VIDEO: Sheffield Off The Shelf 2014 preview

0
Have your say

Have we got news for you! Comedian broadcaster Paul Merton, punk icon John Lydon and business guru Digby Jones are set to make Sheffield’s 23rd Off The Shelf book festival the biggest and best yet.

That’s the view of the girls who know best – arts officers Maria de Souza, Lesley Webster and Su Walker of Sheffield City Council’s Major Events Team.

Off The Shelf guest John Lydon

Off The Shelf guest John Lydon

It’s their job to organise the three week festival – from October 11 to November 1, with additional events already under way. This year it boasts an incredible 240 events.

And it means Off The Shelf, backed by The Star as its gold sponsor, is now acknowledged as one of the UK’s top so-called festival of words, attracting some of the best known names in literature and media.

VIDEO: Press the play buton to watch our exclusive chat with Maria de Souza, talking about this year’s highlights.

YOUTUBE: Watch video chats with organisers and performers at the official Off The Shelf 2014 media launch - CLICK HERE.

Off The Shelf Festival organising team Lesley Webster, Maria de Souza and Su Walker

Off The Shelf Festival organising team Lesley Webster, Maria de Souza and Su Walker

FREE GUIDE DOWNLOAD: Download the official Off The Shelf 2014 guide booklet, as a pdf file - CLICK HERE.

For a list of all events and more visit the festival’s official web site, at www.offtheshelf.org.uk or call the events office for a guide book on 0114 273 440.

If you are unable to attend events, book sellers Rhyme and Reason, who will have stalls at the live events, can organise signed copies of books - call 0114 266 1950 or email enquiries@rhyme-reason.co.uk.

Big names attending this year also include chef Yotam Ottolenghi (The Octagon, Mon, Oct 6, 7.30pm), children’s author Allan Ahlberg (Crucible Studio, Tue Oct 7, 7.45pm), broadcaster Kirsty Wark (Sheffield University Student’s Union Building, Wed, Nov 12, 7.30pm) and politician Alan Johnson (Pennine Lecture Theatre, Sheffield Hallam University,Sat, Oct 25, 7pm).

Off The Shelf guest Paul Merton

Off The Shelf guest Paul Merton

There’s also children’s author and actress Michelle Magorian (Sheffield Millennium Gallery, Fri, Oct 31, 2pm), Booker Prize-winning author Howard Jacobson (Showroom Workstaion, Wed, Oct 22, 7pm), poet Patience Agbabi (Sheffield University SU Building Studio, Sun, Oct 12, 7.30pm), Masterchef winner Tim Anderson (Japanese themed dinner at The Sheffield College, Tues, Oct 21, 6pm), poet and author Simon Armitage (Sheffield Students’ Union Auditorium, Thu, Oct 23, 7.30pm), historian John Julius Norwich (Sheffield Students’ Union Auditorium, Mon, Oct 13, 7.30pm) and many more.

Have I Got News For You comedy star Paul Merton is The Star backed guest speaker talking about new book Only When I Laugh, in conversation at The Crucible theatre, on Monday, October 20.

The event is already sold out – but you can win tickets by entering our competition on this page.

Controversial, outspoken and heartfelt, John Lydon – who, apparently, isn’t keen on anyone calling him by his old punk name, Johnny Rotten – will talk about his memoir, Anger Is An Energy, at The Octagon, University of Sheffield Students’ Union, Wednesday, Oct 15, 7.30pm.

Off The Shelf guest John Lydon

Off The Shelf guest John Lydon

Off The Shelf was also honoured to be the first date, with a preview event last month, on David Mitchell’s tour to launch his new book The Bone Clocks.

Maria, at a preview media launch at Sheffield’s Crucible, said: “This year we’ve organised 240 events. Can you believe that? It’s a huge programme with things happening every single day, all over the city. And it is very varied, with day time, family and evening events, writing workshops, competitions, exhibitions and walks. It’s absolutely jam-packed, our biggest ever festival, an absolutely brilliant line-up.

“We’ve got great household names coming to Sheffield – but we’ve also got so many wonderful local writers and groups taking part, community events and writing workshops, local history and a wealth of stuff happening all through October.

“There are brochures all over the city, at the Winter Garden, Sheffield Theatres and The Showroom, in libraries. You can also go on our website at www.offtheshelf.org.uk.

“This year we are also doing some live tweets from some events, so it’s a great opportunity for young people to get involved as well because there really is something for everybody.

“I’m into my music, so John Lydon wil be interesting. But we’ve also got Julian Cope (Sheffield Students’ Union Auditorium, Tues, Oct 28, 7.30pm) and Viv Albertine (Sheffield Students’ Union Auditorium, Wed, Oct 22, 7.30pm) from my punk days in the ’80s. I was into the music. So it will be interesting to hear both of them.

Lord Digby Jones

Lord Digby Jones

“But also I’m interested in a woman called Helen MacDonald, the first female falconer and she’s written a book called H Is For Hawk, which I think sounds amazing, talking how she trained to be a falconer (Showroom Cinema, Sat, Oct 18, 1pm). We are also showing Kes, which is one of my favourite films. What a great Saturday afternoon that will be, hearing her talk and then watching the film. We’ve lots of lovely events like that.

“Every year we start with a blank canvas and working closely with publishers and the community we have the joyful task of pulling together a fresh, innovative, bold programme, that is as exciting for us, as devotees of the written word, as it is – we hope – for everyone who participates and visits.”

The festival also highlights the work of local authors including comedian and poet Stan Skinny, who with Tracy Bloom will present An Evening of Sex and Love (Sheffield Students’ Union Studio, Sun, Nov 2, 7.30pm).

Sheffield songwriting poet Sally Goldsmith teams up with Radio Sheffield broadcaster and playwright Rony Robinson as part of the festival’s dawn-to-dusk 100th anniversary of the birth of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. They will have a Yorkshire take on the centenary in song, poetry , script and story with Lunch At The Top (Sheffield railway station, Sheffield Tap. Platform 1, Sat, Nov 1, 12.15pm). Both Stan and Sally performed at the media launch.

Stan said: “Off the Shelf is a fantastic literary feast, at which I always ask for seconds. I’m overjoyed to be taking part this year, which looks set to be its best yet.”

Sally added: “Off The Shelf is always on the cultural map of Sheffielders and is definitely always on mine. I’m delighted to be taking part again – especially as it includes a dawn to dusk whole day of events celebrating the 100th birthday of Wales’ most acclaimed writer Dylan Thomas.”

Coun Isobel Bowler, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure, hosted the preview launch event with Platinum sponsor Civica.

She said: “Once again Off the Shelf brings together a plethora of talent - this year Sheffield showcases world famous authors, poets, broadcasters and comedians as well as celebrating local talent and producing an exciting series of community and school events.

Laura Bates, Off the Shelf’s guest curator, said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be curating a themed series of events on Celebrating Modern Feminism for this year’s Off the Shelf festival. “This is a vibrant, inspiring festival and so it is a perfect fit for the exciting recent resurgence in feminist writing and activism. I’m so pleased to have secured such a stellar line-up, with highlights including Lucy Anne Holmes, founder of No More Page 3, and Nimco Ali, a tireless and revolutionary campaigner against Female Genital Mutilation. It’s going to be a very exciting festival indeed!”

FREE GUIDE DOWNLOAD: Download the official Off The Shelf 2014 guide booklet, as a pdf file - CLICK HERE.

For a list of all events and more visit the festival’s official web site, at www.offtheshelf.org.uk or call the events office for a guide book on 0114 273 440.

If you are unable to attend events, book sellers Rhyme and Reason, who will have stalls at the live events, can organise signed copies of books - call 0114 266 1950 or email enquiries@rhyme-reason.co.uk.

WIN SOLD OUT PAUL MERTON TICKETS

For a chance to win a pair of tickets to the sold out Star backed Paul Merton talk at Off The Shelf enter our free draw by post, email or Twitter.

Post your details to Paul Merton OTS Competition, StarCompPM, Graham Walker, The Star, York Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1 1PU.

Email your name and details, with StarCompPM in the subject line, to staronline@sheffieldnewspapers.co.uk.

Or follow Graham on Twitter @GW1962 and tweet him with #StarCompPM

Deadline is Friday, September 19, 2014, noon. Usual SNL rules and data terms, full details, terms and conditions - CLICK HERE.

Off The Shelf guest performer Stan Skinny

Off The Shelf guest performer Stan Skinny

Off The Shelf guest speaker Allan Ahlberg wil talk about his new children's book, The Bucket

Off The Shelf guest speaker Allan Ahlberg wil talk about his new children's book, The Bucket

Stan Skinny performs one of his poems at the media preview launch for this year's Off The Shelf Festival at the Crucible Theatre Sheffield

Stan Skinny performs one of his poems at the media preview launch for this year's Off The Shelf Festival at the Crucible Theatre Sheffield

Launch event for Off The Shelf Festival at the Crucible Theatre Sheffield'Sally Goldsmith sings one of her compositions

Launch event for Off The Shelf Festival at the Crucible Theatre Sheffield'Sally Goldsmith sings one of her compositions