Off The Shelf: Sheffield book festival will ‘open minds’ - VIDEO

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POETS, a pop legend and authors have hailed a Sheffield festival as a vital celebration of the written word.

The 21st year of literary festival Off The Shelf - which includes more than 200 diverse events from Saturdays, October 13 to November 3 - was launched at The Crucible Theatre in the city centre.

The launch of the 'Off the Shelf' festival at The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. From left, Stephen May, Genevieve Carver and Tom Hingley

The launch of the 'Off the Shelf' festival at The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. From left, Stephen May, Genevieve Carver and Tom Hingley

VIDEO: Press the play button to watch the Festival’s official launch video.

Sheffield poet Genevieve Carver, author Stephen May and Tom Hingley, the former frontman of band The Inspiral Carpets, all said the event was crucial.

Abbeydale Road archaeologist Genevieve, aged 26, is part of a ‘digital poetry slam’ at the festival.

She said: “The spoken word is thriving in Sheffield.

“When events take place across the city we do get a lot of young people taking part too. The festival is great.

“A lot of these things can be stuffy, but here there are so many different areas of literature are involved.”

Poetry is a big flavour in the festival this year, with performance poet Benjamin Zephaniah also appearing.

He said the festival was needed to ‘open minds’.

Coun Isobel Bowler, Sheffield Council member for culture, said Off The Shelf had put Sheffield ‘on the map’.

She said: “You can’t attract these kinds of people that are coming to Off The Shelf if it is not a high-status festival.”

Stephen May - who read from his novel Life! Death! Prizes! at the launch - said it was an honour to take part.

Other big names at the festival include comedian Sandi Toksvig and One Foot in The Grave star Richard Wilson, discussing his life as an actor, director and author.

Tickets can be purchased through The Arena Ticket Shop, Sheffield Theatres Box Office and City Hall Box Office. To download the programme, visit www.welcometosheffield.co.uk/off-the-shelf/programme www.thestar.co.uk/video