Derby Book Festival tickets selling fast

Tickets for the Derby Book Festival have been selling like hot cakes since they went on sale in April and a number of events are already sold out.

The organisers are thrilled at the response to the third festival revealing that ticket sales were up by 40 per cent in the first week, and that Alan Johnson with Matthew Parris, the afternoon tea with Paula Byrne talking about the Kennedys and Chatsworth, and Margaret Willes talking about Gardens of the British Working Class have all been snapped up.

As artsbeat went to press, however, you could still obtain tickets to hear violinist Min Kym tell her story about her stolen Stradivarius, comedian Jenny Eclair in conversation with Anne Davies from BBC East Midlands Today, and writer and illustrator Matt Sewell talking about his love for birds and his latest book A Charm of Goldfinches.

Matt, who will be at the festival on June 10 has been described as the Banksy of the bird world. He is probably best known for his wildlife murals painted on walls up and down the country, but the urban artist is a country lad at heart – an avid ornithologist who brings to life caricatures of birds with chirpy personalities.

He has been featured on BBC Countryfile when Ellie met him at the Hollies Nature Reserve, a popular stop off for migrating winter thrushes such as redwings. While there, Ellie had a go at sketching in Matt’s unique style before heading to Shrewsbury to finish spray painting a mural dedicated to Shropshire wildlife.

Also in the line-up is Tony Garnett, who will be talking about his life in the media. His 60 year career as a TV and film producer has included working with great directors such as Ken Loach, Mike Leigh and Roland Joffe.

His work includes films such as Kes and Up the Junction as well as the  ground-breaking TV drama documentary Cathy Come Home, which a 1998 Radio Times readers’ poll voted the best single television drama, and a 2000 industry poll rated as the second best British television programme ever made.

Tony will be talking to QUAD’s chief executive Adam Buss on June 13, about his critically-acclaimed 2016 autobiography The Day the Music Died.

Alex Wheatle, the winner of the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize last year, will be joining the festival on June 10 when he will be talking about the third book in his hard-hitting young adult trilogy – Straight Outta Crongton. If you want a preview of what he has to say you can listen on iPlayer to him talking to another festival guest, the Rev Richard Coles on his BBC Radio 4 Saturday Live programme on May 6.

For fans of Derby County Football Club, and indeed anyone else interested in football, one evening not to miss will be when former club chief executive Stuart Webb spills the beans on his life with Brian Clough and Robert Maxwell. He will  reveal details of the club’s explosive relationships at QUAD on June 14.

There are many more events taking place during the festival which runs from June 9-17 and all the details can be found at

You can also turn to the bookshelf page in artsbeat to find details of some other books you will be able to discover at the festival.