International bestselling author comes to Winchester: Bernard Cornwell to visit on Saturday 20 May

Press Release: 25/04/2006

Bernard Cornwell

Sunday Times number one bestselling historical novelist Bernard Cornwell is visiting Winchester on Saturday 20 May for a day of special events.

Probably best known for his Sharpe series which was adapted into a hit TV series, his latest novel, The Pale Horseman, the second in a new series, is set in the time of King Alfred the Great and is published this May.

Thanks to a new partnership with publishing house HarperCollins, Winchester City Council's cultural services division is hosting a series of events.

Cornwell will begin his day in the city with a booksigning at the City Museum, where fans old and new can enjoy meeting the author. Some visiting Vikings will also be on hand to talk to visitors about life in Britain during the period of violence and uncertainty when Alfred came to power.

Cornwell will also give an evening lecture as part of an event in which the council's museums staff will participate to explore the balance of fact and fiction in Cornwell's historical novels, especially with reference to his current series. Artefacts from the museums' collections which date from the time of Cornwell's story will also be on display.

Cornwell writes with an accuracy and detail that delights historians and readers alike. The Pale Horseman follows the continuing fortunes of the Saxon warrior Uhtred. In the last novel, The Last Kingdom, Uhtred was snatched from his people by the Vikings in a bloodthirsty assault on Northumbria. Raised and trained to fight by the Danes, Uhtred begins to suffer from a confused sense of identify when his path crosses continually with that of the intriguing and clever Saxon prince Alfred. This second novel sees Uhtred in the service of Alfred - now king - and already with a major battle victory under his belt. But a renewed onslaught by the Vikings is inevitable - and Uhtred still has a blood feud to settle. Much of the action takes place in and around Winchester, Alfred's 'capital' city of the Saxon kingdom he created.

Eloise Appleby, Head of Cultural Services for Winchester City Council commented, "Thanks to this unusual partnership with HarperCollins, we have already been able to produce a special print run of our most popular guided walking trail of the city known as The Winchester Walk. Now we are delighted to be welcoming Mr Cornwell to our city to promote The Pale Horseman and, I hope, show him around Alfred's first city. I am sure this will draw some new faces to the City Museum, and provoke some interesting debate during the evening's celebrity lecture."

Event details are as follows:
Book signing by Bernard Cornwell, with Viking interpreters
from 2.30pm at City Museum, admission free
(Museum open 10am - 5pm)

Bernard Cornwell celebrity lecture, with artefacts from the museums collections
8pm at Winchester Guildhall
Admission £5, or £4 for concessions
Tickets available now from Winchester Tourist Information Centre tel 01962 840 500 or email