Latest chapter in Derby Book Festival is a return to in-person events

Literary lovers are in for a treat in Derby this month when the city aims to be among the first in the country to stage a festival with “in-person” events.

For the first time in its history, the Derby Book Festival will provide a “hybrid” event with a mix of in-person, live streamed, recorded and outdoor events taking place across the city from 27 May – 5 June.

Featuring writers, poets, illustrators, historians, musicians, and more, the packed programme over the May half term break will cover everything from clouds to crime, romance to railways, and walking to Wallis Simpson.

Venues include Derby Theatre, Derby College, Deda, Derby Cathedral, Derby Museum & Art Gallery and the new Museum of Making – which opens to visitors for the first time on 21 May – as well as five of the city’s parks.

Tickets are already on sale for this, the sixth Derby Book Festival, which is funded by the University of Derby and Arts Council England, as well as sponsorship from local businesses.

Among those appearing in this year’s Festival are poets Hollie McNish and Brian Bilston; official biographer of Victoria Wood, Jasper Rees; leading political commentator Iain Dale on The Prime Ministers; BBC Special Correspondent James Naughtie on his coverage of US presidential elections from Nixon to Biden and Costa Book of the Year winner Monique Roffey (The Mermaid of Black Conch).

And with the Festival stretching across the schools’ half term holiday, there will be a strong programme for children and families, sponsored by Smith Partnership, including five Family Days in the Park with activities each day in a different park – Darley, Markeaton, Sinfin Moor, Alvaston and the Arboretum.

For those who can’t travel, the University of Derby film course is supporting the Festival by filming many events, which will be live streamed, offering the chance to reach a wider audience than in previous years.

In addition to the tickets for in-person and live streamed events, the Festival also offers a Digital Pass for £25 giving unlimited access to the events that will be filmed and recorded.

The Festival is organised in partnership with all the major arts, cultural and educational partners in the city: Déda, Derby Cathedral, Derby College, Derby Museums, Derby Theatre, Darley Abbey Village Hall and Derby LIVE.

All events can be booked via the website

For tourist information about Derby, and for the latest updates on what’s open, see