Author Ken Follett is visiting Salisbury Cathedral on Sunday, March 2, at the start of a tour of five cathedrals to mark the 25th anniversary of the publication of his global bestselling book The Pillars of the Earth.

Mr Follett was inspired to write what has become a classic masterpiece by a number of medieval cathedrals in England and Europe, but none more so than Salisbury.

He will deliver a lecture ‘Why Cathedrals?’, sign books and meet fans at a reception immediately afterwards.

Sarah Mullally, Canon Treasurer at Salisbury Cathedral, said: “This is truly a rare opportunity to hear Ken Follett talk about cathedrals, the inspiration behind his extraordinary book The Pillars of the Earth, and to meet him in person.

"He is passionate about these buildings and through his researches for the book, and its sequel World Without End, has considerable knowledge and understanding of them and the people who built them.

"He will be joined by the actor David Oakes - who played the dastardly William Hamleigh in the TV mini-series of the book - and by Gary Price - the Cathedral’s Clerk of Works and modern day Tom Builder - for a Q&A session after his talk.”

Mr Follett said: “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.”

Tickets, priced £10 for the lecture and £17.50 for the lecture and reception with Ken Follett, David Oakes and Gary Price, are available online from and at Waterstones, Salisbury, from February 7.

The special anniversary edition of The Pillars of the Earth, published by Pan in paperback, is now available at £9.99.