We are delighted to announce our first Festival events are now on sale.   Derby Theatre’s spring brochure is about to be published including the following Festival events they will host.

Derby Theatre
Tickets are on sale from 10am on Monday 18 February for two events at Derby Theatre: Melvyn Bragg and Commemorating D-Day.

You can book:

Here are the details for these events:

Thursday 6 June
7.30 – 9.30pm
Commemorating D-Day: 6 June 1944
Derby Theatre

75 years ago, on 6 June 1944, the greatest seaborne invasion in history took place.  D-Day saw an epic battle involving 156,000 men, 7,000 ships and 20,000 armoured vehicles.

Giles Milton’s bold new history, D-Day: The Soldiers’ Story, narrates the day’s events through the tales of survivors from all sides: the teenage Allied conscript, the crack German defender, the French resistance fighter: from the military architects at Supreme Headquarters to the young schoolboy in the Wehrmacht’s bunkers.  It lays bare the absolute terror of those trapped in the frontline of Operation Overlord. He will be joined by author Bali Rai, whose novel, Voices: Now or Never, a Dunkirk Story, brings a young soldier, Private Fazal Khan, from his home in India to the battlefields of the Second World War.

This special Derby Book Festival event will also include music and dance from the period to commemorate this historic event.   There will be an interval during the event.

Friday 7 June
6.30 – 7.30pm
Melvyn Bragg
Derby Theatre
Sponsored by Geldards Law Firm

Broadcaster, author and parliamentarian, Melvyn Bragg has been at the forefront of arts, culture and academic discussion for nearly 60 years.  Starting his career as a BBC trainee, he has worked on many ground-breaking programmes, most prominently as editor and presenter of The South Bank Show and for BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time and Start the Week. His skills as a communicator have undoubtedly made the arts more accessible and less elitist.

His writing has included an array of award-winning fiction and non-fiction.  He will be talking about his latest novel, Love Without End:  a re-imagining of the legendary tale of Heloise and Abelard, uniting today and the Middle Ages in a thought-provoking novel and breathing fresh life to one of history’s most remarkable and enduring love stories.

Derby LIVE: Gyles Brandreth: Break a Leg!
As many of you will have heard, the Guildhall Theatre is closed for essential building works until the autumn.  The Derby LIVE team have been busy planning alternative venues and this includes the Festival events they will host.

Tickets for Gyles Brandreth are already on sale.  He will now appear at the lovely theatre at Landau Forte College on Saturday 1 June and you can book tickets through Derby LIVE.

Val McDermid
In November we announced just a few of the authors who will be joining us for our fifth Festival in June 2019.

Sadly we have to now announce that Val McDermid is unable to join us in 2019 due to a number of other commitments, but she promises to join us in 2020 and will also be performing with her band!  The Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers also includes Mark Billingham, Stuart Neville, Doug Johnstone, Luca Veste and Chris Brookmyre.

We do hope that lovers of crime writing won’t be too disappointed as we have a strong programme of crimewriters in 2019, which we will be revealing to you very soon!

Derby Reads launch event
Our Festival launch event, Derby Reads, will be held in QUAD on Wednesday 10 April: 6pm for 6.30pm start. The event finishes at 8pm.  It is a FREE event, but ticketed.

Tickets will be available to you from Wednesday 27 February at 10am.  We will send you the booking link.

Festival Picture Book Award
We have recently launched the first Derby Book Festival Children’s Picture Book Award.  The Award aims to celebrate picture books that children can relate to and in which the diversity and challenges of modern life are represented.

The Award, which is sponsored by local business woman Deborah Fern, is aimed at books for children aged 6 – 8.  We will pilot the Award in 2019 and aim to roll it out more widely in 2020.

There has been a lot of discussion in the publishing world about the lack of representation of ethnically diverse characters in children’s books.  A recent report from the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education has revealed that only 1% of children’s books have black and minority-ethnic (BAME) main characters. Derby is a diverse city with a significantly higher number of BAME residents than the national average (19.7% compared to 14.6%).  It is hoped that the Award will encourage more authors to produce books to redress this imbalance.

We contacted a wide range of publishers and received 20 submissions for the Award.  We drew up a longlist of 11 books and then invited local teachers to decide on the shortlist of four books:

  • The Girls by Lauren Ace, illustrated by Jenny Løvlie
  • The Only Way is Badger by Stella J Jones, illustrated by Carmen Saldaña
  • Ruby’s Worry by Tom Percival
  • Nimesh the Adventurer by Ranjit Singh, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini

Six Derby schools have been selected to join the pilot this year and will receive five copies of each book for their children to read.  The children will then vote for their favourite book which will be announced on 1 May.

Photo Credit: ITV

Derby Book Festival

31 May – 8 June 2019

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