Arts Derbyshire


Derby Book Festival 2022 opens on Friday!

Derby Book Festival 2022 opens on Friday, 20 May with over 60 events planned in venues across the city over nine days.  Tickets can be booked online at or in person or by phone at QUAD, Derby Theatre and Déda for the events they are hosting. The Festival, which will be held from 20 – 28 May, is funded by Arts Council England and the University of Derby with sponsorship from a number of local businesses and individuals.

This year’s Festival is a ‘hybrid’ with in-person, live-streamed and recorded events.  A Digital Pass is available giving access to 20 recorded events for six weeks after the Festival ends (from 2 June to 14 July) for £25.

The Great British Sewing Bee’s Esme Young, sponsored by East Midlands Business Chamber, is already sold out, although tickets are available for a live stream and recording of her event.

Highlights of this year’s Festival will include events with The Guardian’s columnist John Crace and political commentator Paul Mason, historian Alison Weir and River Cottage forager, John Wright.  The closing event will have a local Derbyshire flavour, featuring wine tasting with wines from Renishaw Hall led by the English Wine Project’s Kieron Atkinson, sponsored by Geldards.

The Festival will also have a Takeover Day at Derby College (Roundhouse) on Sunday 22 May with 11 events sponsored by Darwin Escapes.  Visitors can buy a Day Pass for £25 which enables them to attend as many events as they can fit into their day – seven being the total possible.


There will also be special events for families at Derby Theatre during the school half term, with three of the most popular children’s authors:

  • Lauren Child: Clarice Bean – Scram! on Monday 30 May, sponsored by local law firm, Smith Partnership
  • David Baddiel: (The Boy Who Got) Accidentally Famous on Tuesday 31 May
  • Jacqueline Wilson: The Magic Faraway Tree on 1 June, sponsored by local children’s educational play supplier, Cosy.


Liz Fothergill, Chair of the Festival, said: “This year we hope that the Festival will see a return to near normal after the disruption of the past two years. Our venues are fully open and we are keen to encourage our audiences back to safe and welcoming events in the city’s wonderful venues.

“The programme includes our usual broad range of events and genres for all ages and interests and we are particularly excited to have three of the country’s biggest names in children’s literature.”

This year’s programme also includes:

  • Award-winners and shortlisted fiction writers: Booker-shortlisted Graeme Macrae Burnet (Case Study), Waterstones Book of the Year-shortlisted Amy Jeffs (Storyland), Women’s Prize-shortlisted Sarah Moss (The Fell, Joanna Cannon (A Tidy Ending), Stacey Halls (Mrs England)
  • Debut authors: Francesca May (Wicked and Wild), Susan Stokes Chapman (Pandora) and Alex Hyde (Violets)
  • For children and families: Lauren Child, Jacqueline Wilson, David Baddiel, free Fairy Tales Puppet Shows in the city’s libraries and a Roald Dahl Theatre Show
  • For lovers of wildlife and the natural world: Lulah Ellender on Grounding: Finding Home in a Garden and Christopher Somerville on A View from the Hill: Four Seasons in a Walker’s Britain, sponsored by East Midlands Business Chamber
  • For arts lovers: Franny Moyle on Holbein, James Hamilton on Constable, Patrick Mackie on Mozart, Victoria Finlay on Fabric: The Hidden History of the Material World – as well as The Great British Sewing Bee’s Esme Young
  • For health and well-being: Shared Reading taster events and a Well-being Walk, Julia Samuel: Every Family has a Story, Will Buckingham: Hello, Stranger: How We Find Connection in a Disconnected World, Wendy Mitchell: What I Wish People Knew about Dementia, sponsored by Pennine Healthcare
  • For history lovers: Andrew Roberts on George III, Alison Weir on Elizabeth of York (both events sponsored by Peveril Homes), David Hendy on the definitive history of the BBC in its centenary year, sponsored by Geldards, Rob Young on The Magic Box: Viewing Britain through the Rectangular Window, Caitlin Davies on Queens of the Underworld: A Journey into the lives of Female Crooks, Helen Taylor on Why Women Read Fiction, sponsored by Freeths and Arthur der Weduwen & Andrew Pettegree: The Library; A Fragile History
  • For political animals: Guardian columnist John Crace on A Farewell to Calm, political commentator Paul Mason on How to Stop Fascism, ITV News presenter and novelist Tom Bradby on Yesterday’s Spy, sponsored by Penguin PR.

There will also be an event for Marketing Derby bondholders with an inspirational speaker, Estelle Read.  Tickets are also available to the public.

Professor Kathryn Mitchell CBE DL, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Derby, said: “As an avid reader, I know the joy that books can bring and it is wonderful that the Festival provides an opportunity for people to come together to share their love of reading and discover new authors and books.

“Broadening knowledge and challenging our ways of thinking are all key parts of university life and reading plays a crucial role in that. It can help to raise aspirations, support people to recognise and fulfil their potential, and discover new possibilities.”

Four of this year’s children’s events, including the ones at Derby Theatre, will be translated by a BSL interpreter, in partnership with Communication Unlimited.

This year’s venues include Artcore, Déda, city and community libraries, Derby College, Derby Museums, Derby Theatre, Landau Forte College, QUAD and Waterstones. The Festival programme will be available from all Festival venues, as well as all libraries and tourist offices. The Festival is organised in partnership with all the major arts and cultural partners in the city, including Marketing Derby.

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