Hereford Cathedral will host international best selling author Irene Vallejo as she discusses her latest book Papyrus: The Invention of Books in the Ancient World with translator Charlotte Whittle.

The Papyrus book cover shows an illustration of papyrus plants in greens and blues

On Monday 5 June at 7pm, as part of the Life & Learning programme at the cathedral, Vallejo will discuss the thrilling and immersive tale of the birth of books. Papyrus, which was a Financial Times Best Book of 2022, takes readers on a journey through mountainous landscapes and the roaring sea, to the capitals where culture flourished and the furthest reaches where knowledge found refuge in chaotic times. Vallejo follows the origins of the book from the banks of the Nile to the capitals where literary culture flourished, as well as the hidden places where knowledge found refuge in chaotic times. In this sweeping tour of the history of books, the wonder of the ancient world comes alive and along the way we discover the singular power of the written word.

Vallejo will be joined by editor, writer, and literary translator Charlotte Whittle, who has recently translated Papyrus, in an evening which promises to be a celebration of the history of the written word. After the discussion there will be an opportunity for informal discussion over a glass of wine with both Vallejo and Whittle.

Jennifer Dumbelton, Cathedral Librarian said: “The evolution of books is fascinating and full of surprises. Papyrus gives great insight into how manuscripts like those in the Chained Library came to be, both in subject and in form. It will be a special treat to hear Irene Vallejo speaking with translator Charlotte Whittle about Papyrus and its own evolution.”

Charlotte Whittle said: "Irene and I are both thrilled to be able to speak at a venue that has itself played a vital role in the preservation of books. The librarians, scribes, binders, booksellers, and scholars who have contributed to that fantastic, collaborative act of preservation are the very people to whom Irene pays homage in Papyrus, so it is perfect to be able to celebrate them at Hereford Cathedral, where the chained library holds so many treasures."

Papyrus: Irene Vallejo in conversation with Charlotte Whittle will take place on Monday 5 June at 7pm in College Hall. Tickets for this event, which includes a glass of wine, cost £12 and can be purchased in advance here or by contacting Hereford Cathedral Library on [email protected] or call 01432 374 225.

Banner Image: Irene Vallejo, the Papyrus cover and Charlotte Whittle