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Important News

Due to Covid-19 we have had to postpone our Festival, scheduled for 29 May- 6 June 2020, but we are committed to bringing you an extended and extensive Autumn Edition. If you would like to see what we were planning for the Festival, you can take a look at our proposed Festival programme

Our planned Festival programme

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We’ll be at the Big Book Weekend!

By - 22 April 2020 - 10:00am

We’ve had some exciting news – one of our events will be included in the Big Book Weekend on 8 – 10 May, as part of the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine! We submitted three events and our Debut Author event with Louise Hare & Beth Morrey was chosen.

Both authors were included in The Observer’s selection of 10 best debut novelists.
In Louise’s This Lovely City, her central character arrives on the Empire Windrush to post-war London, but soon learns that new arrivals are treated with suspicion.
In Saving Missy, Beth Morrey, who hails from Derbyshire, looks at the loneliness of a difficult and prickly woman who finds that there are still second chances - even at 79.

Sue Wall, one of our regular Festival interviewers, will be recording the interview next week and you can watch it on My VLF – date and time to be confirmed.

Lennie Goodings

One of the authors we were looking forward to welcoming back to the Festival is Lennie Goodings, Chair of the UK publishing house Virago Press. Her part-memoir, part-history, A Bite of the Apple, has recorded a short YouTube video, recounting some of the life lessons she has learnt from the inspirational authors she has worked with across her career, and reflecting on how reading can bring solace during times of uncertainty. You can find the video here.

Shared Reading

During these uncertain times our Shared Reading project feel it is more important than ever to try and make connections with their groups, so have been sending in weekly newsletters with poems and stories and have just launched the Shared Reading Poetry Postcard Project.

There are several settings where people are either shielding or following social distancing rules, with limited (if any) interaction with anyone else. The aim of the project is to reduce loneliness and isolation and improve well-being by sending postcards with poems on to individuals via their settings.

For more information, or if you know of any settings that may be interested, please contact: [email protected]

What’s everyone reading during lockdown?

Here’s Vice-Chair of the Festival, Andrew Flack’s response:
“I’ve been Vice-Chair since the beginning, alongside volunteering at Oxfam Books and Music and supporting the local library so books are well and truly in the blood. Unfortunately the passion for handling, marvelling at and buying books isn’t quite matched by the time to read them all!

Never was that final sentence more true than in the days before the inevitable lockdown. And then, on one of her regular stints on BBC Radio Derby, our Director, Vicky, talked about the pleasures of re-visiting the books on our shelves.

But thinking about that, which would it be if I returned to old friends? Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth, or The Children Act, a beautiful, humane novel linking back to my professional life? In the end, though, it would almost certainly be Melvyn Bragg’s Son of War trilogy which captures the post-war decades so brilliantly and has many echoes of my own experience. “

Poem of the Week:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson

Book of the Week

Mark Cocker
Crow Country
Crow Country takes the ordinary and reminds us that they are of course (in this case corvids- largely rooks and crows) extraordinary. There is a charm to Mark Cocker’s remembrance of growing up in Derbyshire as a boy who liked birds at when his peers were discovering girls to his subsequent career as one of Britain’s foremost birding experts. But he wears his expertise lightly and this book explores the rookeries and roosts of the Norfolk countryside near his home. Unafraid of early starts and sitting long into dusk, Mark Cocker tackles his corvid project with the gusto with which he tackles the renovation of a new home for his family. Home is the linking theme and this book is an uplifting read.

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