Thank you to everyone who came along to QUAD for Derby Reads.  We were delighted with the response at our first event of 2019!   There were some inspirational readings from books by authors appearing at this year’s Festival and it was all brilliantly compèred again by QUAD’s CEO, Adam Buss in conversation with our wonderful Chair, Liz Fothergill.

We hope we kept a few surprises back – including international best-selling author, Markus Zusak and Victoria Hislop.

It was great to see so many of our sponsors, partners, Festival Friends and loyal audience at the event.  We could not organise the Festival without you all.   We caught up with one of our Trustees from one of our major funders, the University of Derby, Judith Lamie, Pro Vice-Chancellor External Affairs, who said: “This year’s Derby Book Festival is set to be the most exciting and diverse yet, providing visitors young and old with the opportunity to come together to share in their love of books and reading.

“At the University of Derby we are passionate about raising aspirations and firmly believe in the transformational nature of education. We are working with our cultural partners across the city to ensure that collectively we create as many opportunities for those wanting to engage with learning, and the arts in general, to do so. Encouraging people to read and find enjoyment in books is one of the ways we can do that.

“As a key supporter of the Derby Book Festival since its inception, we couldn’t be more proud of what the Festival team has achieved and are thrilled to once again be a funding partner.”

The Festival programme is now published and you can download it from our website or pick up a copy from QUAD or any of our Festival venues.  We are thrilled with it and our designers, Burnthebook, have done an amazing job in producing it over the last few weeks.

This year’s programme has a diary at the front showing all the events, page numbers and genres and is then organised by genre, giving you the chance to find your favourites and discover something new.

You can book online for all events although there are a few exceptions which need to be booked by telephone or in person.  These are for the annual Festival Lunch and two Afternoon Tea events.

We hope you agree that this year’s Festival programme is even more varied than in previous years and hope you find plenty of events that interest you.

Our army of distribution volunteers, co-ordinated by the formidably well organised Steph Marshall Power, will be out and about over the next few days delivering copies around the city and county.

This year we will take over Déda again on Sunday 2 June and, for the first time, are able to offer a Festival Pass for Sunday’s events.   You can also book tickets individually for each event.  The Festival Pass costs £25 and enables you to book as many events as you are able to attend on our Sunday Takeover Day.

With over 90 events, we can’t list them all here, but you can find full details online and in the Festival programme.

Three of this year’s events (as well as our Family Day) will have a BSL interpreter, in partnership with Communication Unlimited.  Details are in the programme.

Highlights of this year’s Festival will include:

  • Broadcaster, author and Parliamentarian, Melvyn Bragg talking about his new novel, Love Without End in Derby Theatre on Friday 7 June, sponsored by Geldards
  • A special event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Derby Theatre on Thursday 6 June with authors Giles Milton and Bali Rai talking about their latest books on soldiers’ experiences of D-Day.  The event, sponsored by Peveril Homes, will include music and dance from, and inspired by, the period and the books
  • Australian author and international best-seller, Markus Zusak, whose novel The Book Thief sold 16 million copies worldwide.  His follow-up Bridge of Clay looks destined to follow its success
  • Novelists Patrick Gale (Take Nothing With You, Costa-shortlisted for A Place Called Winter) and Melissa Harrison (All Among the Barley) will be joining us at an event with The Bookshop Band, sponsored by Smith Partnership, and Victoria Hislop (The Island and The Return) will be at QUAD at an event sponsored by Pennine Healthcare.  Award-winning poet, Helen Mort will also discuss her first novel, Black Car Burning
  • Business and Politics, with BBC Editorial Director, Kamal Ahmed talking about his memoir of growing up in 1970s London at an event sponsored by Freeths and former Channel 4 Economics Editor, Paul Mason will be at QUAD.Professor Steve Peters (The Chimp Paradox) will attend the annual Marketing Derby Bondholders’ event to talk about Managing the Mind
  • Crime writers: James Runcie (Grantchester series), Mark Billingham, Stephen Booth and a panel of female crime writers including C J Tudor and Jo Jakeman
  • A Day of Dragons on Saturday 8 June with lots of fun and activities in the Market Place, including a special Dragons and Wizards event, sponsored by Smith Partnership, in QUAD with best-selling children’s author Cressida Cowell (How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once series)
  • Nordic Noir and Beyond with crime writer Gunaar Staalesen and two contemporary fiction writers: Marta Breen and Helga Flatland
  • History fans can enjoy Alison Weir (Anna of Kleve), Tracy Borman talking about Henry VIII and the Men Who Made Him, Kate Hubbard on Bess of Hardwick plus Sir Simon Jenkins whose most recent book is A Short History of Europe will join us at an event sponsored by Geldards
  • Art lovers can hear Martin Bailey talk about Van Gogh whilst Clare Hunter will talk about the history of needlework
  • Poetry fans will enjoy Hollie McNish, Henry Normal, Rupinder Kaur and Nafeesa Hamid and local poet Dan Webber launches his first collection, Genre Fluid.
  • For lovers of Science and Nature, Greenpeace UK’s Head of Oceans, Will McCallum will talk about How to Give Up Plastic, the UKs most eminent forensic scientist, Angela Gallop will share some of the cases she has worked on and Rose George explains all you need to know about blood in Nine Pints as part of our Sunday Takeover day at Déda, sponsored by Darwin Escapes
  • A pick of the latest crop of debut authors: Anne Griffin (When All is Said), Elizabeth Macneal (The Doll Factory), Bridget Collins (The Binding), and Laura Shepherd-Robinson (Blood and Sugar) and Sophie Draper (Cuckoo) – all sponsored by Resonate
  • For sports fans: cricketer Graeme Fowler looks at the pressures of playing international cricket, Premier League lawyer, Daniel Geehy reveals the inner workings of modern football from his first-hand knowledge of negotiating transfer deals at a special event at Derby County Football Club, sponsored by Nelsons, and Tom Isitt recounts the story of the toughest bicycle race ever staged as part of our Sunday Takeover Day
  • Relax and enjoy author talks over lunch or afternoon tea: the annual Festival Lunch with Rory Stewart MP, sponsored by PwC and an Afternoon Tea event, sponsored by Smith Partnership, with Clare Hunter, who will talk about Threads of Life, the history of needlework.Griselda Kerr joins us for a Cream Tea event to discuss her book, The Apprehensive Gardener.

Taster Event at Trent College
This year’s Tasters will be held at Trent College, Long Eaton (on Monday 13 May) and at the St James’ Centre in Normanton (date to be confirmed).  These will include two or three of our Festival authors doing short introductions to their books.  The events are free and light refreshments are served.  Do pop along if there’s one in your area.

Programme cover illustration
We hope you like this year’s Festival programme cover, shown at the top of this eshot. The illustration has been produced by Charlotte Bayliss, a second year Illustration student at the University of Derby.  This year we held a competition for the students and Charlotte’s design was the winner.   Our designers, Burnthebook, are also working with Charlotte on designs for railing banners which will be displayed outside QUAD to promote the Festival.

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