Sophie Neville speaking after dinner at a literary weekend
Sophie Neville speaking about ‘Swallows & Amazons’

“We like to invite inspirational women speakers and… would love to hear your story.”

“Your talk and the breadth of material covered was excellent and much appreciated.”

Sophie’s illustrated talks include:

  •  ‘The Secrets of Filming Swallows & Amazons’ 
  •  ‘Swallows & Amazons – the film locations’
  •  Memories of a reluctant movie star
  •  ‘The Secrets of filming Coot Club and The Big Six in Norfolk’
  •  ‘Charts and decorative maps – the Arthur Ransome influence’
  •  The extraordinary story of a Commonwealth Soldier in WWII 
  •  ‘Funnily Enough, the true story’ ~ living with tame otters in the Cotswolds
  •  ‘Ride the Wings of Morning’ ~ on working on horse safaris in Southern Africa
  •  ‘Riding across South America on a horse’ and other great rides
  •  ‘China’s Bestseller’ ~ on printing the Bible in China
  •  The Waterberg Trust’ ~ a charity supporting rural people in S.Africa
  •  The Silent Sea: Litter picking along Solent shores
Inspirational speaker, Sophie Neville
Southampton International Boat Show 2022

Talks or speeches last from 5 to 50 minutes, as requested. Each one is illustrated with a Power-point presentation of photographs or with DVDs. If you would like Sophie to give a talk please email

 ~ Please click here to listen to recent interviews with Sophie Neville ~

Please click here for dates of future talks and appearances at festivals

Coming soon – a talk at the Royal Thames Yacht Club in Kensington

Sophie Neville speaking at Rydal Hall

Talks have included ~

  • Q&A with Diana Quick at Aldeburgh Cinema
  • Three talks at the Southampton International Boat Show
  • Literary weekends at Edinburgh and Bristol Universities
  • Joining authors Julia Jones and Peter Willis at the Essex Book Festival

essex book festival-2019

  • Q&A after screening the movie ‘Swallows and Amazons'(1974) in association with the Keswick Convention

Q&A to packed house

Sophie Neville Q&A in Cumbria

  • Talk on ‘Open the Book’ at 24 Rivers in the Waterberg, South Africa
  • Q&A from Sophie Neville at the Riverside Cinema in Woodbridge, Suffolk 
  • Q&A and talk at the Curious Arts Festival in the New Forest

Sophie Neville at Curious Arts photo George Ping

photo: George Ping

  • Illustrated talks on ‘The Secrets of filming Coot Club and The Big Six

Sophie Neville talking about The Big Six

Cinema screening of S&A

Hackney Picture House graphic


  • ‘China’s Bestseller and the Amity Printing Press’ in South Africa
  • Talk on ‘Coot Club’ and ‘The Big Six’  at the Royal Harwich Yacht Club
  • 40th Anniversary talk at Brockenhurst College in the New Forest
  • A talk about ‘Funnily Enough’ for Book Clubs
  • The Michael Croft Theatre for Dulwich Film
  • River Severn Motor Yacht Club in aid of Comic Relief

Secrets of filming Swallows and Amazons

The Secrets of Filming of ‘Swallows & Amazons’

Bible Society poster

Sophie Neville speaking at Orwell Park near Ispwich

  • An illustrated talk  at Orwell Park.
Author Sophie Neville speaking at The Arthur Ransome Society
Sophie Neville with the Chairman of The Arthur Ransome Society, southern region
Author and speaker Sophie Neville talks about Swallows and Amazons
Sophie Neville speaking abou the 1973 film of ‘Swallows and Amazons’ and subsequent BBC book adaptations at the Arthur Ransome Literary Weekend
Sophie Neville talks on behalf of the Bible Society
Sophie Neville speaking at Church of St John the Baptist, Boldre
Volunteer speaker Sophie Neville talks on behalf of the Bible Society
Sophie Neville speaking on behalf of the Bible Society at Lymington Baptist Church
Sophie Neville speaking at St Barnabus, Winchester ~ October 2012
Sophie Neville speaking at St Barnabus, Winchester ~ October 2012
  • St Barnabus Church, Winchester – a talk for Bible Sunday on China.
  • St John’s Church, Nursling – an illustrated talk on China’s Best seller.

Comments following recent talks ~

‘It was not so much a talk as a first-rate full-on presentation. It was really very good indeed.  I, for one, was quite enthralled, and deeply fascinated by the insight you gave us into the making of the film, as well as a film… I was drawn into another world of which I had no previous knowledge.  Your enthusiasm and humour was infectious.  ‘Effervescence’ is a word that comes to mind!  Peter Bell The Arthur Ransome Society

You did a great job – very relaxed and natural but also passionate about the subject, well done!’  Don O’Connor, St John’s Church

‘…you are entertaining enough to listen to 5 times over ’ Magnus Smith of Sail Ransome

‘…you were a huge hit.’  Peter Wright of The Arthur Ransome Society Literary Weekend

We very much enjoyed your talk and the pictures…  your company really made the occasion.’  David Ross of the Arthur Ransome Society Southern Branch

‘A dream of a talk and a privilege to be there.’  Jill Goulder

‘lovely gentle charm –  truly representative of the Swallows and Amazon ‘dream’.  Thank you so much … sorry not to see you but you were busy!’  Caroline

‘It was very lively and I could hear every word!’ A member of TARS

A talk with DVD’s at Hordle Walhampton School on the Waterberg Welfare Society, who help rural people address the onslaught of HIV/AIDS in South Africa, where Sophie lived for twelve years.

When I first started giving talks ~

…they were often held outside with no microphone, let alone a power-point presentation but got large audiences.

Girl with otter
‘Living with Otters’ ~ a talk by Sophie Neville, seen here with her tame otter Beenie

An unexpected guest, who turned up at my talk on Otter Conservation in 2001 ~

Girl with Otter
Beenie the otter and Sophie Neville appearing on the front cover of the Daily Telegraph with HRH, the Prince of Wales.

9 thoughts on “Talks”

  1. Over 120 people attended a superb Talk given by Sophie at The Royal Lymington Yacht Club on 20 March. The talk was hugely informative, not only about the filming of ‘Swallow and Amazons’, but also about film work in general. It was highly entertaining: many secrets were revealed! The audience was enchanted by the wonderful tales, photos and footage. Well done!

    1. Thank you so much for coming along! I had quite a few phone calls from people who couldn’t come but wanted to, and I know the Club had to turn others away, so we might be able to put on another sometime soon. I thought the screen, lighting and other electronic facilities at the club were great. If we do it again in this area I’ll make it a little different – perhaps less focused on how to shoot sailing scenes.

  2. These talks all look fascinating. I hope, when we can move about again you will give one somewhere up here in the North-West; I shall certainly attend if I can!

      1. That would be great if it comes off. I am now on Lakeland Arts mailing list so I will keep an eye open for it.

        1. We’ll certainly do something in Cumbria for the 50th Anniversary of the movie ‘Swallows and Amazons’ but that won’t be until 2024. Could possibly do something on ‘The Making of’ anniversary in 2023.

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