Festival celebrates the Classical World. The programme is a diverse celebration of all that the Classical world has to offer. The programme this year runs over three streams: facts for the academic historians, philosophers and students; fiction for those of you who like your history stories set in the Classical period and, finally, something for our younger friends with storytelling and interactive fun from Matthew Ward, an actor who appeared in Horrible Histories, Hugh Lupton and Caroline Lawrence.

Check out the authors who will be turning up to talk to and sign your books (bought from the on-site Heffers shop of course) along with a range of non-book Classics related goodies to buy!

Throughout the day there will be comedy, theatre, music (courtesy of musician Anna Neale) and thought provoking sessions.

Starting off the Classics Fact day is an early treat: Mary Beard, Jules Evans and Joanna Paul at 10.00 am; the lunchtime Balloon debate features a fabulous cast taking the parts of various Classical figures to debate ‘Who is the Greatest Character from Classical Mythology?’

Topping our Classics Fiction sessions this year will see the first public conversation between Lindsay Davis and Simon Scarrow, chaired by MC Scott – this promises to be one of those magical events for fans and novices alike!

On-site café, Origin8, will be serving food all day and is the perfect place to grab a drink and meet up with friends before or after your event.

This year we are delighted to welcome our sponsors OUP, I.B Tauris, Harvard, Princeton, and Bloomsbury who will be providing information about their books and events.

10am – 11am

Jules Evans – Philosophy For Life

ISBN: 9781846043215 - Philosophy for LifeISBN: 9781846043215 - Philosophy for Life

Jules Evans is a journalist and writer, who is interested in how people seek the good life in modern societies. He is particularly interested in ancient Greek and Roman philosophies, and how individuals and communities are re-discovering their ideas today. An important part of that story is cognitive psychotherapy’s re-discovery of ancient philosophy.

Joanna Paul – Pompeii and Herculaneum

ISBN: 9780199542925 - Film and the Classical Epic TraditionISBN: 9780199569366 - Pompeii in the Public Imagination from Its Rediscovery to Today

Joanna is a lecturer in Classical Studies at the Open University. Her main research is in Classical Reception Studies. Joanna will be talking about her book A Spectacle of Destruction: Pompeii and Herculaneum in Popular Imagination. Published early 2014

Mary Beard – Roman Jokes: What can they teach us?

ISBN: 9781781250488 - Confronting the ClassicsISBN: 9781846684715 - PompeiiISBN: 9781846685361 - All in a Don's DayISBN: 9780674032187 - The Roman TriumphISBN: 9781846683497 - The Parthenon

Mary Beard is a wickedly subversive commentator on both the modern and the ancient world. She is a professor in classics at Cambridge and classics editor of the TLS.

11.30am – 12.30pm

David Mattingly – Imperialism, Power & Identity: Intentional & Unforseen Consequences of the Roman Empire

ISBN: 9780691146058 - Imperialism, Power, and IdentityISBN: 9780140148220 - An Imperial PossessionISBN: 9780691146058 - Imperialism, Power, and Identity

David John Mattingly is an archaeologist and historian of the Roman world, who is currently a Professor at the University of Leicester.

William Fitzgerald – How to Read a Latin Poem

ISBN: 9780199657865 - How to Read a Latin PoemISBN: 9780226252537 - MartialISBN: 9780199657865 - How to Read a Latin Poem

William Fitzgerald is a Professor of Latin language & Literature at King’s College London. He will be speaking about his latest book ‘How to Read a Latin Poem if you can’t Read Latin yet.

Natalie Haynes - Ancient Guide to Modern Life

ISBN: 9781846683244 - The Ancient Guide to Modern LifeISBN: 9781846683237 - The Ancient Guide to Modern Life

Natalie Haynes is an English comedian and writer. She has been performing stand-up comedy since 1994 and was a member of Footlights at Cambridge University where she read Classics at Christ’s College.

2pm – 2.45pm

Balloon Debate – Who is the Greatest Character from Classical Mythology?

Featuring… Harry Sidebottom as Hector, Natalie Haynes as Oedipus, Ruth Downie as Dido, Caroline Lawrence as Andromache and Paul Cartledge as Argus

3.15pm – 4.15pm

Kate Cooper – Band of Angels

ISBN: 9781848873285 - Band of AngelsISBN: 9780521187930 - The Fall of the Roman HouseholdISBN: 9780674939509 - Virgin and the Bride

Kate Cooper is an ancient historian and professor at the University of Manchester. Her book ‘Band of Angels’ is published in August.

David Stuttard – Greek Tragedy

ISBN: 9781853997365 - Looking at LysistrataISBN: 9780714122694 - AD 410ISBN: 9780500251898 - The Romans Who Shaped Britain

David is a writer and lecturer, who also works as a theatre dramaturg and workshop leader. In August last year (2012), Current World Archaeology wrote of him: ‘David Stuttard is a classicist well-known for translating and directing Greek plays. His career represents an admirable commitment to popularising classical culture and making it accessible to new non-specialist audiences.’

Charlotte Higgins – The Romans in Britain

ISBN: 9780224090896 - Under Another SkyISBN: 9781906021597 - It's All Greek to MeISBN: 9781906021139 - Latin Love Lessons

Charlotte Higgins is the chief arts writer of the Guardian. She contributes to the Guardian’s news, features, op-ed, literary and arts sections. Charlotte studied Classics at Balliol College, Oxford. She will be talking about her latest book ‘Under Another Sky. Journeys in Roman Britain.’

4.45pm – 5.45pm

Jerry Toner – The Roman Gods Predict your Future

Cover: Homer's Turk in HARDCOVERISBN: 9780745651026 - Roman DisastersISBN: 9780745643090 - Popular Culture in Ancient Rome

Jerry Toner is the Director of Studies in Classics at Hughes Hall. He researches into Roman social and cultural history, with a focus on trying to look at history ‘from below’. His book, Popular Culture in Ancient Rome, analysed the life of the non-elite in Roman society. He has had two books published this year. One is to show how historians and travel writers have used classical sources to help create various images of Islam and the Orient, which is to be published by Harvard University Press. The other looks at the important role that disasters played in Roman life and culture and will come out next year with Polity Press. For his talk Jerry will use the Oracles of Astrampsychus to read people’s fortunes and then analyse the implicit information contained in the oracles.

Peter Heather – Barbarian Popes and the Restoration of Rome

ISBN: 9780330492553 - Empires and BarbariansISBN: 9780330491365 - The Fall of the Roman EmpireISBN: 9780230700154 - The Restoration of Rome

Peter Heather is a historian of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, currently Professor of Medieval History at King’s College London. His latest book ‘The Restoration of Rome’ is published later this year and will be the focus of Peter’s talk.

Paul Cartledge – The Oath of Plataea

ISBN: 9780199601349 - Ancient GreeceISBN: 9780192803887 - The GreeksISBN: 9780330419185 - ThermopylaeISBN: 9780199747320 - After ThermopylaeISBN: 9780330413251 - The Spartans

Paul Cartledge is Professor of Greek History, the A G Leventis Professor of Greek Culture and Fellow of Clare College. He is the author of numerous best selling books and a great supporter of our shop. Paul will be speaking about his latest book After Thermopylae. The Oath of Plataea and the End of the Graeco-Persian Wars.

10am – 10.45am

Caroline Lawrence – Myths, Movies and Storytelling

ISBN: 9781444004571 - The Thunder OmenISBN: 9781444004564 - The Poisoned Honey CakeISBN: 9781842550236 - Assassins of RomeISBN: 9781842550205 - The Thieves of Ostia

Caroline Lawrence is an English American author, best known for The Roman Mysteries series of historical novels for children. Caroline studied Classical Art and Archaeology at Newnham College Cambridge and is the current JACT president.

Hugh Lupton – ‘From the Tongue to the Page’ A storyteller’s guide to writing the Greek Myths

ISBN: 9781846864469 - The Adventures of OdysseusISBN: 9781846868016 - Adventures of AchillesISBN: 9781846867026 - Adventures of OdysseusISBN: 9781846864063 - Adventures of Achilles

Hugh Lupton is one of the most prominent figures in the Oral Storytelling Tradition. He co-founded the Company of Storytellers in 1985, and for a while ran a branch of The Crick Crack Club in Norfolk.

11.15am – 12.15pm

Henry Venmore-Rowland – The Undergraduate Author

ISBN: 9780857500939 - The Last CaesarISBN: 9780593068533 - The Sword and the Throne

Henry was signed up by transworld in his last year at University. His debut novel The Last Caesar  was published last summer. It follows the journey of Aulus Caecina Severus and his role in the chaos that was The Year of the Four Emperors. The sequel is published in June of this year.

Harry Sidebottom – Historical Novels of the Classical World

ISBN: 9780141032290 - Warrior of Rome I: Fire in the EastISBN: 9780141032306 - Warrior of Rome IIISBN: 9780141032313 - Warrior of Rome III: Lion of the SunISBN: 9780141046167 - The Caspian GatesISBN: 9780141046174 - Warrior of Rome: the Wolves of the North

Harry Sidebottom’s main scholarly research interests are Greek culture under the Roman empire (thinking about the compromises and contradictions involved when an old and sophisticated culture is conquered and ruled by what it considers a younger and less civilised power) and warfare in classical antiquity (looking at how war was both done and thought about by Greeks and Romans). He has published numerous chapters in books, and articles and reviews in scholarly journals becoming an internationally recognised scholar in these fields.

Robert Fabbri – Writing the Classical era into Fiction

ISBN: 9780857897411 - False God of RomeISBN: 9781848879140 - Rome's ExecutionerISBN: 9781848879119 - Vespasian: Tribune of Rome

His first novel, Vespasian: Tribune of Rome, was published in May 2011 by Corvus, the genre imprint of Atlantic. The second book, Rome’s Executioner, was published in May 2012. With the third book, The False God of Rome, already complete he has just embarked on book four which has a working title of Rome’s Fallen Eagle. There will be seven books in the series as well as spin-off short stories revolving around Vespasian’s friend Magnus and his crossroads brethren; the first of these, The Crossroads Brotherhood, was published on Kindle on 25th December 2011

2pm – 3pm

Tom Harper – The Whole Truth: Ancient Philosophy and the Art of Detection

ISBN: 9781444731354 - The Orpheus DescentISBN: 9780099515739 - Lost TempleISBN: 9780099453482 - The Mosaic of Shadows

Tom Harper studied history at Lincoln College, Oxford. He is a member of the crime writers’ association, the Historic Novels Society, the Society of Authors, the International Thriller Writers and the Historical Writers’ Association.

Richard Jenkyns – God, Space & City in the Roman Imagination

ISBN: 9780199675524 - God, Space, and City in the Roman ImaginationISBN: 9781853991332 - Classical EpicISBN: 9780198140337 - Virgil's Experience

Richard Jenkyns was an undergraduate at Balliol College, Oxford. He was a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, from 1972 to 1981, Lecturer in Classics, University of Bristol, 1978-81, and from 1981 to 2010 he was a Fellow and Tutor in Classics at Lady Margaret Hall. He became Professor of the Classical Tradition in 1999 and the University’s Public Orator in 2004. He was awarded a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship 2007-10.

Harry Eyres - Horace and Me: Life Lessons from an Ancient Poet

ISBN: 9781408814581 - Horace and MeISBN: 9781408814581 - Horace and MeISBN: 9781408814581 - Horace and Me

Harry Eyres is a journalist, writer and poet. He was educated at Cambridge University, where he studied English language and literature. He will be talking about his new book ‘Horace and Me’

3.30pm – 4.15pm

Ruth Downie – Stories in Stones: Telling the Tales of Forgotten People

ISBN: 9781400153633 - MedicusISBN: 9781596912328 - Terra Incognita: A Novel of the Roman EmpireISBN: 9780141036946 - Ruso and the River of DarknessISBN: 9780141036922 - Ruso and the Root of All EvilsISBN: 9780141027265 - Ruso and the Demented Doctor

Ruth is the author of a series of mysteries featuring Roman Army medic and reluctant sleuth, Gaius Petreius Ruso. His latest adventure, SEMPER FIDELIS, was published in January in the USA and Canada.

M C Scott – Ciphers and Oracles. Spycraft in Ancient Rome

ISBN: 9780552168007 - Rome: The Emperor's SpyISBN: 9780552161794 - Rome: The Coming of the KingISBN: 9780552161817 - Rome: The Eagle of the TwelfthISBN: 9780593065464 - Rome: The Art of War

M C Scott qualified as a veterinary surgeon from Glasgow University and spent fifteen years in Newmarket and Cambridge specialising in anaesthesia and intensive care, before turning to writing as an alternative, less sleep-deprived, profession. She is the author of the Internationally bestselling Boudica series and the fourth book in her Rome series has just been published.

4.45pm – 5.30pm

Hard Heads, Hard Helmets – for the First Time Ever, Lindsey Davis and Simon Scarrow in Conversation.

ISBN: 9781444755824 - The Ides of AprilISBN: 9780099515241 - See Delphi And DieISBN: 9780755358366 - Sword and ScimitarISBN: 9780755353798 - Praetorian

Lindsey Davis is an English historical novelist, best known as the author of the Falco series of crime stories set in ancient Rome and its empire.

Simon Scarrow is best known for his Eagle Series of Roman Military fiction set in the territories of the Roman Empire, covering the second invasion of Britain and the subsequent prolonged campaign undertaken by the rump of the Julio-Claudian dyasty.

This event is being chaired by author M C Scott

10.30am – 11.30am and 2pm – 3pm

ISBN: 9780439944021 - The Groovy GreeksISBN: 9781407135779 - Rotten Romans

Matthew Ward – Ruthless Romans and Gruesome Greeks

All the nasy bits of classical history that you’ll never learn in school! Activities and fun with Matthew Ward, who appeared in three series of the award-winning ‘Horrible Histories’

12.15pm – 12.45pm

ISBN: 9781846868337 - Demeter and PersephoneISBN: 9781846867835 - Orpheus and EurydiceISBN: 9781846867811 - Theseus and the Minotaur

Storytelling with Hugh Lupton

Hugh Lupton is one of the most prominent figures in the Oral Storytelling Tradition. He co-founded the Company of Storytellers in 1985.

3.30pm – 4.30pm

ISBN: 9781444004588 - The Two-Faced GodISBN: 9781842556054 - Scribes from AlexandriaISBN: 9781842550205 - The Thieves of Ostia

Caroline Lawrence: Creative writing workshop for kids 8 to 88 years old!

Best-selling kids-lit author Caroline Lawrence is often asked ‘Where do you get your ideas? and ‘How do you start writing?’ In a lively, illustrated talk, Caroline will share over a dozen fun tips including: How to Plunder the Greek Myths, the three ingredients of a story, seven steps of a good plot, five archetypal characters from Pixar/Disney and How to Daydream. Bring your writer’s notebooks if you want to participate in some minute-long exercises… Or just sit back and enjoy!


Heffers Classics Festival 2012

The line-up for the 2012 Festival, Cambridge.

Please see the dedicated page on this blog for this years Festival!

Tickets now on sale!




Session One 10.30-11.15

Philip Hardie

Aeneas in the Americas: Virgil and the New World

Mary Beard

The Importance of Classics

David Gwynn

The Roman Republic

Session Two


Harry Sidebottom

The Classical World in Fiction

Andrew Wallace-Hadrill


Mark Walker

Hobbitus Ille: New Latin Translation of ‘The Hobbit’

Natalie Haynes

The Ancient Guide to Modern Life

Session Three


Adrian Goldworthy

Antony and Cleopatra

Michael Scott


Charlotte Higgins

The Importance of Homer Today

Session Four3.30-4.00

Bettany Hughes

Q & A session and signing

Session Five


Tom Holland

When did the Roman Empire Fall?

Paul Cartledge

Spartans and Thermopylae

Mary Beard

Meet the Romans

Mary Beard, Tom Holland, Paul Cartledge & Michael Scott

Author Book Recommendations

  1. What an excellent event!

  2. What a great day! I had such an enjoyable and interesting time listening to all the talks ~ it was well worth the trip from Kent. Thank you for putting on such an excellent event and I hope that you will be repeating it next year?

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Heffers Classics Festival – Get Your Tickets Now! « heffersbookshop
  2. How A day at Heffers. | myTrifle Blog General

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 592 other followers

%d bloggers like this: