Derby Book Festival appoints new Festival Director

Derby Book Festival has announced today (29 August) the appointment of Vicky Dawson as their new Festival Director.  She will join the team from 1 September on a part-time basis, continuing in her current role at Buxton International Festival where she is Book Festival Director.   

Vicky has spent three decades in the book trade and was latterly a partner in two independent bookshops in Scotland.   She was a founder member of Eastbourne’s Champion Women Festival, a Trustee of the Aboyne & Deeside Festival and has organised literary events for bookshops and festivals across the UK.  

Derby Book Festival Chair, Liz Fothergill said: “The Festival has gone from strength to strength in our first five years and we are delighted with its success and the city’s response to it. 

“Vicky has the ideal mix of skills to take the Festival to the next exciting stage in its development and we feel sure she will have the leadership skills to create an even more successful Festival and creative team in the coming years.

“Her energy, enthusiasm and passion for the Festival impressed us all and we feel very confident about her appointment.”

Vicky Dawson said of her new appointment: “I am delighted to be joining the team at Derby Book Festival. To be sharing my passion for books and contributing to two diverse festivals across Derbyshire is an enormous privilege.” 

Vicky succeeds Theresa Keogh who became the first Festival Director in 2017.  Theresa had a background in theatre directing and is now pursuing a teaching career. 

The fifth Derby Book Festival has again seen an increase in ticket sales with just under 7000 sold during the Festival’s nine days in June.  Feedback from visitors to the Festival continues to rate the events highly, with 97% rating events as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’ and 18 events being sold out. 

The success of the Festival has led the organisers to bow to demand from book lovers who want more events throughout the year.  The first Autumn Edition of Derby Book Festival will be held from Friday 25th to Sunday 27th October with ten events planned.  Events will include: Sir Vince Cable MP, BBC Editorial Director and former Economics Editor, Kamal Ahmed, best-selling writing partnership Nicci French, Costa Prize nominee Raynor Winn (The Salt Path) and novelist and Psychiatrist, Joanna Cannon.

The Festival welcomes a host of international fiction and non-fiction authors to the city each June, as well as celebrating local writing talent.  The events have spanned the city with many being held at QUAD, as well as at the main arts and cultural centres:  Déda, Derby Museums, Derby Theatre, Derby Cathedral plus the University of Derby, Derby College, Derbyshire County Cricket Club, Derby County FC and Rolls-Royce.

Liz Fothergill commented: “None of our success would be possible without the support of all our funders, including Arts Council England and the University of Derby, as well as our Festival partners, sponsors and volunteers.  We are already planning the next Festival in 2020 and want to ensure we retain the same high quality of events, authors and activities as this year.” 

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