Skip to main content

Important News

We are currently planning a hybrid Festival with a mix of live, live streamed, recorded and virtual events from 27 May – 5 June 2021. If the government’s Roadmap goes to plan and the four conditions are met, our venues will start to reopen from 17 May and we plan to host live Festival events.

All tickets now on sale!


We understand you may have questions or queries around this year's Festival and have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions.

When is the Festival?

The Festival takes place from 27 May - 5 June 2021 in venues across the city. We will have in-person events, live streamed events and recorded events.

How can I book tickets?

You can book tickets online by visiting this link. Alternatively, you can call the Derby Theatre box office on Fridays and Saturdays from 11am to 2pm and book tickets for the 12 events taking place there.

Tickets for events that aren’t being held at Derby Theatre but in our other venues will go on sale on 29 April. Check the website for details of how to book for these.

Will there be fewer seats available?

Yes. To enable social distancing our venues have had to reduce the number of seats that can be used at events so we are selling fewer tickets. Depending on the venue, you can book in bubbles/households or individual seats.

Can I book for in-person events?

Yes you can! We have in-person events taking place at our partner venues across the city. View more details and book tickets here from 29 April.

Where can I view the programme?

Our 2021 programme can be viewed online.

I’m not ready to return to in-person events, can I watch online?

Yes. We have several options this year: we are filming and recording many of our events and you can book tickets to watch these as live streamed events or you can buy a Digital Pass for £25 to watch all of these recordings after the Festival has finished. More details about the Digital Pass can be viewed here.

What is the Digital Pass?

The Digital Pass gives you access to watch all the recorded Festival events including the Virtual Events. The full list of events which you can watch with the Digital Pass can be found here. The Digital Pass costs £25. You can watch the recordings until Saturday 10 July. Some events are only available for a short period of time to comply with the author’s wishes.

If the in-person event is sold out, what are my options?

If a live streamed option is available, you will be able to book tickets via our website or buy a Digital Pass to watch it and our other recordings from 7 June, after the Festival has finished. Alternatively, our in-person events have a waiting list that you can be added to, but we cannot guarantee spaces will become available.

I loved an event so much I want to watch it again, can I?

Yes, you can! For the first time ever, we have launched a Digital Pass so you can rewatch all your favourite events from the Festival. You can buy it from 29 April.

How do I become a Festival Friend?

It’s easy to become a friend of Derby Book Festival, simply visit this link and decide whether you want to purchase a single or joint membership. Remember: you do not have to live at the same address as the person you share your membership with.

If the event is cancelled, will I get a refund?

Yes - tickets are refundable (and exchangeable where possible) if an event is cancelled.

Can I purchase refreshments during my event?

Some venues will be offering refreshments with table service only. If this is an option, details will be available via the partner website. Derby College will not allow any alcohol to be consumed on their premises during the Festival and there will be no cafe on site so please bring your own soft drinks if required.  

What are the parking arrangements at venues?

Most of our venues are in the city centre and you will need to park in designated car parks or on the streets - most of this parking is metered. At Derby College, because it is half term when our events are on, you can park in their car park for free. There is also limited free parking at Darley Abbey Village Hall with additional free parking in car parks in the village.


What COVID-19 measures will be in place?

We are working closely with all our venue partners to ensure all events are managed safely and comply with the latest government guidance, such as social distancing, mask wearing, extra signage, one way systems and enhanced cleaning.

Each venue has specific guidelines, which we have included on each event listing for tickets. For instance, at Derby Theatre there will be spaces between seats.

What do I need to do before I arrive?

If you have been exposed to Covid 14 days prior to the event, or are displaying any symptoms, please refrain from attending any in-person events.

Track & Trace

When you purchase tickets from ourselves or a third-party for in-person events, we are required by law to collect track and trace data for all visitors. This is in place for the safety of all attendees and data will be protected in accordance with GDPR requirements.

Attendees will have two options at in-person events, they can either check-in via the Track & Trace app, or they can fill in a form given out by a Derby Book Festival volunteer and hand it back.

Will I have to wear a face covering at the event?

Yes - all visitors, except under 11s and those medically exempt, will be required to wear a face covering when they are at any of our indoor venues. The only exception will be if you are at a catered event eg. Afternoon Tea, Festival Lunch, when you can remove your mask once seated at your table. If you then have to get up and move around the room, you will need to wear your mask.

Will hand sanitiser be provided at events?

Hand sanitiser will be available at all events and clearly signposted to provide peace of mind.

What extra hygiene measures will be in place to keep me safe?

All our venue partners take your health and safety seriously. Increased cleaning of chairs and common parts, such as door handles, will take place between events. In addition, hand sanitiser will be available and social distancing measures will be in place.

Are there special arrangements in place for people who have been vaccinated?

We are not planning any special arrangements unless the government introduces them before the Festival starts. We do expect all ticket holders to follow the guidance at all venues whether or not they have been vaccinated eg. social distancing, mask wearing etc.