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EST 2017

13th - 15th

October 2023

Books lined up next to each other


Delve into the worlds of mystery, romance, science fiction, and more to immerse yourself in the magic of storytelling as we bring together renowned authors and avid readers for a three-day celebration of the written word and art of writing
Whether you are a bookworm, aspiring writer, or film enthusiast, listen to and meet a diverse array of accomplished authors, each offering unique perspectives and insights into the world of literature available in literary discussions and book signings.

Find out more about the Poetry Competition & Workshop below!
Forgotten Heroes of Comedy - Celebrating the Comedy Underdog.

Robert Ross is a leading authority on the history of British comedy, has written 20 books and has a regular column in Yours Retro on the aforementioned title.


The Golden Age of Television was blessed with some of the best-loved of comedians, but why are Eric & Ernie and Tommy Cooper and Frankie Howard so fondly remembered, while Arthur Haynes and Charlie Drake and Harry Worth languish in the archives?

In this long, overdue and affectionate salute, Robert pays tribute to some of the finest, funniest and most fascinating names in comedy – from both sides of the Atlantic.

Robert Ross rests his head on a pile of new books
Voices from the Peak.jpg
Voices from the Peak
The Repton Festival is delighted to welcome Mark Gwynne Jones at 4.00 pm on Sunday 15th October. Mark will bring the Peak to South Derbyshire by sharing his Voices from the Peak experience with the Repton Festival audience. Festival Director John Cavey stated “Bringing to Repton the Derbyshire Peak District, that Mark brings to life so vividly through the spoken word and his stunning visual content is a real privilege. An event that I am confident our festival goers will hugely appreciate.” 
Jo Bell stands smiling

Poet & Mentor

Jo Bell

Jo Bell is a celebrated poet and poetry mentor with a multitude of accolades to her name, including the prestigious Charles Causley Award and Manchester Poetry Prize. In recognition of her substantial contributions to the realm of poetry, she was conferred with an honorary doctorate in 2015, the same year she won the Saboteur Award.

Jo's dedication to nurturing talent is evident in her diverse educational pursuits. She facilitates both in-person and online poetry workshops, constructs supportive online communities, shares insightful hints and tips via her YouTube channel and has penned best-selling books dedicated to the craft of poetry. She is perhaps most recognised amongst UK audiences from a series of popular adverts.

Tristram Fane Saunders stands smiling with his arms crossed


Tristram Fane Saunders

Tristram Fane Saunders, author of five poetry pamphlets and the full collection Before We Go Any Further, is a highly regarded figure in the world of poetry. He contributes his expertise to The Telegraph through their 'Poem of the Week' column and has offered incisive reviews of contemporary poetry for renowned platforms such as The TLS, The Herald, and Radio 4's Front Row.


His work has been featured in prestigious publications including The White Review, The Moth, The London Magazine, The Dark Horse, and Poetry Ireland Review. Tristram has also graced the stage at esteemed events like the Latitude Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe. In addition, he is the lauded editor of Edna St Vincent Millay: Poems & Satires.



Graham Cole

Graham Cole is a British actor best known for his role as PC Tony Stamp in the long-running British police procedural television series The Bill.


Portraying the iconic character for decades made Cole's PC Stamp a familiar and beloved face on British television screens, and he became synonymous with the show's depiction of police work in a gritty urban setting.



Jackie Kabler

TV presenter and award-winning crime writer Jackie Kabler has sold nearly a million copies of her bestselling psychological thrillers in English and they have been translated into eight other languages. They include Am I Guilty?, The Perfect Couple, The Happy Family, The Murder List and The Vanishing of Class 3B.


In the past two years Jackie has had Amazon number one hits in both the UK and Canada. The Perfect Couple was also one of the top twenty-five most sold e-books in the UK in both 2020 and 2022, an Audible number one bestseller and a USA Today bestseller. In February 2023 Jackie won a Nielsen Silver Bestseller Award for the book, for sales exceeding a quarter of a million copies in the UK alone.


A former TV news reporter, Jackie is also author of the Cora Baxter Mysteries, a series of three cosy crime murder mysteries set in a television newsroom, recently re-released by Headline Accent.


In addition to sharing her own story, Jackie will participate in a session hosted by festival favourite Joanna Hands, with criminal lawyer turned author Caroline England, that explores the development of the psychological thriller.



Caroline England

Born in Sheffield, Caroline England studied Law at the University of Manchester and stayed over the border. Caroline was a divorce and professional indemnity lawyer. She turned to writing when she deserted the law to bring up her three lovely daughters. Caroline has had short stories and poems published in a variety of literary publications and anthologies.

Caroline writes domestic psychological thrillers. Her debut novel, Beneath the Skin, known also as The Wife's Secret in eBook, was published by Avon HarperCollins in October 2017. Her second novel, My Husband's Lies, followed in May 2018 and became a Kindle top ten bestseller. Betray Her, was published by Piatkus of Little, Brown Book Group, in July 2020. Truth Games followed in June 2021 and The Sinner in 2022. The Stranger Beside Me came out on 3rd August 2023.

Caroline also writes a gothic-tinged psychological thrillers under the pen name C.E Rose. The first, The House of Hidden Secrets, was published by Hera Books in April 2021, followed by The House on the Water's Edge in August 2021. The Shadows of Rutherford House was published in November 2022 followed by The Attic at Wilton Place in March 2023.

In a session where she will bring you up to date with her progress as an author and the background to her recently published The Attic at Wilton Place; she will also share a stage with Joanna Hands and Jackie Kabler that explores the development of the psychological thriller.


Caroline has two dark, twisty short story collections available on Amazon, both in eBook and paperback, Watching Horsepats Feed the Roses and Hanged by the Neck.



Tina Baker

Tina Baker, the daughter of a Coalville window cleaner and fairground traveller, worked as a journalist and broadcaster for thirty years and is probably best known as a television critic for the BBC and GMTV. After so many hours watching soaps gave her a widescreen bum, she got off it and won Celebrity Fit Club. She now avoids writing induced DVT by working as a Fitness Instructor.

Call Me Mummy was Tina's first novel, inspired by her own unsuccessful attempts to become a mother. Despite the grief of that, she's not stolen a child - so far. But she does rescue cats, whether they want to be rescued or not.

Tina will also share her experiences with author Kate Fernandez in a session that explores the challenges of sharing in print, the mountains you have personally climbed.



Kate Fernandez

Kate Fernandez is a relative novice in the business of writing but she believed that sharing her story in Finding My Voice would help her and others to overcome some of life’s challenges.

Finding My Voice tells the true and often harrowing account of a woman who has refused to be defeated by life’s unexpected challenges.

Kate’s raw and relentless journey shares the tongue cancer battle that left her with no voice, as well as the bereavements that could have left her broken.


This poignant and powerful story will leave you in awe of Kate’s resilience in always believing that there are good things in your world, no matter what difficulties you face.

Kate has not only found her own voice but is now offering hope to other people experiencing the toughest of times on their path of grief, loss, and healing.

Mum to two beautiful daughters and a gorgeous granddaughter, she has flourished in adversity to become an Infinite Energy Healer, Reiki Master, Aromatherapist and Author.

In her words “My mission is to be a beacon of light to shine the way for others and inspire them to never quit.”

Kate will tell her story and compare notes with Jackie Kabler in a session hosted by Joanna Hands.

“You didn’t just ‘find your voice’, you learned to ‘roar!’  – Andrea Cox

Speaking Event

Spoken Word Performance Workshop

Sagas, skalds, eddas. Viking literature was all about the voice and getting it heard.


This is becoming true again in the UK for poets and storytellers, with increasingly popular live events across the UK, hundreds of open mics, performance events and (for poetry, at least) slams taking place every week.


With so many events and new performers joining all the time, it is inevitable that many – even among the more experienced – have no real knowledge of how to prepare and present themselves, or how to project. When it comes to PA equipment and microphones there is a similar, possibly even bigger, problem.


In a two-hour workshop we probably aren’t able to solve everyone’s issues, but hope to go a long way in helping.


In this workshop we intend to touch on several issues, including:

  • Personal preparation

  • Vocal projection

  • Personal presentation

  • Types of microphone

  • PA familiarisation and setup

  • Microphone use


The workshop will be led by qualified and experienced tutors Tony Waldron, Gary Carr and Kirsty Carr.


Gary Carr is a poet with more than sixty poems published in literary magazines and anthologies. He has twenty years’ of performance experience, including Edinburgh Fringe, Buxton Fringe and Walsall Festival. He ran Spoken Worlds open mic night for ten years and has been a judge for both written poetry competitions and Midlands poetry slams.


Kirsty Carr has worked as a freelance sound and lighting technician in theatre and commercial arenas, ranging from Singing in the Rain at the Sonning Eye to Nissan launch presentations in 3D.


Tony Waldron is a retired University Lecturer with a wealth of experience in presentation skills.



James Ellson

James Ellson is a writer, smallholder, and speaker. He lives in the Peak District with his wife, and manages their smallholding, which includes bees and an orchard when he is not writing.

His debut novel The Trail was published in 2020, and the sequel Cold Dawn came out in August. Cold Summer, 3rd in the DCI Castle series, will be published in November.

Typically, he writes for a couple of hours before breakfast, works on the smallholding during the day, and writes again for a couple of hours before dinner. While hoeing his beans and tending his apple trees, he mulls his characters and his plots!

He has become an established speaker in respect of his many interests and you and PC Tony Stamp (actor Graham Cole The Bill) who is hosting James can expect to hear about rock climbing, bee keeping, orchards, chickens, smallholdings, cycling, whip and tongue grafting, …. and driving ‘blues and twos’ to answer 999 calls! It’s going to be fascinating and entertaining.



Owen O'Neill

The Whole Nine Yarns is a hybrid of poetry and storytelling.


O’Neill is an award winning writer and performer. Two Fringe firsts at the Edinburgh Festival. Best actor off Broadway for his portrayal of Nathan Cassidy in his one man play Absolution. The New York critics award for best play.


He has published three volumes of poetry written plays for the stage and screen. He adapted The Shawshank Redemption for the stage and it is currently on a UK tour of Britain and North America.


"O’Neill’s poems and stories are both poignant and hilarious. The highlight of the festival." Culture Northern Ireland.


"O’Neill’s poems are like an emotional ambush." Toronto Sun


"I was simultaneously completely helpless with laughter and moved to tears." The Scotsman.

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