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Derby Book Festival

27 May - 5 June

The annual Festival is back for its sixth year! This year there is a programme of over 60 events across ten days to celebrate the joy of books and reading for all ages and interests.

There is something for everyone with topics ranging from clouds to crime, railways to romance, trains to Trump, and walking to Wallis Simpson! There are book-related activities for families and children during the May half-term break, with many taking place outdoors at parks across the city.

Derby Book Festival now has two great programmes of events each year. The main Festival, from 27 May to 5 June 2021, includes around 60 events and the Autumn Edition has 10 events over three days.

Visit the website to find out the latest details: https://www.derbybookfestival.co.uk

Or follow us on social media for more updates:

Twitter: @DerbyBookFest

Instagram: @derby_book_festival 

Facebook: @DerbyBookFestival 

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Tickets are now on sale for the following events;

John Preston - Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell (In Person) - 27 May

From the best-selling author of A Very English Scandal and The Dig, John Preston brings us the jaw-dropping life story of notorious busine... read more

John Preston - Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell (Livestream) - 27 May

From the best-selling author of A Very English Scandal and The Dig, John Preston brings us the jaw-dropping life story of notorious busine... read more

James Naughtie - On the Road: Adventures from Nixon to Trump (In Person) - 27 May

James Naughtie, special correspondent for BBC News, is one of the country's best-known broadcasters and has covered every US election from N... read more

James Naughtie - On the Road: Adventures from Nixon to Trump (Livestream) - 27 May

James Naughtie, special correspondent for BBC News, is one of the country's best-known broadcasters and has covered every US election from N... read more

Writing Real Women with Tracy Bloom & Laura Jane Williams - 28 May

Start the weekend (and half term) off in the relaxing atmosphere of CUBE Cafe - and a look at real women in fiction.... read more

Helen Mort: Never Leave the Dog Behind - Part of Derby Book Festival - 28 May

Join poet and author Helen Mort on a walk with your best friend – your dog!... read more

John Kampfner: Why the Germans Do It Better (In Person) - 29 May

Subtitled Notes from a Grown-Up Country, John Kampfner raises important questions for our post-Brexit landscape: why, despite its faults, G... read more

John Kampfner: Why the Germans Do It Better (Livestream) - 29 May

Subtitled Notes from a Grown-Up Country, John Kampfner raises important questions for our post-Brexit landscape: why, despite its faults, G... read more

Monique Roffey: The Mermaid of Black Conch (In Person) - 29 May

It is hard to categorise The Mermaid of Black Conch – a love story, Caribbean mythology, a historical novel, a novel about women&rsquo... read more

Monique Roffey: The Mermaid of Black Conch (Livestream) - 29 May

It is hard to categorise The Mermaid of Black Conch – a love story, Caribbean mythology, a historical novel, a novel about women&rsquo... read more

Christie Watson - The Courage to Care: A Call for Compassion (Livestream) - 29 May

Christie Watson is an award-winning, best-selling writer. She was a nurse for 20 years and is currently Professor of Medical and Health Huma... read more

Christie Watson - The Courage to Care: A Call for Compassion (In Person) - 29 May

Christie Watson is an award-winning, best-selling writer. She was a nurse for 20 years and is currently Professor of Medical and Health Huma... read more

Jasper Rees: Let’s Do It: The Authorised Biography of Victoria Wood (Livestream) - 29 May

She wasn't fond of the term, but Victoria Wood truly was a national treasure - and her loss is still keenly felt.... read more

Jasper Rees: Let’s Do It: The Authorised Biography of Victoria Wood (In Person) - 29 May

She wasn't fond of the term, but Victoria Wood truly was a national treasure - and her loss is still keenly felt.... read more

Debut Author: Home-grown talent - Jane Bettany and Helen Cooper - 29 May

We are always delighted to hear about local writing success – and this year we have two debut authors to celebrate. Jane Bettany (also... read more

Christian Wolmar: Cathedrals of Steam - 29 May

Award winning writer and broadcaster, Christian Wolmar, specialises in transport and is the author of a series of books on railway history.... read more

365 Days Wild with Lucy McRobert - 29 May

Lucy will introduce some of the 365 inspiring ideas from her book, 365 Days Wild, for the family to enjoy nature.... read more

Alison Weir - Katheryn Howard: The Tainted Queen - 29 May

Alison Weir returns for her fifth visit to Derby Book Festival – and the fifth of Henry’s queens: Katheryn Howard.... read more

Shaun Bythell: Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops - 29 May

Shaun Bythell returns to Derby after his sell-out event in 2019. His hilarious new book casts a mordantly unique eye on the customers who ro... read more

Fairy Tale Puppet Show with AVP Theatre - 29 May - 3 June

Join us for a delightful retelling of some traditional and some original fairy and folktales. All told by Amy and a cast of wonderful puppet... read more

Family Days in the Parks - 29 May - 3 June

Family Days in the Parks - 29 May - 3 June

Family Fun, Festivals, School Holidays

Where to find us

We will be holding a series of fun Family Days in Parks across the city from 11am to 3pm each day.... read more

Brian Bilston: Alexa, What Is There To Know About Love? (Livestream) - 30 May

Brian Bilston, known as the Poet Laureate of Twitter, was due to join us in 2020 to talk about his debut novel, Diary of A Somebody, which w... read more

Brian Bilston: Alexa, What Is There To Know About Love? (In Person) - 30 May

Brian Bilston, known as the Poet Laureate of Twitter, was due to join us in 2020 to talk about his debut novel, Diary of A Somebody, which w... read more

Peter Ross: A Tomb with a View - 30 May

Enter a grave new world of fascination and delight as award-winning writer Peter Ross uncovers the stories and glories of graveyards.... read more

Roger Morgan-Grenville - Liquid Gold: Bees and the Pursuit of Midlife Honey - 30 May

After a chance meeting in the pub, Roger Morgan-Grenville and his friend Duncan decide to take up beekeeping. Their enthusiasm matched only ... read more

Debut Author: Rebecca Watson: little scratch - 30 May

Chosen as one of The Observer’s annual list of 10 debut novelists of 2021, Rebecca Watson’s little scratch, is dazzlingly origin... read more

Ben Aitken & Helen Moat - Travels with my Elders ... and Youngers - 30 May

Meet two travel writers, Ben Aitken - a millennial, six coach trips, one big generation gap and Helen Moat, mum, teenage son, another genera... read more

Val McDermid (virtual event) - 30 May

Translated into over 40 languages and with over 16 million books sold to date across the world, crime writer Val McDermid is at the very top... read more

Andrew Lownie: The Mountbattens - 31 May

A major figure behind his nephew Philip’s marriage to Queen Elizabeth ll - and instrumental in the royal family taking the Mountbatten... read more

Shrabani Basu: The Mystery of the Parsee Lawyer - 31 May

From journallist and author of Victoria & Abdul, Shrabani Basu's latest book, The Mystery of the Parsee Lawyer, is the real-life case fe... read more

Alternative Crime: Russ Thomas & Alex Reeve - Part of Derby Book Festival - 31 May

Russ Thomas and Alex Reeve have both hit the literary world with crime thrillers with fascinating and enigmatic protagonists: one a gay dete... read more

Polly Samson: A Theatre for Dreamers with music from David Gilmour (virtual event) - 31 May

A Theatre for Dreamers was published to critical acclaim in 2020. The fictional retelling of summer 1960 on the Greek island of Hydra and it... read more

Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason - House of Music: Raising the Kanneh-Masons (In Person) - 1 June

Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason is a remarkable woman: growing up as a mixed-race child in Britain in the 1970s, she is a former lecturer at Birmingham... read more

Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason - House of Music: Raising the Kanneh-Masons (Livestream) - 1 June

Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason is a remarkable woman: growing up as a mixed-race child in Britain in the 1970s, she is a former lecturer at Birmingham... read more

Duncan Campbell-Smith - Jet Man: The Making and Breaking of Frank Whittle, the Genius of the Jet Revolution - 1 June

We are all familiar with driving along Sir Frank Whittle Way in Derby, but do we know who he was?... read more

Patricia Fara: Erasmus Darwin: Sex, Science, and Serendipity - 1 June

Please arrive at 4.30pm if you wish to visit the Joseph Wright Gallery to view his painting of Erasmus Darwin before Patricia's talk begins ... read more

Creating Historical Fiction: Lucy Jago & Natasha Pulley - 1 June

Join us to hear about two of the most eagerly awaited historical novels of 2021.... read more

Children’s Poetry Writing Workshop - 1 & 3 June

A fun session with Derby poet Les Baynton.... read more

Richard Bates & Jonathan Memel: Florence Nightingale at Home - 2 June

Published in 2020 to commemorate Florence Nightingale’s bicentenary, Dr Richard Bates and Dr Jonathan Memel discuss how the ideas and ... read more

Afternoon Tea: Francesca Wade: Square Haunting - 2 June

A Guardian Best Book of the Year and longlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize, Francesca Wade's spellbinding group biography explores how fo... read more

Mary Lawson: A Town Called Solace (virtual event) - 2 June

For those of you who haven’t yet discovered Mary Lawson, Anne Tyler probably describes her work best: 'I've been telling everyone I kn... read more

Festival Book Quiz - 2 June

The Festival Book Quiz returns but in a new, socially distanced venue in the huge Roundhouse.... read more

Hollie McNish: Slug (Livestream) - 3 June

We are delighted to welcome Hollie McNish, the Ted Hughes Award-winning author of Nobody Told Me, back to Derby after her sell-out event in ... read more

Hollie McNish: Slug (In Person) - 3 June

We are delighted to welcome Hollie McNish, the Ted Hughes Award-winning author of Nobody Told Me, back to Derby after her sell-out event in ... read more

Festival Lunch with Anna Pasternak: The American Duchess - 3 June

An American socialite divorcée, Wallis Simpson’s intended marriage to King Edward VIII caused a constitutional crisis that led ... read more

Gavin Pretor-Pinney: Cloudspotting Day 1 - Part of Derby Book Festival - 3 June

One of the few joys of the Pandemic for many of us is our re-engagement with the natural world, with many of us taking daily walks which hav... read more

Matthew Parris: Fracture - Part of Derby Book Festival - 3 June

Ada Lovelace. Frederick Douglass. Vladimir Lenin. Marie Curie. Frida Kahlo. Carl Jung. Tupac Shakur. All geniuses who changed the world in w... read more

Gothic Panel with Stuart Turton, Catriona Ward, Sarah Ward (Livestream) - 4 June

Contemporary gothic fiction has surged in popularity in the last few years with readers drawn to the haunting settings and dark plots. Derby... read more

Gothic Panel with Stuart Turton, Catriona Ward, Sarah Ward (In Person) - 4 June

Contemporary gothic fiction has surged in popularity in the last few years with readers drawn to the haunting settings and dark plots. Derby... read more

Gavin Pretor-Pinney: Cloudspotting Day 2 -  4 June

One of the few joys of the Pandemic for many of us is our re-engagement with the natural world, with many of us taking daily walks which hav... read more

Morning Coffee: Helen Lewis: Difficult Women: History of Feminism in 11 Fights - 4 June

Well-behaved women don't make history: difficult women do.... read more

Afternoon Tea: Pen Vogler: Scoff: A History of Food and Class in Britain - 4 June

What better subject than Scoff for this year’s Afternoon Tea event!... read more

Iain Dale - The Prime Ministers: 55 Leaders, 55 Authors, 300 Years of History (In Person) - 5 June

It has almost been 300 years since Sir Robert Walpole arguably became the first holder of the office of Prime Minister in 1721 - an office w... read more

Iain Dale - The Prime Ministers: 55 Leaders, 55 Authors, 300 Years of History (Livestream) - 5 June

It has almost been 300 years since Sir Robert Walpole arguably became the first holder of the office of Prime Minister in 1721 - an office w... read more

Claire Wilcox: Patch Work: A Life Amongst Clothes - 5 June

Claire Wilcox has worked as a curator in Fashion at the Victoria & Albert Museum for most of her working life.... read more

Jon Sopel - UnPresidented: Politics, Pandemics and the Race That Trumped All Others (In Person) - 5 June

For Jon Sopel, as the BBC North America Editor since 2014, he has been witnessing, at first hand, the Trump presidency from before his elect... read more

Jon Sopel - UnPresidented: Politics, Pandemics and the Race That Trumped All Others (Livestream) - 5 June

For Jon Sopel, as the BBC North America Editor since 2014, he has been witnessing, at first hand, the Trump presidency from before his elect... read more

Collage Workshop with Illustrator, Jane Porter - 5 June

Collage Workshop with Illustrator, Jane Porter - 5 June

Family Fun, Festivals, School Holidays

Join children's author and illustrator Jane Porter for a fun half-term story time and collage workshop.... read more

Debut Author: Abigail Dean - Girl A - 5 June

Every few years a debut novel comes along that excites the whole of the publishing world, with fierce bidding wars to secure it for publicat... read more

Bird Watching Walk with Mark Cocker - 5 June

Park at height barrier at the Reserve entrance on Meadow Lane, just off Willington Road. Turn right 100m after St Michael's Church in the vi... read more

Kate Summerscale: The Haunting of Alma Fielding - 5 June

Kate Summerscale’s The Suspicions of Mr Whicher was a No 1 best-seller in 2009. Her new book was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford P... read more

Mark Cocker: A Claxton Diary: Further Field Notes from a Small Planet - 5 June

Over 50 years, author and naturalist Mark Cocker has learnt the art of patience: to observe a butterfly, a bird, flower, bee, deer, otter or... read more

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