We are currently finalising the programme for our first Autumn Edition on 26 & 27 October. Tickets will go on sale on Monday 9 September and we will send you a link to the website with all the booking links.  We plan to hold the majority of the events in QUAD.

Festival team changes
We were very sad to see the departures of two of the Festival core team in July.  Roxanne Cooper had been with us since our second Festival in 2016 when she was a volunteer and subsequently became our first Festival Administrator in 2017.  Roxanne has kept us on the straight and narrow and established systems and procedures which will stand us in good stead for many years to come.  She has taken up a role with the National Trust at Ilam Hall.

Theresa Keogh joined us as our first Festival Director in September 2017 guiding us through two successful Festivals in 2018 and 2019.  Theresa’s background in theatre direction brought an added artistic flavour to the Festivals’ programmes and she championed the introduction of a more themed approach to the events with the Health and Well-being strand, Feminist Friday and the Sunday Takeovers at Déda.  We feel sure her ideas will be continued as we look to the next five years.  Theresa is taking up a new career in teaching and begins a PGCE in the autumn.
We wish them both every success in their new careers.

New Festival Director
The Festival Director role is vital so we needed to move fast to recruit Theresa’s replacement.  We expect to make an announcement about our new Festival Director very soon …

Evaluation of our 2019 Festival
As you know, our 2019 Festival was not without its challenges!  We had a raft of cancellations, most of which were replaced with alternative events.   We also had slightly fewer events in 2019 with 90 events (compared to 106 in 2018).

However, in spite of these, the facts and figures from this year are impressive:

  • 18 events sold out
  • 97% rated events as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’
  • 6940 tickets sold
  • nearly 2000 school children and teachers attended our schools’ events (100% increase)

We are also delighted that we achieved one of our objectives: attracting more younger people to the Festival.  20% of our audience were aged 25 – 39 years, compared to 15% last year.

Derbyshire Noir Book Festival
If you can’t wait until October and are a crime fan, you will be interested to know about the one-day crime festival: Derbyshire Noir Book Festival, which will be held at Chesterfield Library on Saturday 17 August.  Organised by Derbyshire Arts, there is an exciting programme featuring Stephen Booth, Sarah Ward, Roz Watkins, Jo Jakeman, Sophie Draper, Fran Dorricott … and many more!

Community Programme: Shared Writing and Shared Reading
The day after this year’s Festival ended, we held a Celebration Event at Broomfield Hall for the students involved in this year’s Shared Writing programme.  The students had all contributed to the three Festival publications and they were each presented with a copy of their book.  It was attended by over 300 people including the students’ families and friends.  You can buy copies of the books by contacting the Festival office by email.

Our new Shared Writing co-ordinators will take up their posts at the beginning of September.  They will each be working three days a week and will develop the project by establishing a number of new groups.  We will be expanding our work in Derby Royal Hospital and have already been approached to establish a group in Foston Hall Prison.

If you are interested in finding out more about Shared Reading and about being a reader at the weekly or fortnightly sessions, we will be running an Information session at the end of September/beginning of October.  Please email us for more information.

Children’s Picture Book Award
In the last week of the school term we welcomed the winning author and illustrator of the first Derby Book Festival Children’s Picture Book Award.  Lauren Ace and Jenny Løvlie’s book, The Girls, was voted the favourite by children in years 2 & 3 in six Derby schools: Bemrose Primary, Brackensdale Primary, Derwent Primary, Portway Infants and Juniors, Ridgeway Infants and St Joseph’s RC Primary.

Lauren and Jenny visited all the schools over two days where they met the children and teachers to talk about the book and the children had their books signed.  The visits were an inspiration to both children and teachers alike and we feel sure the memory will stay with them forever.

We are very grateful to Di Smith who brought the idea for the Award to us last year and organised it all so brilliantly from start to finish.  Lauren Ace sent us some wonderful feedback about their visit to Derby, saying: ” what you are doing with this Award is incredibly meaningful and beautifully organised.”

Flash Fiction Writing competition
Last week crime writer, Stephen Booth visited HMP Foston Hall to run a writing workshop and to present the certificates to the two Highly Commended winners in our competition, which included a category for HMP Foston Hall for the second year.

We look forward to working with Foston Hall in 2020.

Derby Book Festival

29 May – 6 June 2020

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Derby Book Festival is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation registered with the Charity Commission for England & Wales Number 1159763