Derby Book Festival starts next week

One of the surprise new authors heading the line-up at the fifth Derby Book Festival is Australian international best-seller, Markus Zusak, pictured above.

His novel The Book Thief sold 16 million copies worldwide and his follow-up Bridge of Clay, which he will be discussing at Derby looks destined to follow its success.

One of the other new names added to the diverse range of authors coming to the festival which will be staged from May 31 to June 8, is Victoria Hislop Her novel The Island (2005), was hailed as “the new Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”, and was a number one bestseller in Britain, having been selected by the Richard & Judy Book Club for their Summer Reads.

The Festival will include over 90 events and activities in venues across the city.  

Other highlights of this year’s festival will include broadcaster, author and parliamentarian, Melvyn Bragg talking about his new novel, Love Without End in Derby Theatre on June 7 and a special event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Derby Theatre on June 6 with authors Giles Milton and Bali Rai talking about their latest books on soldiers experiences of D-Day.  There’ll also be music and dance from, and inspired by, the period and the books.

You will also be able to hear from novelists Patrick Gale (Take Nothing With You, Costa-shortlisted for A Place Called Winter),  Melissa Harrison (All Among the Barley) and award-winning Derbyshire poet (one of our former Poet Laureates), Helen Mort will discuss her first novel, Black Car Burning. 

BBC editorial eirector, Kamal Ahmed will talking about his memoir of growing up in 1970s London.

There will be sessions with crime writers James Runcie (Grantchester series), Stephen Booth and a panel of female crime writers including C J Tudor and Jo Jakeman.

History fans can enjoy Tracy Borman talking about Henry VIII and the Men Who Made Him, Kate Hubbard on Bess of Hardwick plus Sir Simon Jenkins, whose most recent book is A Short History of Europe.

Art lovers can hear Martin Bailey talk about Van Gogh while Clare Hunter will talk about the history of needlework. 

Poetry fans will enjoy Hollie McNish, Henry Normal, Rupinder Kaur and Nafeesa Hamid and Derby poet Dan Webber launches his first collection, Genre Fluid. 

For those keen on science and nature, Greenpeace UK’s Head of Oceans, Will McCallum will talk about How to Give Up Plastic, and Rose George explains all you need to know about blood in Nine Pints.

There will also be the pick of the latest crop of debut authors at the festival including Anne Griffin (When All is Said), Elizabeth Macneal (The Doll Factory), Bridget Collins (The Binding), and Derbyshire’s own Sophie Draper (Cuckoo).

The annual Festival Lunch will be with Rory Stewart MP and Afternoon Tea events will be with Clare Hunter, who will talk about Threads of Life, the history of needlework and Griselda Kerr on gardening. 

The theme for this year’s Flash Fiction writing competition is Our World. Stories of up to 50 words have to be in by 10pm on May 8. For more details go to the festival website.

 QUAD is the main festival Box Office and will host many of the exciting festival events, but events will also be held at venues across the city.

 Tickets can be booked online at or in person or by phone at QUAD and other host venues. 

Go to for more details.