New director for book festival

Vicky Dawson

The new director of Derby Book Festival is Vicky Dawson, who is also at the helm of the Buxton International Festival’s literary event.

“I am delighted to be joining the team at Derby Book Festival. To be sharing my passion for books and contributing to two diverse festivals across Derbyshire is an enormous privilege,”  she said.

Vicky succeeds Theresa Keogh who became the first festival director in 2017 and is now pursuing a teaching career.

Liz Fothergill, who chairs the Derby festival said: “The festival has gone from strength to strength in our first five years and we are delighted with its success and the city’s response to it.  

“Vicky has the ideal mix of skills to take the festival to the next exciting stage in its development, and we feel sure she will have the leadership skills to create an even more successful festival and creative team in the coming years.

“Her energy, enthusiasm and passion for the festival impressed us all and we feel very confident about her appointment.”

Vicky has spent three decades in the book trade and was latterly a partner in two independent bookshops in Scotland.   

She was a founder member of Eastbourne’s Champion Women Festival, a Trustee of the Aboyne & Deeside Festival and has organised literary events for bookshops and festivals across the UK. 

The 2019 festival sold just under 7,000 tickets during its nine-day run in June and the demand for more events during the year has led to the first Autumn Edition of Derby Book Festival which will be held from October  25-27 with ten events planned.  

They include visits from Sir Vince Cable MP, BBC editorial director and former economics editor, Kamal Ahmed, best-selling writing partnership Nicci French, Costa Prize nominee Raynor Winn (The Salt Path) and novelist and psychiatrist, Joanna Cannon.

Liz Fothergill said: “None of our success would be possible without the support of all our funders, including Arts Council England and the University of Derby, as well as our festival partners, sponsors and volunteers.  

“We are already planning the next festival in 2020 and want to ensure we retain the same high quality of events, authors and activities as this year.”