Derby Book Festival starts next week

The full line up for the second Derby Book Festival includes two prestigious Guardian Live events.

Simon Callow, pictured above,  will be talking about the third volume in his epic survey of the life and works of Orson Welles, and Matt Haig will be discussing his best-selling book Reasons to Stay Alive.

Callow will be returning to Derby on June 5, just a month after talking about his screen career at the Derby Film Festival, to read excerpts from the book and talk about what it would have been like to have been around Welles and what it was like to be him.

When Haig was 24 his world fell apart as he suddenly came face to face with severe depression. His book is a funny, warm and moving story of how he coped with his illness. He will be interviewed on June 3 by Kathryn Mitchell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby who has a life-long interest in mental health.

The Festival, which runs from June 3-11, will include over 70 events and activities in venues across the city.

Highlights of this year’s Festival will include the opening event, with the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, plus best-selling authors Tracy Chevalier and Louis de Bernières, journalist and presenter Joan Bakewell, broadcaster Stuart Maconie, historian and historical novelist Alison Weir, Booker-shortlisted author Sunjeev Sahota, debut author Joanna Cannon, David Lindo, aka The Urban Birder and BBC Radio 4’s James Naughtie.

There will be an expanded programme for children and families on June 4, with author Andy Cope appearing at two events in QUAD, illustration workshops and a Bringing Books to Life event in the Market Place with pavement art, street theatre, storytelling in the yurt, mural painting and Derby Shakespeare Company performing on a Trent Barton bus.

Liz Fothergill, Chair of the Festival, said: “Last year’s Festival was such a great success but we feel this year’s programme is even better with a wider range of events, authors and activities to appeal to new audiences.

“In particular we have more for children and families and a wealth of events with a local Derby element, including local history and architecture, railways, birding and the Cathedral peregrines, cricket, cycling and real ale.”

The winners of the 2016 Flash Fiction writing competition were Tracey Wilkinson, Felicity Jackson, Thomas Birch and Mary Bevan. In the under 16 category the winners were Samuel Thomas and Halle Burton. They have been presented with a framed copy of their story, which has been illustrated by University of Derby student, Kaye Lindsay.

The Festival programme will be available from all Festival venues, which include QUAD, Déda, Derby Museum and Art Gallery, The Guildhall Theatre, Derby Theatre, Derby Cathedral, WEA and from all libraries and tourist offices.

Tickets can be booked online at or in person or phone at QUAD.