OPINION: Once upon a time

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Off the Shelf, which started life 23 years ago, is now one of the UK’s biggest literary festivals.

That description might conjure up elitist images of earnest, academic-leaning bookworms dissecting tomes that are double Dutch to the public at large.

But nothing could be further from the truth.Here’s a celebration of words that provides laughs along with the literature.

It’s a platform not just for the great and the good from the international arts world but for a plethora of local talent too.

With a programme of more than 200 events in locations across the city – and an “on the road” event in Doncaster – there really is something to appeal to everyone.

It’s inclusive too, keeping ticket prices deliberately low – or free in some cases – and positively encouraging community contributions, particularly from children and young people.

To that end – and backed by main sponsor Civica – the festival embraces technology as a means of promoting literacy – from tweeting to blogging designed to encourage reading and writing even in the most reluctant young pupils.

The Star is delighted to be a sponsor of the festival.