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3 Festivals for 2024


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April 2023: Currently Reading

By - 30 April 2023 - 11:51am

Have you read any of the books we've read this month?

There are only three weeks until our Summer Edition begins. Have you got your tickets yet? Some events are close to selling out, so don’t leave it too late to book!

As ever, we’ve got something for everyone, from planes to gardening, feminism to horology, nature to mental health. We’ve got passes (Digital and the Takeover Day), free events in collaboration with Derby University’s Civic Lab and free events for children at libraries across the city.

It’s been another busy month at DBF HQ as we begin the final prep for the Festival and our pre-Festival events. This year we’re heading to Belper Children’s Book Festival on Monday 1 May, then on Saturday 13 May, we’ll be at Derby Museum’s Museum of Making for our book and craft fair.

Keith McLay, Derby Book Festival Trustee and Interviewer: Lisa Nandy’s, All In: How We Build a Country that Works; Blake Morrison’s Two Sisters; Catherine Ashton’s, And Then What?; and Tim Marshall’s, The Future of Geography.

Well, during April I’ve been deep into the four books whose authors I will be in conversation with at the admirable Derby Book Festival: Lisa Nandy’s, All In: How We Build a Country that Works; Blake Morrison’s Two Sisters; Catherine Ashton’s, And Then What?; and Tim Marshall’s, The Future of Geography. Needless to say, they are all sublime, but to find out more book tickets for the respective Book Festival events. You know you want to.

Fiona Apthorpe, Derby Book Festival Trustee: Unwell Women by Elinor Cleghorn

I am reading Unwell Women by Elinor Cleghorn, billed as a journey through medicine and myth in a man-made world. A history of women and Western medicine looking at medicine’s continuing biases and treatment of women. Powerful and eye opening.

Sue Wall, Derby Book Festival Trustee: The Coming Darkness by Greg Mosse

Greg Mosse's The Coming Darkness is a page-turning thriller, very much in the style of John le Carré, and similar authors. Although it is set in 2037, many of the details are instantly recognisable - a world of face masks and hand-hygiene; high temperatures and drought, self-driving cars - so it does not feel so very different. Alex Lamarque, a French intelligence officer, is a likeable, and credible hero - who struggles to care for his mother alongside carrying out all his special assignments. The book is fast-paced, with frequent twists and turns - overall a very satisfying read. I look forward to his next book - Alex is definitely a hero with a future!

Sarah Newton, Derby Book Festival Trustee: This Is Not a Pity Memoir by Abi Morgan

This book is absolutely unputdownable. Not only is it an extraordinary story, it is a true one. Author Abi Morgan is a Bafta-winning screenwriter, responsible for several blockbuster films and TV series, but it’s fair to say that none of her fictitious characters have ever lived through a story like her own.

I cannot recommend the book enough and with that in mind I don’t want to give away the plot, but it begins when Abi’s husband falls into a coma.

Her writing style is just exceptional – the book feels like a thriller and you have to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next. I stayed up way past my bedtime in order to finish it – one minute laughing at Abi’s sheer honesty and the next crying that the world could be so unfair. Make sure you get hold of a copy and prepare to join Abi and her family on a rollercoaster ride.

Vanessa, Festival Assistant: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Felicity, Festival Administrator: I’m a Fan by Sheena Patel and Yinka, Where is Your Huzband? by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn

I whizzed through I’m a Fan by Sheena Patel. In part because of the writing style and the varying chapter lengths, and because I just wanted to know what happened. I couldn’t help but read faster and faster to find out. At times, it seemed like the narrator was aware of the precarious relationship she was in, the toxic traits, and why it wasn’t going to last. But at other times, she was lost in the relationship. It was a really interesting read.

I also loved Yinka, Where is Your Husband? Lizzie Damilola Blackburn has been described as the millennial Bridget Jones, which is one of the reasons it appealed. One of the things I loved most about this character-driven book is how the narrative is shifting for women in their late 20’s and 30’s who perhaps haven’t followed the ‘traditional’ route – they’re not married, maybe not in a relationship, they don’t have children, their career isn’t cemented in place, but that’s okay. And more than that, therapy is promoted in a positive way. It gave me People Person vibes (thinking specifically of Dimple).

As ever, we’d love to know if you’ve read any of these books and what you think of them?

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