Top authors flock to city’s book festival

Michael Morpurgo
Michael Morpurgo

The first Derby Book Festival will take place this week, featuring internationally acclaimed and best-selling authors.

The festival runs between May 31 and June 7 and aims to bring residents together in a love of books and inspire a new generation of readers.

A highlight of the festival will be the bestselling author of War Horse and Private Peaceful, Michael Morpurgo, who will give a performance of Only Remembered: songs, stories and poetry from WW1, with Coope, Boyes and Simpson.

The festival’s programme will include a broad range of events and activities aimed at all ages and interests from children’s book trails, storytelling and ‘Make It’ sessions to author talks, discussions, live performances, films, quizzes and workshops for budding writers.

Events will take place in venues across the city centre and in local schools and communities. It will also include events to appeal to local people with locally-related themes – cycling, railways, football, cricket, climbing and photography.

The festival is chaired by Liz Fothergill, local businesswoman, and chairman of Pennine Healthcare. Liz, who is a keen reader and also a trained librarian, said: “Being chair of Derby Book Festival is a great joy and privilege. Everyone we speak to is so positive and enthusiastic and keen to get involved.

“We have lots of innovative ideas for events and speakers. We are determined it will be so broad, varied and diverse that there will be something to excite people of all ages and interests and be a magnet for visitors to our city.”

The Festival is organised in partnership with all the major arts and cultural partners in the city. QUAD, Déda, Derby Museum & Art Gallery, Derby LIVE, Derby Theatre, the University of Derby, Derby College, Waterstones, Intu, Marketing Derby and Derby City Council will all be hosting events.

Many of the events will be held in the Cathedral Quarter, where these arts venues are located. There will also be events for all primary and secondary schools with author visits and competitions.

Stephen Munn, director of Déda, who is part of the city’s Strategic Culture Group, is on Derby Book Festival’s management committee.

He said: “Derby Book Festival will be a celebration of books and the written word and is a great addition to our festivals programme. Festivals are a great way of bringing people together as well as helping to boost the local economy and encourage more visitors to the city.”

Among the leading authors who will be putting in an appearance during the course of the festival are Simon Armitage, Blake Morrison, John Harvey. David Nicholls and Dame Penelope Lively.

To find out more, visit the festival website at