Book Festival launched today

The second Derby Book Festival programme, being launched this evening (April 5), includes many amazing writers, poets, historians, politicians, illustrators, storytellers and musicians and they will be talking about subjects as wide ranging  as cricket, cycling, railways, real ale, birding and even board games.

More will be revealed about the programme at the launch event, Derby Reads, being staged at QUAD in the city centre from 6-8pm.

It has already been announced that the headline event of the nine-day festival which starts on June 3 will be a talk by Carol Ann Duffy, the Poet Laureate, in Derby Cathedral.

Other events so far announced include Tracy Chevalier and Claire Harman discussing the remarkable life of Charlotte Bronte; Ashbourne debut author Joanna Cannon, whose novel The Trouble with Goats and Sheep is currently riding high in the best seller lists; and Helen Mort, the former Derbyshire Poet Laureate, whose second poetry collection will be launched during the Festival.

Derby-born author Sunjeev Sahota, whose second novel The Year of the Runaways was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2015, will be appearing at QUAD on June 6 and there will be an event to celebrate Derby’s Real Ale tradition with the Campaign for Real Ale’s Roger Protz, Editor of the Good Beer Guide.

The festival will also celebrate Derby’s railway history with author Simon Bradley in the historic Roundhouse on June 7.  Simon’s book, The Railways: Nation, Network and People, was chosen by The Sunday Times as its History Book of the Year in 2015.

The Cathedral’s peregrines will also feature as part of an event with author, broadcaster and naturalist David Lindo. The ‘Urban Birder’, who will visit Derby Cathedral on June 8 to talk about his book Tales from Concrete Jungles.

An exciting evening of books and music will take place on June 8 with best-selling author Louis de Bernières and The Bookshop Band, who write songs inspired by books. The band recently collaborated with Louis to write a song inspired by his new book.

One of the highlights of the festival will be Sir Peter Bazalgette, chair of Arts Council England in conversation with James Naughtie, BBC News’ books editor and host of the BBC Radio 4 Bookclub, at Derby Cathedral.

He said: “Celebrating the variety books offer us is at the heart of the festival’s programme and I look forward to joining James in Derby for what I hope will be a lively and literary evening.”

There is also a children’s programme which includes Bringing Books to Life, a full day of events and activities in the Market Place, the Guildhall and in QUAD on June 4.

Award-winning children’s authors Lauren Child and Andy Mulligan will meet children from Derby City infant and primary schools at events at Derby Theatre and QUAD.

Lauren Child, who is a writer and illustrator, is best known for the Charlie and Lola series and the Clarice Bean series of books. Andy is the winner of the 2011 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize for Return to Ribblestrop and was also shortlisted  for the Carnegie Medal 2012 for Trash.

Secondary schools are being offered author visits from eight authors: Cathy Cassidy, Sufiya Ahmed, Emma Pass, Martin Griffin, Dan Smith, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Sophia Bennett and MG Leonard, all of whom write for the teenage and young adult audience.

The winners of the Flash Fiction Writing Competition, which attracted more than 300 entries, will be announced at the Derby Reads event on April 5, which is ticketed but free, and the winning stories will be printed on bookmarks, illustrated by University of Derby students.

A taster event will be held at St John Street Gallery in Ashbourne on April 15 at 6pm. Free, but please book with the gallery.

Tickets for Festival events will be available online at or from the festival box office at QUAD from today.