The Courtyard Papworth – Book Night at a micro pub

Papworth Brewery is curious, although not unique, in that it no longer resides in its namesake place. ‘Newcastle Brown’ is a related example that comes to mind straight away, as I begin to ponder on this. The brewery used to be in Papworth, to be fair, but has since located up the road to Earith, where it continues to make some genuinely lovely beer for the people of Cambridgeshire, and beyond. One such ale is the lovely ‘Whitfield Citrabolt’,which I find myself supping thirstily just before I get on the microphone, in front of a live audience at The Courtyard in Papworth. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I can get like that on the beer sometimes. Let me explain.

So, Papworth Brewery is no longer in Papworth, but it is much to the credit of it’s founder, Chris Jones, that he has chosen to come back to Papworth and run a micropub at The Courtyard, a coffee shop by day, but a pop-up pub in the evening. In fact, since in Chris started running this pub, from Easter 2018, it is now open every evening except Mondays. That is particularly welcome news for the good citizens of Papworth, which has been somewhat bereft of pub for a long time (one reason why I tend to meet so many of the people of Papworth while I am out and about in the drinking establishments of St Ives). It is also good news for me and Carol Carman, another local author and member of the ‘Telling It…’ spoken word group, because Chris likes to run events at The Courtyard, and had invited us both to come down for a Book Night. Since neither Carol nor myself are particularly shy about talking about our books, we both jumped at the chance!

Carol Carman has recently released her latest work, a novel called Gingerbread Children, which you could, and should, find out about and buy by visiting here. I am currently reading this book myself and am enjoying it immensely. One line in particular, ‘if time had not actually stopped, it was certainly having a long hot soak before deciding what to do next’ is already one of my favourites of 2018. ‘Think Terry Pratchett with witches’, many have said in regard to this book. High praise indeed and well deserved!

If you are reading this blog, you probably know more than enough about me already, so I shall skip further self-reference here, bar to say that the success of the evening, as I suddenly realise while putting down the beer and picking up the microphone, is all down to Carol, me and the delights of Chris’ bar, as we begin to try and entertain the gathered throng.

The audience is kind and attentive as we both proceed to read extracts from our latest novels. This seems to go down well, I’m relieved to be thinking as we break politely to refill our glasses, and keep Chris busy. The folks here seem to be the type who are proper fans of books (you can sometimes spot that in a crowd) so we then proceed to run a Q&A session, once glasses are recharged. As we hoped, the questions are both numerous and insightful. Carol and myself both love to talk about the writing process, such as gathering ideas, getting to the finish line, publishing the darn thing etc and the following hour is a real pleasure. It always is, to share ideas and passions with a like-minded audience. It was a most gratifying session and even more so  when we find that a good number of our new friends actually want to read our books, which is always a welcome bonus! Signings ensue!

So thank you to Chris for inviting us, and Carol for keeping me company and making us look good. Here’s a picture of us being happy about it all, once it was over:

Thank you also to the good people of Papworth, who provided us with such a warm welcome. I would recommend this event to any other writers out there who like to talk to people who love books. You can follow Papworth Brewery on Facebook here, and contact Chris there if you wish to learn more.


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