Presentations & Events

Attending one of Claire’s programs, whether in-person or virtually, is like enjoying a cup of good English tea with a well-informed and fascinating friend. Her presentations are unique, professionally delivered, with just enough curiosities that leave audience members feeling like “insiders.”  Offering intelligent and delightful presentations…and delightful to work with, Claire delivers exceptional experiences. 

Donna Blomquist
Programming Librarian
LaSalle Public Library
LaSalle, Illinois

I give the following virtual or hybrid library presentations for adults.  You can get a glimpse of some of my offerings in my video trailer, below. I am happy to say my library programs via Zoom during the time of Covid have been very popular nationwide.  If you’d like to see me, look for the events page of the library listed for how to register for Zoom programs.  If you are a programming librarian looking for fresh library program ideas, take a look at my offerings and get in touch. Check back, as I continue to develop new talks frequently!

Clip from Mary Anning on England’s Jurassic Coast: The Life and Times of the World’s First Female Paleontologist

The Great British Baking Tour (also available in Holiday Edition)

From Uptown Girls to Downton Abbey: How American Gilded Age Heiresses Invaded the British Aristocracy

Pottering Around the UK: Real Life Locations from the World of Harry Potter

The Politics of Tea: The East India Company and British Tea Culture

From Merlin to Doc Martin: A Real-Life Travel Guide to the Best of England’s Dramatic Cornwall

Mary Anning on England’s Jurassic Coast: The Life and Times of the World’s First Female Paleontologist

Happy Christmas at Home: Celebrating the Holiday, UK Style

Britain’s Hidden Treasures:  Unearthing the Relics of an Ancient Past

The Great British Baking Tour (also in Holiday Edition)

pexels-photo-776945.jpeg

Join UK travel/relocation consultant and former UK resident Claire Evans for a delightful culinary tour of the UK inspired by “The Great British Baking Show” television series, aired on PBS and Netflix. Learn about making a proper cup of tea, regional specialties, their origins, and the particular parts of the UK they hail from. She’ll translate the trickiest parts of British recipes for Americans so you can try them in your own kitchen. Pick up useful travel tips as well, just in case you’d like to create your own tour!

https://foodandwine.ie/mulled-winter-berry-victoria-sponge

Coming virtually to these libraries:

  • Winnetka-Northfield (IL) Library District on Sun., Jan. 16, 2022 at 1 p.m. Central
  • S. Windsor (CT) Public Library on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Lincolnwood (IL) Public Library on Tues., Jan. 25, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Central
  • Saline (MI) District Library on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022 at 7 p.m. Central
  • Tewksbury (MA) Public Library on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Richmond Memorial Library (Batavia, NY) on Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Fossil Ridge (IL) Public Library on Wed., Feb. 23, 2022 at 6 p.m. Central
  • Waunakee (WI) Public Library on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022 at 1 p.m. Central
  • Evergreen Park (IL) Public Library on Sunday, March 27, 2022 at 1 p.m. Central
  • Groton (MA) Public Library on Tues., March 29, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Vernon Area (IL) Public Library District on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 at 1 p.m. Central
  • Wood Dale (IL) Public Library on Monday, April 11, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Central
  • Woodridge (IL) Public Library on Thursday, April 14, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Central
  • Morse Library (Natick, MA) on Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Dover (MA) Town Library on Tues., April 26 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern
  • Welles-Turner Memorial Library (Glastonbury, CT) on Wed., April 27 at 6 p.m. Eastern
  • Farmington Community Library (Farmington, MI) on Thurs., April 28 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Bristol (CT) Public Library on Saturday, April 30, 2022 at 2 p.m. Central
  • Petit Branch Library (Syracuse, NY) on Monday, May 2, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Deerfield (IL) Public Library on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at 6 p.m. Central
  • Ida Public Library (Belvidere, IL) on Monday, May 9, 2022 at 6 p.m. Central
  • Oak Lawn (IL) Public Library on Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at 6 p.m. Central
  • Wilmette (IL) Public Library on Monday, May 23, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Central
  • Glenside (Glendale Heights, IL) Public Library District on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at 6 p.m. Central
  • Moon Township Public Library (PA) on Wed., June 29, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Shorewood-Troy Public Library (IL) on Wed., August 17, 2022 at 6 p.m. Central
  • Palos Hills Public Library (IL) on Tues., Sept. 27 at 6:30 Central
  • Elk Grove Village Public Library (IL) on Wed., Sept. 28 at 6:30 Central

From Uptown Girls to Downton Abbey: How American Gilded Age Heiresses Invaded the British Aristocracy

“Consuelo Vanderbilt, Duchess of Marlborough, by Carolus Duran” by Snapshooter46 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Long before the British Invasion, the cash-strapped lords, viscounts, and dukes of Great Britain shifted their focus from hunting foxes and pheasants to more lucrative targets: cash-flush Gilded Age American socialites who were willing to trade their family’s money for an ancient title and often a chilly reception in the British aristocracy. Fans of “Downton Abbey” and “The Gilded Age” on television and film will delight as Anglophile and former U.K. resident Claire Evans recounts the tales of some of the famously loaded young Americans who infused bank accounts of many stately homes, including close relatives of Winston Churchill and Princess Diana. She’ll also give travel tips if you’d like to create a Gilded Age tour for yourself.

Coming virtually to these libraries:

  • Cheshire (CT) Public Library on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022 at 3:15 p.m. Eastern
  • North Haven (CT) Memorial Library on Wed., March 2, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern
  • Peters Township (PA) Public Library on Monday, March 7, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Arapahoe (CO) Libraries on Friday, March 11, 2022 at 1-2 p.m. Mountain
  • Peabody Institute Library (MA) on Monday, March 14, 2022 at 7-8 p.m. Eastern
  • South Whitley (IN) Community Public Library on Tuesday, March 15, 2022 at 6:30 Eastern
  • Milford (CT) Public Library on Wednesday, March 16, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Syosset (NY) Public Library on Friday, March 18, 2022 at 2 p.m. Eastern
  • Freemont (IL) Public Library on Monday, March 28, 2022 at 1 p.m. Central
  • Princeton (MA) Public Library on Wednesday, March 30, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Town & Country Public Library on Thursday, March 31, 2022 at 6 p.m. Central
  • Southbury (CT) Public Library on Wednesday, April 6, 2022 at 1 p.m. Eastern
  • Ocean City (NJ) Free Public Library on Thursday, April 7, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Oregon (IL) Public Library on Wednesday, April 20, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Central
  • Lemont (IL) Public Library on Sunday, May 1, 2022 at 2 p.m. Central
  • Amherst (NH) Town Library on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Wethersfield (CT) Public Library on Monday, May 16, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Peters Township (PA) Public Library on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Council Bluffs (IA) Public Library on Thursday, May 19, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Central
  • Ashland (MA) Public Library on Thursday, May 26, 2022 at 1 p.m. Central
  • Mount Prospect (IL) Public Library on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Central
  • Wadleigh Memorial Library (NH) on Thursday, June 23, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Evergreen Park (IL) Public Library on Monday, June 27, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Central
  • Rodgers Memorial Library (NH) and Medford Public Library (MA) on Wednesday, July 6, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Lisle (IL) Library District on Tuesday, July 12, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Central
  • J.V. Fletcher (MA) Library on Thursday, July 21, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Palatine (IL) Library District on Monday, July 25, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Central
  • Vernon Area Public Library District (IL) on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022 at 1 p.m. Central
  • JCC Chicago on Tuesday, November 15, 2022 at 12 p.m. Central

Pottering Around the UK: Real Life Locations from the World of Harry Potter

“Hogwarts” by _Hadock_ is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Travel vicariously as Anglophile and former UK resident Claire Evans takes you on a historic, scenic, architectural and occasionally culinary tour of Harry Potter’s magical world. From London to Scotland and points in between, admire the amazing real-life locations film scouts picked throughout the best of the British Isles, and get tips if you’d like to visit the sights yourself one day.

Coming virtually to these libraries:

  • Tewksbury (MA) Public Library on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Warren County (NJ) Library on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022 at 6:30 Eastern
  • The Bayville (NJ) Free Library, Tuesday, March 1, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Morse Library (Natick, MA) on Friday, March 4, 2022 at 3 p.m. Eastern
  • Fossil Ridge (IL) Public Library on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 at 6 p.m. Central
  • McHenry (IL) Public Library District on Monday, June 20, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Central
  • Flossmoor (IL) Public Library on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Central
  • Welles-Turner Memorial Library (Glastonbury, CT) on Tues., June 28 at 6 p.m. Eastern
  • Rodgers Memorial Library (NH), Medford Public Library (MA), and Peabody Institute Library (MA) on Tuesday, July 26, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Moon Township Public Library (PA) on Wed., July 27, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Lake Villa (IL) District Library on Thursday, July 28, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Central
  • Billerica Public Library and Bigelow Free Public Libraries (MA) on Tuesday, August 9, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern

The Politics of Tea: The East India Company and British Tea Culture

The British Clipper Ship by Antonio Jacobsen

For all its genteel connotations, the history of tea is steeped in espionage, rebellion, and the rise of an Empire. Join Anglophile and former UK resident Claire Evans to explore the background of the most lucrative corporate venture the world has ever known and the product it brought to the West at any cost. With a nod to the popular “Bridgerton” series, learn how tea infused British society from top to bottom and what to expect should you ever find yourself at afternoon tea.

Coming virtually to these libraries:

  • Lincoln Library (Springfield, IL), Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. Central
  • Zion-Benton (IL) Public Library, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022 at 2 p.m. Central
  • Merrimac (MA) Public Library, Wednesday, Jan 19, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Freemont (IL) Public Library, Monday, Feb. 7, 2022 at 1 p.m. Central
  • Blue Island (IL) Public Library, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022 at 6 p.m. Central
  • Wallingford (CT) Public Library, Tuesday, April 12, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Bloomington (IL) Public Library, Saturday, April 9, 2022 at 1 p.m. Central
  • Saline (MI) District Library on Monday, April 25, 2022 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Carnegie-Stout Public Library (Dubuque, IA) and James Kennedy Public Library (Dyersville, IA) on Thursday, May 5, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Central
  • JCC Chicago on Tuesday, July 5, 2022 at 12 p.m. Central
  • Fossil Ridge (IL) Public Library, Wednesday, October 5, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Central
  • Syosset (NY) Public Library, Thursday, October 27, 2022 at 2 p.m. Eastern
  • Marion (IL) Carnegie Library, Thursday, December 8, 2022 at 2 p.m. Central

From Merlin to Doc Martin: A Real-Life Travel Guide to the Best of England’s Dramatic Cornwall

St. Agnes, Cornwall. Photo: Dean Evans

What a shame that tourists who focus on London miss the rugged gem that awaits in Cornwall, England’s far west country bordered by the North Atlantic and the English Channel.  Where so much water and land meet has given way to some of the most awesome coastline in the world, and has inspired Celtic legends such as King Arthur at Tintagel Castle.  You may have already experienced a slice of Cornwall thanks to shows like PBS’s Doc Martin, and novelists like Daphne Du Maurier (Rebecca, Jamaica Inn), Winston Graham (Poldark series), and Rosamunde Pilcher (The Shell Seekers).  Join Anglophile and former UK resident Claire Evans for a lively discussion about this underappreciated English destination.

Coming virtually to these libraries:

  • Farmington (MI) Community Library on Tuesday, February 8 at 2:30 p.m. Eastern
  • Schaumburg (IL) Public Library on Tuesday, February 15, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Central
  • Prospect Heights (IL) Public Library on Monday, April 4, 2022 at 1 p.m. Central
  • LaSalle (IL) Public Library on Tuesday, April 19, 2022 at 6 p.m. Central
  • Cheshire (CT) Public Library on Thursday, June 23, 2022 at 3 p.m. Eastern
  • Palos Hills (IL) Public Library on Thursday, July 7, 2022 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Niles-Maine (IL) District Library on Wednesday, July 13, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Central
  • Flossmoor (IL) Public Library on Wednesday, July 20, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Central
  • Clarendon Hills (IL) Public Library on Thursday, August 4, 2022 at 6:30 Central
  • Morse Institute Library (Natick, MA) on Friday, August 5, 2022 at 3 p.m. Eastern

Mary Anning on England’s Jurassic Coast: The Life and Times of the World’s First Female Paleontologist

001188
Portrait of Mary Anning and her dog Tray, artist unknown. Source: Natural History Museum, London

In 1799, Mary Anning was born into a humble family in the medieval port of Lyme Regis on the south shore of England, part of its Jurassic Coast. Little did she know she would go on to develop an unmatched eye for finding the undiscovered creatures embedded in 185 million years of geological history in the notoriously unstable cliffs. Completely self-taught, academia came calling to consult and buy her finds as she continued to make discoveries that changed the scientific world, yet she was unacknowledged and uncredited by the scientific community in her own time. Join Anglophile and former UK resident Claire Evans for a lively talk on “the greatest fossil hunter the world has ever known” and the UNESCO World Heritage site she was lucky enough to call home.

Coming virtually to these libraries:

  • Lake Forest (IL) Public Library on Tuesday, January 18, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Central
  • Naperville (IL) Public Library on Thursday, March 3, 2022 at 1 p.m. Central
  • White Lake Community Library (Whitehall, MI) on Thurs., March 3 at 7 p.m. Eastern
  • Deerfield (IL) Public Library on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 at 1 p.m. Central
  • Three Rivers Library District (IL) on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 at 6 p.m. Central
  • Winnetka-Northfield Public Library District (IL) on Monday, June 20, 2022 at 1:30 Central
  • Arapahoe (CO) Libraries on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 at 1 p.m. Mountain
  • Morton Public Library (IL) on Tuesday, July 11, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Central

Happy Christmas at Home: Celebrating the Holiday, UK Style

Home made mince pies
“Home made mince pies” by nicksarebi is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Join former UK resident and lifelong Anglophile Claire Evans for a cultural tour of Christmas in Great Britain.  She’ll be your culinary travel guide to what special food and drink appears at the holiday table, with authentic recipes to try at home.  And it wouldn’t be a British Christmas without pantos, crackers, and the Christmas number one, so she’ll also talk about the traditions and cultural quirks essential to a proper British holiday.  You’ll be fully prepared to eat, drink, and be merry, UK-style!

Coming virtually to these libraries:

  • Bloomington (IL) Public Library on Saturday, December 3, 2022 at 1 p.m. Central

Britain’s Hidden Treasures:  Unearthing the Relics of an Ancient Past (available starting May 2022)

During a walk on his family’s farm during COVID lockdowns in 2020, a man noticed unusual pottery shards that ultimately led to the excavation of one of the largest, best preserved Roman villa mosaic floors every found in Europe.  Jackpot historical finds aren’t uncommon in Britain thanks to its rich history: Viking hordes, Bronze Age villages, and even King Richard III buried under a city parking lot.  Join Anglophile and former U.K. resident Claire Evans as she tours the country’s most interesting archeological finds, and learn tips if you’d like to visit them for yourself one day.

Coming virtually to these libraries:

  • LaSalle (IL) Public Library on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 at 6 p.m. Central
  • Prospect Heights (IL) Public Library on Thursday, June 16, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Central
  • Lake Villa (IL) District Library on Thursday, June 30, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. Central
  • Somerset County Library System of New Jersey on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 at 7 Eastern

All Castles, No Hassles: Planning a Stress-Free UK Holiday (on hold per Covid)

IMG_1090

Join Anglophile and former UK resident Claire Evans for a slice of Victoria sponge, a proper cup of tea, and a fun discussion about everything you’ve always wanted to know about planning travel to the UK.  With exchange rates more favorable to Americans than they have been in years, it’s a great time to venture across the pond.  She’ll give tips on transportation, destinations, everyday living, food, accommodation, and culture, with a bit of humour for good measure.