Hundreds of people packed the ancient Crypt of Canterbury Cathedral on Wednesday 26 March to hear the bestselling Author Ken Follett deliver a lecture entitled ‘Why Cathedrals’.
The sold out event was part of an exclusive tour of five Cathedrals to mark the 25th anniversary of the global bestseller ‘The Pillars of Earth’. The evening provided a rare opportunity to hear the acclaimed author talk about the inspiration behind his historical masterpiece. Half of the proceeds raised from the ticket sales will go towards the Canterbury Cathedral Trust.
Many times I have been asked why Pillars has such a big impact. There is no simple answer, because a novel is so complex. But I come back again and again to the people who built the cathedrals. Those men and women were, by modern standards, poor and ignorant. They lived in wooden huts and slept on the floor. Yet they created the most beautiful and awesome buildings the world has ever known. Human beings have the capacity to rise above mundane circumstances and touch the eternal. That is what Pillars is about and, in the end, I think that may be why it has so profoundly touched the hearts of so many readers for so many years.
The Pillars of the Earth, first published in 1989, is the epic of family drama, violent conflict and vaulting ambition set around the building of a great cathedral. It has sold a staggering total of 19 million copies in thirty languages.
The special anniversary edition of The Pillars of the Earth was published by Pan Macmillan in paperback on 30 January 2014 at £9.99. It is available from Waterstones and all good bookshops.
Since completing the Cathedral tour publisher Pan Macmillan has announced it has acquired three new novels by Ken Follett, including a sequel to The Pillars of the Earth. The novels being published over nine years from 2017.
The first of the three books will be a sequel to 1989-published The Pillars of the Earth, set in the world of Tudor espionage in Kingsbridge. The second and third books will be “sweeping historical epics”.