'A glorious tribute to literature' - line up for Sheffield festival revealed as tickets go on sale

A ‘glorious tribute to literature’ is coming to Sheffield as a popular city festival marks its 30th year.

By Ellen Beardmore
Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 12:22 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 12:22 pm
Professor Vanessa with Barnsley based performers Mark Mark Productions and Charlie Chaplin. Picture: Becky Payne
Professor Vanessa with Barnsley based performers Mark Mark Productions and Charlie Chaplin. Picture: Becky Payne

Literary festival, Off the Shelf, is set to return to Sheffield next month for its 30th edition of the popular event.

Organisers have put together a line up of over 80 live and online events, reflecting local, regional, and international literary talent.

Booker prize winner Bernardine Evaristo will talk about her new book, Manifesto; BAFTA winning veteran of stage and screen Miriam Margolyes is to share her much anticipated life story This Much is True, while national Poet Laureate Simon Armitage will perform a newly commissioned piece celebrating 70 years of the Peak District National Park.

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The line up has been revealed, with Bernardine Evaristo taking part

Off the Shelf is staged by the University of Sheffield and also supported by Arts Council England and Sheffield Hallam University, while Sheffield Council is collaborating in some of this year’s live events in Tudor Square.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City and Culture, Partnerships and Regional Engagement at the University of Sheffield, said: “Every year Off the Shelf compiles a programme that reflects current issues and themes, brings together an amazing array of authors for us to meet and sources and showcases writers from our region who are making their mark.

“The programme this year is no different – it is a glorious tribute to literature today and a fitting line up for our 30th year.”

As previously reported in the Telegraph, Off the Shelf is also celebrating its unique Text in the City initiative, which places poems in public places, with a series of videos and audio recordings launched via the website.

A crowd enjoys a performance at a previous festival.

Orchard Square retail centre is supporting the 30th anniversary by commissioning current Sheffield Poet Laureate Warda Yassin to write a new poem.

The installation of the poem will be unveiled during the festival.

The festival has also brought back the successful Black Women Write Now strand introduced last year and curated once again by writer and broadcaster Désirée Reynolds.

Ashley Barnes, Deputy Head of the Department of Humanities at Sheffield Hallam University said: “Sheffield Hallam University is proud to support the festival and to showcase some of the work of our graduates, staff and students.”

Miriam Margolyes is among the authors set to appear at this year's Off the Shelf festival

Events with a Sheffield focus include Stories from Sheffield General Cemetery by Laura Alston, an illustrated talk revealing some hidden histories of artists and artistes buried in the General Cemetery, and More Ancient Suburbs of Sheffield with David Templeman

David’s richly illustrated local history talk looks at Ecclesall, Dore, historic Handsworth and Stannington and Bradfield in the Loxley and Rivelin valleys.

The festival runs from October 15-31.

The full programme is available to view now at www.offtheshelf.org.uk/, and tickets can be booked online. Tickets can also be obtained in person or by telephone from Sheffield Theatres Box Office, call 0114 249 6000.