Off the Shelf Festival of Words

Friday, 15th October 2021 - Sunday, 31st October 2021

Various local venues and online

Look out for events with a heritage dimension, including:

Sat 16 Oct, 3pm A Useful History of Britain – Professor Michael Braddick
Sun 17 Oct, 7.30 pm I Belong Here – Anita Sethi
Tues 19 Oct, 6pm The Pioneering Life of Mary Wortley Montagu – Jo Willett
Thurs 21 Oct, 12.30-1.30pm Hidden Voices in Sheffield Archives – Désirée Reynolds & Cheryl Bailey
Fri 22 Oct, 6pm Building the Crucible – Edward George
Sat 23 Oct,11am Loxley: Wanderings in a Curious Valley – Peter Machan
Sun 24 Oct, 11am More Ancient Suburbs of Sheffield – David Templeman
Sun 24 Oct, 6pm People’s Republic of South Yorkshire – Helen Jackson
Mon 25 Oct, 7pm Sex: Lessons From History – Dr Fern Riddell
Tues 26 Oct, 6pm The Northern Line – Judy Simons
Weds 27 Oct, 7.30pm Where Are The Women? – Sara Sheridan, Professor Vanessa Toulmin & Valerie Bayliss
Sat 30 Oct, 3pm The David Blunkett Archive

Welcome to the festival programme that comes with a heartfelt thanks to all of our partners and friends who have supported us over the past year. It has been a difficult time, but books, reading, ideas and conversations are at the core of what we do and our 30th edition is a time for us to celebrate our past, present and future with uplifting and thought-provoking events.

Some of the festival activity will be online and we are delighted to bring you live events in real venues with the chance to hear some wonderful speakers in person.

Our 30th edition features a brilliant, varied mix of events with everything from prizewinning fiction to pertinent politics, Queer culture and iconic 80s music, comedy, history and magnificent memoirs.

We celebrate the 70th anniversary of The Peak District with a new commission by the Poet Laureate Simon Armitage and look from the Peak to South Yorkshire with events in Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley working with our partners in the region. Sheffield writer Désirée Reynolds curates the second year of Black Women Write Now, a strand celebrating black women’s voices, this time applauding pioneering women writers. Look out for the buzzz of Biography of a Fly written by Dutch writer Jaap Robben – a quirky tale of a fly split over 30 poster sites in the city centre, that’s been created working in collaboration with the Dutch Literature Foundation. Finally, we offer family friendly fun events during October half-term!