Job Title Festival Manager

Hours: 0.8 FTE

Salary: £24,000 per annum, pro rata

Location: Derby, East Midlands

Reports to: Festival Director

Direct Reports:  1 report (Administration Apprentice)

About the Festival

In just five years Derby Book Festival has established itself as the largest and most successful literature festival in the East Midlands, with ticket sales doubling since its inception. Its success and reputation continues to grow with a programme of events for all ages and interests. We aim to organise another diverse, accessible and high-quality programme in 2019 with a wide range of writers, from internationally renowned authors to exciting new talent. 

We work closely with arts organisations across the city and have a range of venues: from the beautiful Derby Cathedral which seats 600 people, to the 550-seater Derby Theatre, to spaces accommodating 230 to 100 people and fewer.

To give you an idea of the success of our 2018 Festival:

  • 106events in 19 venues across the city over 9 days
  • Almost 7,000tickets sold – an increase of 25% on 2017
  • 41% increaseon 2017’s Festival book sales with Waterstones and Blackwells
  • 91%events rated as Excellent or Good
  • 107 mentions in national, local and regional press

Our first four Festivals have included a broad range of writers including Simon Armitage, Joan Bakewell, Louis de Bernières, Sathnam Sanghera, Joanna Cannon, Tracy Chevalier, Sarah Churchwell, Ken Clarke, Carol Ann Duffy, Sebastian Faulks, Matt Haig, Sophie Hannah, John Hegley, Alan Johnson, Jon McGregor, Kate Mosse, Jenni Murray, James Naughtie, David Nicholls, Matthew Parris, Sarah Perry, Sunjeev Sahota, Sarah Waters and Alison Weir.

Here is a link to a slide show which gives you a flavour of our 2018 Festival, and you can find more information at our website

Derby Book Festival- Community Programme

From its inception the aim of Derby Book Festival has been to work across our rich and diverse city to engage with as many communities as possible and inspire a love of books and reading. To fulfil this challenge we run two key programmes: Shared Writing and Shared Reading.

Shared Reading provides opportunities for groups of people to come together regularly to hear stories and poems which are read aloud by volunteers and group members. Following each reading the group share thoughts and reflections on what they have heard. The idea of shared reading as ‘bibliotherapy’ is increasingly recognised by health professionals as bringing significant mental health and well-being benefits.

The Festival has now established five groups in the city – in residential homes, extra care homes and with young refugees and asylum seekers. We want to embrace a larger number of people in a wider range of settings and have been approached by the NHS and the Prison Service. Further developments are planned for the coming year.

“I’ve really enjoyed it. It helps me. There’s no pressure to read anything – you can if you want to or you can just listen.”

Shared Writing was launched in 2016 to work with young people from different communities in Derby, many of whom have only recently arrived in the country. Over 20% of Derby’s population were either born, or have a heritage, outside the UK and many speak English as a second language.

We want to encourage these students to engage with books and reading by writing their own stories. By publishing as many of them as possible, we inspire our students to have greater self-confidence and aspirations in both literacy and life. As one of our students has said,

“It has been wonderful creating a book and being a published writer. At 12 years of age that is a massive achievement for me and my friends.”


Key Responsibilities

Festival Support:

  • Support the Artistic Director with Festival programming
  • Develop and send sponsorship packages
  • Create performance agreements
  • Administrative support of the festival including management of databases and spreadsheets*
  • Management of the Festival Administrative Apprentice

*The administrative function of the festival and other events throughout the year will be supported by an Administrative Apprentice

Volunteer Management:

  • Recruitment of volunteers – leads and regular
  • Organisation and management of all volunteer meetings and training
  • Update Volunteer Handbooks and packs
  • Organisation of Volunteer equipment
  • Production of Festival rota
  • Creation and leading on event forms
  • Manage volunteers during the Festival
  • Organise refreshments and break out area for volunteers during the Festival at each venue
  • Organise allocation of complimentary tickets to volunteers
  • Review volunteers’ performance at end of the Festival
  • Manage volunteers’ Facebook page

Logistical Management:

  • Manage all logistical elements around festival events including:
    • Refreshments
    • Stock levels
    • Branding
    • Transport
    • Accommodation
    • Technical aspects including sound and audio
    • Venue arrangements


  • Any other services relevant to the broad outline and commensurate with the contract fee.


  • Initial 2-year fixed term employment contract (subject to ACE funding), with opportunity to extend by mutual agreement. The Board of Directors are willing to consider engagement on a freelance basis dependent on the circumstances of the successful candidate.
  • The position will include a 6-month probationary period.
  • During the probationary period one month’s notice will be required on either side, rising to two months’ notice upon successful completion of the probation.
  • Holiday entitlement is 28 days pro-rata inclusive of UK Bank Holidays.
  • DBF operates a workplace pension scheme for eligible employees.
  • DBF operates a flexible approach to working hours, with normal office hours between 8.30am and 6pm, Mon-Fri. Some evening and weekend working will be required, particularly during the Festival periods.


To apply for the role, please complete send a CV and covering letter outlining your suitability for the role to Theresa Keogh, Derby Book Festival’s Festival Director at or by post to:

Derby Book Festival
67 Bridge Street

Applicants’ personal details will be kept on file for six months, after which they will be confidentially deleted or destroyed.


  • The closing date for applications is: 5pm, Monday 20th May 2019
  • Interviews are scheduled to take place week commencing 10th June 2019


If you require any further information or have any questions you would like to ask about the role before making an application, please contact Theresa Keogh, Festival Director on 07853214913 or email:


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