The waiting is over!  We can now reveal just a few of the authors who will be joining us at our 2020 Festival.

Crime writer, Val McDermid will be joining us in 2020!  We had hoped to welcome her to Derby in 2019 but sadly she had to pull out.  This year she will be joining us on our opening night, on Friday 29 May in Derby Theatre when she will be joined by the band, the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers.

Crime fiction is probably the most popular genre of literature currently and crime writers’ events always do well at our Festival.  Val is probably best known for her Tony Hill and Carol Jordan crime series, immortalised on TV in Wire in the Blood starring Robson Green.  She has also written series featuring journalist, Lindsay Gordon and private investigator, Kate Brannigan.  She’s sold over 15 million copies of her books and has been translated into 40 languages!  We feel sure tickets will be in demand for this event and will be announcing when they are on sale very soon.

The Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers include Val and fellow writers Stuart Neville, Mark Billingham, Chris Brookmyre, Doug Johnstone and Luca Veste.  They will also have their own crime panel event on Saturday 30 June.

Journalist and broadcaster John Humphrys, who recently retired after 32 years as BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ presenter, has published his memoir, A Day Like Today, and will join us to discuss this in Derby Theatre.

The Festival is always keen to celebrate local writing talent and debut authors.  In 2020 one of our debuts is Russ Thomas, who has had strong links with the Festival since its start, when he worked at Waterstones Derby.  He has since joined us as one of our Festival booksellers in more recent years so will be a familiar face to many of you.   Now based in Sheffield, Russ’ first novel, Firewatching, is launched in February.   

The Festival will include its usual wide variety of events for all ages and interests, including poet and ‘The Bard of Barnsley’, Ian Macmillan; biographer Andrew Lownie on The Mountbattens; Lennie Goodings on her career with the iconic Virago Press and naturalist Mark Cocker.

Local history is always popular at the Festival and the 2020 Festival will welcome back historian Patricia Fara to talk about Erasmus Darwin at Derby Museum & Art Gallery where his portrait by Joseph Wright of Derby hangs.

Derby Book Festival would not be complete without the inclusion of historian and best-selling author Alison Weir, whose epic series about the six wives of Henry VIII reaches number five with Katheryn Howard.

Derby Children’s Picture Book Award

Following the success of our first Award, we are delighted that, thanks to the generous support of local business woman, Deborah Fern, we have launched the Award again.

The Award celebrates books which reflect the diversity and issues of modern Britain.  The Girls by Lauren Ace and Jenny Løvlie, won our first Award – and it also won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2019 (in the Illustrated Books category).

We have written to over 40 children’s publishers inviting them to submit up to three picture books by 1 January 2020.  Teachers will select the shortlist and the schools involved in the Award will receive copies of each of them to read with the children during the spring term.

Where is Christmas? by Commotion Dance
Friday 20 December – Monday 23 December

To get you into the Christmas spirit, we thought you might like to know about a special show for children and families at Déda with Commotion Dance.

It’s Christmas Eve in the Commotion Dance household but it doesn’t feel like Christmas at all. Piles of boxes are stacked and packed ready to move home, with Christmas nowhere in sight.  Come and peek inside our world of boxes and help us find Christmas. Stacking, sorting, packing and piling unfold into adventurous possibilities with quirky characters, enthralling movements and enchanting live music. Transforming the good old cardboard box into a wonderland of curiosity on the road to discovering where Christmas has gone. Where is Christmas? is an immersive dance performance for little ones and their grown-ups. Follow your imagination to discover a magical Christmas surprise.

You can also have a look at their Trailer.


Derby Book Festival

29 May – 6 June 2020

Site by Codemakers

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