Literature festival gathers pace

Tickets are selling fast for this year’s Derbyshire Literature Festival with some of the big names already selling out.

But there are still lots of hot tickets available, so get in fast before they go.

BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera lifts the lid on the secret world of MI6 and British intelligence at Chesterfield Library on Thursday, May 17, drawing on first-hand accounts from former members of the secret service.

Writer Jackie Kay discusses her award- winning memoir Red Dust Road at Belper Community Hall on Sunday, May 20 - an exciting finale to the two-week festival organised by Derbyshire County Council.

Jackie, whose father is Nigerian, was adopted and brought up in Glasgow in the 1960s and 70s. She writes extensively for stage and screen and in 2010 published the account of her search for her birth parents in Red Dust Road.

Tickets for both shows are £5 and available at all 45 of Derbyshire County Council’s libraries or by contacting Call Derbyshire on 08456 058 058.

You can also pick up a copy of the festival brochure in any library or download a copy from the authority’s website at

Leader of Derbyshire County Council and cabinet member for culture Councillor Andrew Lewer said: “We have a superb line-up this year, one of our best ever.

“From spies to science-fiction, poetry to prose, events for adults, children and teens, it is all here.”

He added: “I hope people will take time to have a look at what is going on and join us for some exciting events.”

This year’s festival – the county council’s seventh – runs for two weeks in May: from Friday, May 11- Sunday, May 20. There are 65 events taking place in libraries, heritage centres, community halls, schools and museums across the county.

Events in the Matlock area:

* Calling all crime lovers! Steven Dunne will be talking about his third novel Deity at Darley Dale Methodist Church Hall on Friday, May 11, at 2pm. Join the Derby-based writer at a special preview event for the festival, where Steven reveals all about his latest serial killer thriller.

* Sara Sheridan will be running a writing workshop and giving an author talk, featuring her extensive use of archive material in producing her best-selling historical novels. This is a great chance to hear more about how historical records and documents can come alive, with an introduction to local archive material from staff from Derbyshire Record Office. This exciting day for writers, historians and readers takes place on Saturday, May 19, at the Medway Centre in Bakewell.

* Mills and Chimneys: songs of Derbyshire supported by Derbyshire Poet Laureate Matt Black. We’re delighted to bring back Mills and Chimneys who will be playing a range of new folk songs inspired by the county’s traditions and landscape. For a lively evening of music and poetry join them at the Derbyshire Eco Centre, near Wirksworth, on Saturday, May 19, at 7pm.

* You can also join Matt Black for an Evening of Nonsense at Ashbourne Leisure Centre on Wednesday, May 16, at 7pm, and hear the winning entries of the Festival Nonsense writing competition.

* We’re delighted to be hosting the East Midlands Book Award Ceremony which celebrates the best of writing in the region at Haddon Hall on Thursday, May, 24 at 7.30pm. Free but places are limited so need to be booked in advance.