Meet the Derby Book Festival director

When the organisers of Derby Book Festival interviewed Theresa Keogh for the post of director they must have thought all their Christmases had come at once.

They will have been ticking all the boxes on their desirable list as they would a jackpot-winning Lottery ticket.

Theresa was born and brought up in Derby, has a passion for bringing books to life for people, and wants to ensure that everyone has the chance to engage with the festival in some way.

Not only that she is brimming with ideas on how to achieve those goals and plan further ahead than just next year.

Her enthusiasm and energy can only be inspiration for the rest of the team, who have volunteered to make sure the festival happens each year. What more could you ask for?

Theresa attended St Benedict’s School before undertaking an English degree at the University of Birmingham.  She went on to study for an MA in Scriptwriting at De Montfort University in Leicester.

She has an exciting background as an arts professional with a focus on writing and community engagement.  As the associate director at New Perspectives Theatre Company, Theresa has worked both locally and nationally creating, managing and programming work with a multitude of arts organisations including City Arts, The Young Vic, Nottingham Lakeside Arts, Nottingham Theatre Royal and Curve.

“I knew I wanted to be part of this festival as soon as I saw the job advertised, but I wasn’t sure if they would like my ideas on how to develop it.
“I needn’t have worried though as the team were really keen to  broaden the festival out into the community,” said Theresa.

“Until now the organisers have only been able to look one year ahead but my job involves planning for the next five years and increasingß the festival’s reputation.

“We want it to be known as a festival that does things differently and what I want to do is involve different art forms that feed into books – music, dance, theatre – and link them up.

“I am passionate about Derby and engaging people in the arts in the regions and I hope that Derby Book Festival will do just that.”

Theresa’s new ideas for the 2018 festival from June 1-9, will be unveiled at a launch event in April.

One of the headline events announced so far is Ken Clarke MP in conversation with former MP Alan Johnson.

Both he and Johnson are music lovers and the event on June 7 at Derby Theatre will include a performance by Derby Jazz featuring some of his favourite music.

Entries for this year’s Flash Fiction competition close at 10pm on February 8 so you need to hurry if you want to enter. The competition, which has the theme of If Only, has three age categories: 11 years and under, 12–17 years and 18 years and over. There will be one winner in each category plus two runners-up.

This year’s competition will also include an additional category specifically for women at Her Majesty’s Prison Foston Hall for which there will be a winner and runner-up prize.

Tickets for all events will go on sale on April 12, when the programme is officially launched at a Derby Reads event in QUAD.

Tickets will be available online from or in person from the festival box office at QUAD and other venues.

You can also follow the festival on Twitter at: @DerbyBookFest and ‘like’ the festival on Facebook: