The Book Programme at Buxton International Festival is never afraid of tackling the serious issues of the day and this year takes on issues from environment and climate change, science and epidemics, diplomacy, conceptual art, history, current affairs and more – the world on our doorstep.

Gaia Vince is an award-winning broadcaster and journalist currently heard on BBC Radio 4s Inside Science.

Gaia’s Nomad Century takes a positive look at climate change - a book of ideas and solutions to arguably the most pressing challenge facing humanity.

Another book that plays with ideas and solutions is Isabella Tree’s bestselling Wilding: The Return to Nature of a British Farm.

Wilding has become a nature writing classic and now Isabella offers The Book of Wilding a practical handbook for re-wilding projects. She will be interviewed by Julian Glover, chair of the Government’s Designated Landscapes Review.

And it’s the calibre of their interviewers that Victoria Dawson, Book Festival director, is so proud of.

‘Our audience has come to trust the deft handling of Julian Glover and Sony award winning journalist Gerry Northam alongside other significant writers and journalists,’ she says.

‘This year, I’m delighted to introduce BBC Midlands correspondent Natej Johal. Navtej will interview one of his heroes, Guardian journalist Gary Younge.’

Great British Life: Gary Younge Photo: Buxton International FestivalGary Younge Photo: Buxton International Festival

Gary’s Dispatches from The Diaspora takes a view of his long investigative career covering social affairs in the UK and US with the nuance of the black British viewpoint.

Mark Cocker happens to be a Buxton lad, but also one of the nation’s most notable naturalists and writers.

His latest book One Midsummer’s Day: Swifts and the Story of Life on Earth may have been written from lockdown Derbyshire but is indicative of broad themes.

Henry Dimbleby is a successful restaurateur with significant interventions made as non-executive board member for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the provision of school meals and our national food strategy.

His book, written with wife and journalist Jemima Lewis, is Ravenous: How to Get Ourselves and Our Planet Back into Shape.

Ravenous is a manifesto and call to action, suggesting our global food system is killing us and has to change.

A significant thread of the festival is historical and aesthetic. Fiona, Countess of Carnarvon, is the doyenne of that famous country house Highclere Castle, the film location for Downton Abbey.

Fiona is married to the 8th Earl, but her new book explores his infamous forebear, George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, best known as the financial backer of the search for, and excavation of, the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings.

Using the considerable but never-before-plumbed archive at Highclere, Fiona explores the Curse of the Pharaohs said to surround the earl’s death and his restless spirit that caused him to flee the constriction of life in Edwardian Britain.

Known for her joyous planting and bright colours, nurserywoman and author Sarah Raven explores vegetable gardening in her latest book.

Great British Life: Sarah Raven Photo: Jonathan BuckleySarah Raven Photo: Jonathan Buckley

A Year Full of Veg details Sarah’s aspirational gardening philosophy and celebrates edible beauty. She will be joined by husband and author Adam Nicolson.

In his new book How To Be, Adam explores his ethics shaped by Greek philosophy and asks - how should we treat each other? What is justice? How can I be me?

Navigating the complimentary philosophies of husband and wife will be social historian, sister and sister-in-law Juliet Nicolson.

Juliet last appeared at Buxton in 2021 talking about her fascinating Frostquake: How the Frozen Winter of 1962 Changed Britain Forever, prompting many cold and snowy Derbyshire memories in glorious Buxtonian July!

Simon Garfield is a bestselling social historian whose books have traversed the Mass Observation archives with Our Hidden Lives and We Are At War and travelled our planet with On The Map: Why The World Looks The Way it Does, Timekeepers: How The World Became Obsessed With Time and Miniature: How Small Things Illuminate the World.

In his latest book Simon considers All the Knowledge in the World: The Extraordinary History of the Encyclopaedia.

Once the most consulted books in public libraries, the multi volume encyclopaedia is now a historical footnote in literary history. Simon asks – ‘what have we lost in the transition to the internet age?’

The Long Shot: The Inside Story of the Race to Vaccinate Britain by Dame Kate Bingham and Tim Hames is the insiders story of a special taskforce with a very urgent mission.

Dame Kate was a venture capitalist with a first-class degree in bio-chemistry but under her leadership her team created the infrastructure for the trials, manufacture and distribution of 350 million doses across six vaccines, leading to international praise.

At time of printing, two events had already sold out - Jeremy Bowen and Alastair Campbell.

‘I want Buxton to be the place to be in July for authors and audience,’ concludes Victoria.

‘I want there to be a buzz of ideas and confidence as people leave the auditorium. I want people to leave Derbyshire with a pile of books to enrich their cultural life.

‘I know times are tough, but books give lasting pleasure. That is my inspiration for another opinion forming BIF year.’

The above is just a flavour of the authors at the festival. For the full line up, visit