Arts Derbyshire


Poet and Broadcasting Bard opens Repton Literary Festival

Popular poet and BBC broadcaster Ian McMillan has chosen Repton Literary Festival as the only venue outside his beloved Yorkshire to launch his latest literary venture this summer.

Ian has cut back on live performance in recent months to focus on his writing and broadcasting work.

But the pull of the Repton Literary and Film Festival in July proved just too tempting.  He will open the three day Repton

feast of culture at 6.30pm on Friday 8th July when he will introduce his latest book – My Sand Life, My Pebble Life – A memoir of a childhood and the sea.

“In the book I try to work out how those journeys shaped the grand old dad that I’ve become today,” he says. 

Ian will recall his days by the sea, from Cleethorpes & Scarborough to Northumberland & Blackpool & the Isle of Skye.

He walks barefoot to see the sun rise; he is attacked by seagulls, midges, and wasps; he eats a lot of fish & chips; he nearly avoids a frisbee; he searches for jazz.

My Sand Life, My Pebble Life takes readers to sunny days on the beach, legendary games of cricket, thermoses of tea, crumbly cake and tiny caravans.

The holiday cottages that live on forever, buckets of shells, a broken fishing net, with the tide out, way out…

“We’re thrilled to have Ian open what promises to be a brilliant event this year, bigger and better than ever,” says festival director John Cavey.

“After two years of Zooming, everyone is so glad to get back to live, in-person performances.

There is so much interest in the festival, and Ian’s opener in particular, that we are urging people to book early to avoid disappointment.”

Ian McMillan is a poet, journalist, playwright and broadcaster who Times Education Supplement dubbed ‘the Shirley Bassey of performance poetry’.

He’s been a castaway on Desert Island Discs, poet in residence for The Academy of Urbanism, Barnsley FC & Lockdown Poet and resident poet at English National Opera.

He presents The Verb on BBC Radio 3 and has appeared on Coast, BBC Breakfast, Pick of the Week and Last Word.

The Repton Festival, which features film, literature and kid’s literature, runs for three days from Friday 8th July.

All events take place at Repton School.

For more information about the festival and to book tickets for all performances, visit

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