Besides working as a literary adviser to a number of British publishing houses, Derrick was also a prolific book reviewer, amongother publications for The Times Literary Supplement as well as for The Tablet, where his brother Michael Derrick was the assistant editor 1938-1961. For a time he washimself the editor of Good Work, the journal of the Catholic Art Association.
His daily occupation as a publisher's reader and a book reviewer meant constant engagement with theemerging trends of literary culture. He drew on this in many ways, including the writing of a book of advice for aspiring novelists: Reader's Report on the Writing of Novels.Most of Derrick's writings, however, draw less on such literary reminiscences than on reflection on matters of pressing public concern within and outside the Catholic Church inthe 1960s, 70s and 80s: the environment, social relations, sexual relations, population, liturgy, ecumenism, inter-religious dialogue, education, and the current state of languageand literature. One of the more successful of these books was Escape from Scepticism, a work inspired by the great books programme at Thomas Aquinas College in California.