First John le Carré Memorial Lecture to feature “Slow Horses” author Mick Herron

On Thursday evening 2 May 2024 the inaugural John le Carré Memorial Lecture will be presented by The Morrab Library at the Acorn Theatre in Penzance. Tickets for the event have sold out.

Sponsored by The Arts Society West Cornwall and planned to be a biennial event, the first lecture will feature guest speaker Mick Herron, celebrated author of the Slow Horses / Slough House espionage novels, which have been adapted into a successful TV series starring Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas.

World-renowned espionage writer John le Carré (real name: David John Moore Cornwell) lived in St Buryan, Cornwall, until his death in 2020, at the age of 89. He was the author of 26 novels, including The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Constant Gardener, The Night Manager, The Little Drummer Girl, A Perfect Spy et al, many of which have been adapted into feature films and television series, plus five works of nonfiction, including his 2016 memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life.

Carré was a passionate supporter of the Morrab from the 1970s, later serving as president (1997-2002), then for many years as a patron. He called the library “a Cornish treasure house, a meeting place for like-minded souls, and a vibrant forum for contemporary writing,” with a special interest in encouraging young people to read and be inspired by the place.

The title of Herron’s lecture is “Running Away with the Circus.” Raised in Newcastle upon Tyne, he studied English Literature at Oxford. His first novel, Down Cemetery Road, set in Oxford, was published in 2003. Herron’s most recent novel, The Secret House, provides insights to the Slough House series with its riveting reveal about a disastrous MI5 mission in post-Cold War Berlin.

Associated events for this inaugural lecture include a loaned exhibition of John le Carré memorabilia at Penlee House Gallery & Museum (17 April-6 May); a “meet the author” gathering hosted by Penzance Mayor Cllr Stephen Reynolds; a writing workshop with students at Penwith College; and a “Conversation with Mick Herron” plus book signing at the Edge of the World Bookshop, on Market Jew Street in Penzance (3 May).

The Acorn event has been planned with the full and enthusiastic cooperation of le Carré’s family. His son Nick Cornwell will speak about his father in advance of the lecture, and Nick’s brother Simon Cornwell and their families plan to attend.

Author Mick Herron by Mikael Buck

Take part in the ILA Annual General Meeting – 30th-31st May 2024: Call for papers.

We are delighted to invite you to take part in the ILA Annual Meeting, to be held on the 30th and 31st May at The Morrab Library in Penzance, Cornwall.

Library staff, trustees, and volunteers are all welcome to deliver a paper, lead a discussion, or share your experiences around the theme of “Facing the Future: Responding to the challenges faced by Independent Libraries”, either in person, or via ZOOM.

Fundraising, governance, volunteers, the climate crisis and more – independent libraries need to confront a range of challenges in order to remain sustainable and future-proof. How are our libraries addressing the issues that are crucial to ensuring our survival and relevance? Proposals could include:

  • Successful fundraising projects at your library, large or small;
  • Tips and tricks on writing successful fundraising  applications;
  • Encouraging and supporting volunteers in the various roles they play;
  • Managing a significant volunteer project;
  • Experience of making old and even listed buildings more environmentally sustainable;
  • How good library governance can support change management.

We emphasise that your paper, or the session you lead, does not need to be scholarly, and all staff, trustees and volunteers of independent libraries are welcome to deliver sessions.

We would love to welcome you and help to share your stories about the wonderful world of Independent Libraries!

We shall open up bookings for attendance at this hybrid event at a later date.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Looking for Christmas gifts?



We have a variety of other uniquely ‘Morrab’ gift options which all help to support the work of the library –

Gift Membership

Share your love of Morrab Library with friends or family – a gift that include access to 70,000 books(!), tranquil work spaces, our marvellous library community and more (£40 for a year’s household membership – we also offer a discounted student membership at £20).


Morrab Library Christmas Cards

A beautiful design by our own staff member, Harriet-Jade Harrow. £1 each, £2.75 for 3 or £4.75 for a pack of 5.



John Trigg prints

Choose a high quality print from one of twelve beautiful images, taken from the collection of drawing books donated to the library by the artist John Trigg (£65).



Penzance Map

A high quality reproduction of the 1841 map of the Borough of Penzance (£20).




Second hand books

There’s a  brilliant, eclectic selection of second-hand books for sale – a perfect Christmas gift for a like-minded book lover.




Morrab Medicament

A whimsical creation by members Sue Lewington and Steph Haxton – it’s Morrab Library in a bottle! Each jar contains a library poem, a drawing of a library scene, as well as a charm. Limited edition (£10).



Morrab Library Pens

High quality black ink pens with the library logo and name embossed on it (£2.50).




Acorn event with Morrab Library – Elizabeth I and Churchill talk

Tickets are on sale for the next talk by Mark Cottle on Feb 29th. Studies in Leadership – Elizabeth I and Churchill will focus on the life times and similarities of each leader. (£10 from the Acorn Theatre).



Get some Christmas shopping done and support the library at the same time!