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3 Festivals for 2024


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June 2023: Currently Reading

By - 30 June 2023 - 12:49pm

What are your top picks for Summer?

May was an exceptionally busy month for us at the Festival. If you came along to any of our events – whether in-person or online – thank you for your support! There’s still time to submit any feedback you might have for us – we really want to know how we can continue to improve.

Don’t forget that we have a one-off special event taking place on July 14th with Kate Mosse. You may be familiar with Kate’s extensive catalogue and her role in co-founding the Women’s Prize for Fiction. At this event, Kate will discuss her latest novel, The Ghost Ship. Book tickets via the website!

After the Festival, we had several children’s events that were an enormous success. We welcomed Lesley Parr and Joseph Coelho to Derby Theatre for a jam-packed Meet the Author event. It was great to see so many school children from Derby involved.

Later in the month, we welcomed the winners of the Derby Children’s Picture Book Award 2023 Anna Doherty and Alan Durant to talk all things Human Town. We held these events on Zoom and invited year 2 and 3 children from around Derby – we loved how interactive the sessions were.

Over the Summer we’re still focusing on our Community Engagement programmes, including Shared Reading, and we’re busy planning for our Autumn Edition, which is taking place from November 17-19. Keep visiting the website for author announcements and key dates for ticket sales.

Without further ado, here are the books we have been enjoying over the past month…

Sue Wall, Derby Book Festival Trustee and Interviewer: The Island of Longing by Anne Griffin

If you haven’t read any Anne Griffin yet, you are in for a treat. Her first book, When All is Said, topped the Sunday Times best-seller lists (and she came to Derby to talk about!), and has since been translated into many languages. Since then, she has written Listening Still, and her latest The Island of Longing. All her books are set in Ireland, and the reader gets a great sense of place, the surroundings, the culture, the close-knit nature of a community, but the emotions and feelings go beyond all national boundaries. The Island of Longing is a story about a missing child, and the impact on the family – it is a page-turner, but so well-written you find yourself savouring every word.

Keith McLay, Derby Book Festival Trustee and Interviewer: Impossible by Erri De Luca

It is short in length, really only a novella, but of the books I read over the past four weeks, Erri De Luca’s Impossible continues to unsettle and resonate. It’s a text of many genres: crime, thriller, philosophy and of nature, but all are rendered in a lyrical literary style which is a joy to read. There’s no resolution and the characters are not easy, but you won’t stop ruminating on the ideas surveyed and the adamantine commitment to a political ideology which can seem alien in the context of today’s doctrinal relativism. So Impossible is also my summer read recommendation along with De Luca’s back catalogue: Me, You; God’s Mountain; Three Horses; and The Day Before Happiness, which I have embarked on with gusto.

Felicity, Festival Administrator:

I finished two books in June, Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume and When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo. Two unique books, but both are captivating in different ways.

The reason I picked up Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret is because I saw a trailer for the film and thought it looked really interesting, however, I will either read the book or watch the film – rarely both, so I opted to read the book. What I found interesting is that even though the book has been out for over 50 years, it doesn’t feel like it’s aged at all.

I read When We Were Birds because it was shortlisted for the Jhalak Prize and had some really positive reviews. I absolutely adored this book. Someone described it as a ‘love story at its’ heart’, and I would agree with this. My favourite things about this book are the characters, the descriptions, and the dialect, which transported me to Trinidad & Tobago. Would recommend!

I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue, which I’m currently reading – I read Promising Young Women last year and absolutely loved it and am planning to read everything by Caroline.

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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