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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!

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A Festival which brings Derby’s residents together in a love of books and inspires new readers to appreciate the pleasure and power of reading

Derby Book Festival was born over a glass of wine in QUAD by two book lovers, Jenny Denton and Sian Hoyle in February 2014.  With no previous experience of running a Festival, but heaps of enthusiasm and ideas, they approached the key arts and educational organisations in the city.  Their response was unanimously positive! 

In the summer of 2014, local businesswoman (and former librarian) Liz Fothergill CBE agreed to be our Festival Chair and we set up a management board. 

Derby Book Festival was launched one cold January day in Waterstones when, with the support of our partners and friends, we shared our plans for the first Festival, to be held in June 2015 over eight days. 

Since then the city has embraced the Festival: it is now an annual event in the cultural calendar with a nine day Festival each June.  In October 2019 we held our first three day Autumn Edition.

A Festival which brings Derby’s residents together in a love of books and inspires new readers to appreciate the pleasure and power of reading

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Being Chair of Derby Book Festival is a great joy and a privilege

We believe we have the East Midlands’ most successful literary festival, which is a firm fixture in the city’s cultural calendar. We have been overwhelmed by the support from local businesses and individuals, our arts and educational partners, the University of Derby and Arts Council England.

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Our Team

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Our Festival is established as a charity and run by a core team of six who work year-round, led by our Trustees. They have the additional support of over 80 volunteers at Festival time. We also have an Education Group, including teachers and librarians, who advise us on our schools’ programme.

A book festival which brings Derby’s residents together to celebrate the joy that books and reading bring to our lives

Our Festival programme is aimed at appealing to all ages and interests with a range of events, including some with a particular Derby resonance, with themes including railways, science, local history and architecture, cycling, walking, birding, cricket - and even real ale.

We pride ourselves on presenting a broad, diverse programme which attracts internationally-renowned writers, poets, historians, politicians, broadcasters, illustrators, storytellers and musicians, whilst also providing support and opportunities for local authors and those taking their first steps towards publishing.

In addition to our two annual Festivals, our work also includes our year-round community programme with three main strands: Shared Reading, Shared Writing and our Schools programme.  These enable us to share the joy of books and reading with school children, refugees and asylum speakers, disadvantaged young people, people in residential care and those accessing our city’s libraries.