Special events for adults

Information about events for adults at your libraries in the borough. Booking is required for most events.

Special events for adults

We host a variety of special events and workshops in our libraries for adults throughout the year such as author events, history talks and craft workshops.

Register to attend an event

You can book to attend an event by emailing libraries@rbkc.gov.uk, phoning Librariesline on 020 7361 3010 or registering online if the event is on Eventbrite.

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Special events for adults: highlights

Mindful matters course for 50 +

  • Weekly from Thursday 11 October to Thursday 13 December
  • 11.00am to 12.30pm
  • Chelsea Library

Join mindfulness coach, Elizabeth Hooper for a free 12 session course to help you be more relaxed, more focused and better able to cope with the stresses of everyday life.

Please note that due to the Christmas break, the last two sessions will take place on Thursday 3 and Thursday 10 January 2019

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City of Stories - open mic

Celebrating London’s writers and readers

Hear from your borough’s talented writers and share your story at a free open mic session in your local library with Rachel Long.

Spread the Word City of Stories engages writers and readers across London. This November, we're returning to 21 London libraries to host a series of performances and open mic events.

At each event you’ll have the opportunity to hear stories from that borough's host writer, the winning stories from the City of Stories competition, as well as have the chance to share your work in an open mic session. If you’re interested in new writing, want to share your work or be inspired then this is the event for you!

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C. S Lewis 120th anniversary celebration display

C. S Lewis lived from 29 November 1898 to 22 November 1962
A selection of his books and a few interesting facts about him will be on display at Chelsea Library for 1 week to celebrate his 120th Anniversary.

Take one of his books home, you may be surprised tofind out he didn’t just write Narnia!

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The London History Festival 2018

The London History Festival was established in 2009 and is currently in its 10th year. It is run by Kensington and Chelsea libraries and is held in November of each year.

This literary festival aims to bring the work of the finest historians to the widest possible audience and it consists of a series of talks and discussions followed by book signings.

Tickets are £5 per event (£3 concessions) and can be purchased via Eventbrite.

Hitler’s British Isles with Duncan Barrett

Duncan Barrett is the internationally bestselling author of The Sugar Girls, GI Brides and The Girls Who Went to War. For his new book, he interviewed more than a hundred men and women who lived through the German Occupation of the Channel Islands during World War Two.

In this talk he shares some of their remarkable tales – the true stories behind the fiction of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. By turns tragic, heroic and hilarious, they shine a light on what life was like for the only British population to live under the Third Reich, and offer a glimpse into the alternate history we might have lived through if Hitler’s invasion of mainland Britain had gone ahead as planned.

Book your place for Hitler’s British Isles with Duncan Barrett via Eventbrite.

House at Bishopsgate with Katie Hickman

Join us for a fascinating interview with Katie Hickman, the Sunday Times bestselling author of the haunting, magical story set in 17th century London, House at Bishopsgate. This event is perfect for fans of historical fiction. Vividly evoking Jacobean society, The House at Bishopsgate is a sumptuous, richly woven story of marital secrets and sexual jealousy, from a master of historical fiction.

Katie Hickman is the author of seven previous books, including two bestselling history titles, Courtesans and Daughters of Britannia. She was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year award for her novel The Quetzal Summer, and her novels The Aviary Gate and The Pindar Diamond have been translated into nineteen languages.

Book your place for House at Bishopsgate with Katie Hickman via Eventbrite.

Charles Dickens and the real Victorian Christmas

This year marks the 175th anniversary of the publication of A Christmas Carol, but what is the real story behind a Dickensian Christmas? Lucinda Hawksley, author of Dickens and Christmas, will reveal what really happened at Christmas in the Dickens household, and how A Christmas Carol became one of Charles Dickens’s most successful social campaigns.

Lucinda Hawksley is an author, broadcaster and lecturer. She has written more than 20 books, including biographies of the artists Lizzie Siddal, Kate Perugini (née Dickens) and Princess Louise, as well as three books about her great great great grandfather, Charles Dickens.

Book your place for Charles Dickens and the real Victorian Christmas via Eventbrite.

Historical writers panel with Natasha Pulley, Laura Purcell and Stuart Turton

This panel of authors have all delved into history for inspiration for their work.

Natasha Pulley's highly acclaimed debut novel, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, is a historical fantasy thriller set in atmospheric, smoggy Victorian London and Japan. Her new novel, The Bedlam Stacks, is set mainly in Peru, where the book's hero has been sent by the India Office to collect samples from the fiercely guarded cinchona trees, the source of the quinine desperately needed to combat malaria. Her first novel is a winner of a Betty Trask Award.

Laura Purcell's first novel, The Silent Companions, won the WHSmith Thumping Good Read Award 2018 and featured in both the Zoe Ball and Radio 2 Book Clubs. It is followed by The Corset, published in September 2018.

Stuart Turton is a freelance travel journalist who has previously worked in Shanghai and Dubai. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is his debut novel. He is the winner of the Brighton and Hove Short Story Prize and was longlisted for the BBC Radio 4 Opening Lines competition.

Book your place for Historical writers panel with Natasha Pulley, Laura Purcell and Stuart Turton via Eventbrite.

Behold, America with Sarah Churchwell

Sarah Churchwell the author of an insightful and revelatory, Behold, America which promises to overturn everything we thought we knew about the American dream, America First and the battle for the identity of modern America. 'The American dream is dead,' Donald Trump said when announcing his candidacy for president in 2015. How would he revive it? By putting 'America First'.

The 'American Dream' and 'America First' are two of the most loaded phrases in America today, and also two of the most misunderstood. Both phrases were born nearly a century ago and instantly tangled over capitalism, democracy and race, coming to embody opposing views in the battle to define the soul of the nation. Behold, America recounts the unknown history of these two expressions using the voices that helped shape that debate, from Capitol Hill to the newsroom of the New York Times, students to senators, dreamers to dissenters. As America struggles again to project a shared vision, to itself and to the world, Sarah Churchwell argues that the meanings and history of these terms need to be understood afresh so that the true spirit of America can be reclaimed.

Sarah Churchwell is Professor of American Literature and Chair of Public Understanding of the Humanities at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. She is the author of Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and The Invention of The Great Gatsby and The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe. Her literary journalism has appeared widely in newspapers including the Guardian, New Statesman, Financial Times, Times Literary Supplement and New York Times Book Review, and she comments regularly on arts, culture, and politics for television and radio.

Book your place for Behold, America with Sarah Churchwell via Eventbrite.

Women Who Flew for Hitler with Clare Mulley

Clare Mulley is an award-winning biographer, and contributes to various historical and current affairs journals, TV and radio.

Clare's latest book, The Women Who Flew for Hitler (2017), is a joint biography of two extraordinary women whose skills put them at the heart of the Third Reich but whose choices meant they ended their lives on opposite sides of history.

Book your place for Women Who Flew for Hitler with Clare Mulley via Eventbrite.

Rival Queens with Kate Williams

Mary and Elizabeth: cousins, rivals, queens. They allied and fought and plotted - but could never escape their bond. Join us for this thrilling new history from bestselling historian and broadcaster, Kate Williams.

At the end of the Tudor era, two queens ruled one island. But sixteenth-century Europe was a man’s world and powerful voices believed that no woman could govern. All around Mary and Elizabeth were sycophants, spies and detractors who wanted their dominion, their favour and their bodies. Elizabeth and Mary shared the struggle to be both woman and queen. But the forces rising against the two regnants, and the conflicts of love and dynasty, drove them apart. Going back to the original letters and archives, Kate has created an electrifying new perspective on both Mary and on Elizabeth and, ultimately, on the great sacrifices a woman must make to be a queen.

Book your place for Rival Queens with Kate Williams via Eventbrite.

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Museum pop-up with the Royal College of Music Museum

The Royal College of Music Museum is on the road and coming to Kensington Central Library. Drop in to see the pop-up display of some wonderful instruments during your library visit.

You'll discover more about the RCM's musical treasures, plans to transform the museum, and hear some live music too.

Entrance is free, book your free tickets on Eventbrite.

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Christmas Concert with the Royal College of Music Museum

Get in the Christmas spirit with this evening concert brought to you as part of the Royal College of Music’s Museum Roadshow and featuring some brilliant Royal College of Music student musicians.

Entrance is free but booking is essential through Eventbrite.

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Songs and Stories with the Royal College of Music Museum

The Royal College of Music Museum looks after one of the most important collections of musical portraits in the world, and they are bringing a part of it to Kensington library.

Join us for a fun lunchtime concert and talk brought to you as part of the Royal College of Music’s Museum Roadshow.

Presented by RCM researcher, Anna Maria Barry, explore some surprising and hidden stories behind four portraits from the collection, and listen as these characters are brought to life through songs performed by talented Royal College of Music musicians.

Entrance is free but booking is essential through Eventbrite.

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The Spectacle of Fashion at Barkers with Susan Bishop

Join Susan Bishop for a nostalgic look at Barkers of Kensington’s 1920s fashions.

Drawing on Barkers original photographs and promotional material, Susan will paint a picture of the glamorous catwalk shows held at the store which featured the supermodels of the day. 

Sir Sydney Skinner, the chairman, demonstrated great flair by launching his spectacular Fashion Display Hall to entice customers in.

In the midst of the Great Depression, this great British entrepreneur positioned Barkers as a luxury brand to rival Gordon Selfridges’ Oxford Street emporium.

Book your free ticket through Eventbrite.

We also have regular events for adults in our libraries.