OIR: Mary Mayfield on the Derby Book Festival Launch

Article published on May 29, 2015.

We’ve been to quite a few book festivals now – north to Edinburgh, west to Hay on Wye, south to Chipping Norton, even over ‘the border’ to Nottinghamshire for Lowdham book festival, and DerbyshireLitFest is held every two years in libraries up and down the county – but all of these involve travelling, sometimes even planning our holidays around them. Now there’s to be a book festival right here on our doorstep in Derby – how exciting is that?!!

I’ve known about this for a while and have signed up as a volunteer, but it was only last Thursday, World Book Night and Shakespeare’s birthday, that the full programme was launched. The festival is the brain child of Sian Hoyle and Jenny Denton, and they’ve put together 60 events ranging from school visits by authors to appearances by big names such as David Nicholls, Katie Fforde and Sarah Waters. Taking place from 31st May to 7th June, there’ll be crime writers, poetry, book-signings, a footballer, a mountaineer, writing workshops, exciting debut authors, familiar names, lots of free book-related activities for children and a special Radio4 BookClub, with events in various locations around the city from theatres to bookstores to the new cycling arena.

I’ve got my programme – in fact several which I’m trying to pass round friends and anyone who might be interested – and my highlighter pen’s at the ready BUT I’ve discovered a slight down-side to volunteering. I’ve offered my services for several days over the week but not yet heard when and where I’ll be needed – and until I do, I won’t know which events I’ll be free to attend, so can’t book tickets. I’m now waiting anxiously to hear then I can really start to plan!

Mary Mayfield


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