Wirksworth gears up for annual book festival

Category: General

In its third year, Wirksworth Book Festival is a four-day celebration of all things literary featuring talent from authors, poets and playwrights both local and from further afield.

Wirksworth Book Festival 2018 image of lady carrying books sketch

Preparations are in their final phase for the 2018 Wirksworth Book Festival – Wirksworth Festival’s sister event – which this year takes places 5 – 8 April at venues across the town.

Now in its third year, the programme features a great line up with a selection of free and ticketed events for literary lovers of all ages. Read on for details. You can also find out more details via Facebook.

Please note: For FREE events no booking is required but do arrive at the venue in plenty of time to get a place. For ticketed events, tickets can be bought at the Book Festival Box Office at Wirksworth Framing Company.




Thursday 5 April

Launch of the Book Festival at Waltham House, 7pm – 8.30pm – FREE

An evening of live music and readings from Janet Tennant, Mistress and Muse: Ursula – the second Mrs Vaughan Williams 


Friday 6 April

A Literary Tour of Renishaw Hall (near Chesterfield, 2.30pm – 4pm – Tickets £13.50, to book contact Val Stacey

Explore the home of the early 20th century literary figures Edit, Osbert and Sacheverell Sitwell.


The Real Wordsmiths with Sheila Harding – Town Hall Club Room, 6.15pm – FREE

A short introductory talk with readings exploring what we know about William Wordsworth and his associates


The Wordsmiths of Gorsemere Town Hall, 7.30pm – Tickets from Traid Links and Wirksworth Framing Company

Originally a BBC Radio 4 play, this is a hilarious spoof on the drug- and sex-crazed lives and work of the Lakeland poets


Saturday 7 April

Matilda, The Northern Light Cinema,  Doors open 9.30am, film starts 10am, Tickets £3 per child (accompanying adults free) from Wirksworth Framing Company

The film of the much-loved Roald Dahl story about a little girl who happens to be a genius.


BOOK LAUNCH: Ramblings from a Derbyshire Folk Pub at Top Ken’s, 1.30pm – 3pm – FREE
Middleton-by-Wirksworth resident and poet Rob Stamper launches his collection of 36 original poems, monologues and general ramblings. Event includes music and entertainment.


TALK & BOOK SIGNING: Clare Harvey talks about Dame Laura Knight, Wellspring Church, 2pm – FREE

Find out how the Derbyshire-born war artist Laura Knight’s paintings and memoirs, and real wartime locations, provided inspiration for Clare’s new wartime drama The Night Raid. With Q&A and chance to buy a signed copy of Clare’s book.


YOUNG WRITERS: Create your own fictional world with award-winning author Emma Pass, Wirksworth Fish Bar, 2.30-3.45pm – FREE (chip butties £2)

An event for young writers with Emma Pass who will teach the secret to creating your own future worlds.


Derbyshire Noir: The Dark Heart of the Peaks, Wirksworth Town Hall, 4pm – Tickets from Wirksworth Framing Company

Local authors Sarah Ward and Roz Watkins discuss their writing of crime fiction.

Sarah Ward is a multi-award winning author of three D.C. Childs novels; Roz Watkins’ very recently-published first novel is set in Wirksworth and already optioned for TV. Tickets £3 an includes nibbles and bubbles.


An evening with Geoff Cope, England and Yorkshire CCC cricketer, Wirksworth Cricket Club, 7pm (Tickets on the door £5 – doors open 6.30pm)

Geoff Cope talks about his biography Sunshine and Shadow, recounting his time playing for Yorkshire and England, how he helped save his county club from bankruptcy, and his fundraising in recent years for Guide Dogs for Blind.


Elvis McGonagall – Viva Loch Lomond, Town Hall, 7.30 pm (Tickets from Traidlinks or Wirksworth Framing Company)

Poet and singer Elvis McGonagall with supporting acts Rob Stamper – Bard of Middleton and Molly May – Matlock-based singer-song writer. Tickets £13 in advance (£15 on the door), £12 concession, £5 under 18s


Sunday 8 April

Wirksworth Big Book Day, Memorial Hall, 10am – 4pm – FREE

For one day, Wirksworth becomes the Hay-on-Wye of Derbyshire. Indoor books fair plus book stalls around town.


Book Walk, meet in the marketplace 10.30am – FREE

Local author and reader Andy Miller leads a two-hour gentle walk around the lovely countryside on the edges of Wirksworth. Come ready to chat to fellow walkers about a book you have loved or read recently.


The Art of Book Folding, 2 – 3.30pm, 4 Blind Lane – FREE but limited to 10 people, min age 12 years old

The chance to try out the art of folding old books into creative and sculptural shapes with local artist Pat Shenstone.


TALK & READINGS – The Pictures are Better: Tony Jones and St John Theatre Company, Town Hall, 4pm, FREE but donations welcomed

Radio writer Tony Jones won the Writers Guild Award for Best Radio Drama with his play Quill and For the Time Being was broadcast in August 2017. With readings from St John’s Theatre Company, he reflects on the wayward process of writing these plays and considers how the final stories unexpectedly emerged.

The Big Book Quiz, 7pm, Pub TBC, teams of 4 at £1 each. Book via Val Stacey


Also taking place…

Workshops with Zantium Studios, Godfrey Hole

Fri 6 April – Craft Bookbinding with Holly Serjeant

Sat 7 April – Creative Paper Cutting with Christine Green

Wed 11 April – Linocut Printing with Zoe Badger

Thurs 12 April – Letterpress Printing with Chris and Hannah Barker


£95 per day including lunch and materials. To book call 01629 824377 or visit www.zantium.co.uk