Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000


Derby Book Festival was established in 2014 and has now held 3 Festivals in June 2015/16/17; part of its mission is to engage with the broadest possible range of groups and communities within the City. For the last 2 years, as part of its commitment to young people & diversity, it has supported projects to encourage writing and engagement with literature among both disadvantaged students and those working in English as a second language (ESOL). The 2011 census shows that a quarter of the City’s population is classified as BME, with 13.9% born outside the UK. For the Festival, these projects are a powerful way of engaging with this population.
The Festival currently works in partnership with Derby College & Bemrose School both of which have significant ESOL programmes. Bemrose School draws 51% of its pupils from new communities and Derby College runs a large English Language study programme for 16 to 18 year olds called the Lexis Programme. In both cases most students have been in the UK for less than 2 years, with little prior knowledge of English. There is a further project with the Derby College Adult ESOL students.
Previous projects have included a book of stories produced by Bemrose students working with Roma writer Richard O’Neill & two books developed by Lexis students focussing on their journey to English & on stories from home. All books have been well received. However, the cost of design, layout & printing was paid for from a literacy fund which sadly no longer exists.
The Book Festival now needs alternative funding to continue this work. The funding will be used to produce 3 books, one with Bemrose, one with the Lexis students and one with the Adult ESOL learners. In 2018 we would like to print enough books to circulate to other schools in Derby. In 2017, only 100 copies of each book were printed and stocks are already low. Feedback has been excellent: one local school wrote “The Bemrose Book is a beautiful book and really impressive”, and that they would like more copies to use with their ESOL students.
In 2018 the Festival wants to work with:
25 ESOL and disadvantaged 11-13 year old students from Bemrose school, to create a book of poetry. The poems written by the students will be illustrated & published in a small book. Last year students were tested on their language skills both before & after the project and were shown to have made good progress, from improved punctuation and vocabulary to a greater desire to tell a good story and engage the reader. As one student said after the project, "It has been wonderful creating a book and being a published writer. At 12 years of age that is a massive achievement for me and my friends."
40 Lexis students from Derby College, to publish a book on their experiences of Derby, with illustrations by students from the College’s Art Foundation Course. A series of visits will explore different aspects of the City. Last year the students gave very positive feedback, explaining that the project gave them an opportunity to write about themselves outside the narrow confines of the curriculum, and that working with the art students helped them to develop language and communication skills.
50 Adult ESOL students from Derby College in conversation, to develop a book of transcriptions based on the model of the Radio 4 Listening project. This is a new project for the Festival. Students will be from all 5 levels of learning with additional creation of an audio-book supported by the Media students at Derby College.
The books will be launched at 2 events to be held during the 2018 Festival. One will be a community event, held in the area of the City where the majority of the students involved in the project live. The second will be an open event to be held with a named author at a major venue in the City, in an effort to develop wider awareness of the Shared Writing Programme with the more mainstream Festival audiences.

Project Video

Derby Book Festival

Moment of Pride

I wish to nominate Derby Book Festival, a charitable trust whose outreach work uses highly effective partnerships & a passionate group of volunteers to provide opportunities for the City’s ESOL students, who do not normally engage with this type of event, to enhance their English language skills.

Location: Derby