Sci-fi fun stars in top book festival line-up

Launching the 2013 Off the Shelf Festival were Sarah Mann, Julia Tate and Richard Eyre
Launching the 2013 Off the Shelf Festival were Sarah Mann, Julia Tate and Richard Eyre
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Science fiction fans in Sheffield are in for a treat at the city’s upcoming literary festival Off The Shelf.

For one of the biggest attractions in the event - which brought in 25,000 people last year - is a special evening dedicated to 50 years of Doctor Who.

Expert, and novelist, Daniel Blythe will reveal hidden facts about the doctor in the Showroom Cinema on October 29.

It is just part of a star lineup revealed after the brochure for the festival, which runs from October 12 to November 2, was published.

Youngsters across the city will also be able to create a new Dr Who adventure by writing a script, creating a comic strip or recording a performance.

Sarah Mann, head of e-Learning Services at festival platinum sponsor Civica, said: “We are always looking for creative ways to engage young people and Off the Shelf provides us with just that, as well as offering some great events and the opportunity to hear first-hand from some inspirational writers and thinkers.“

Now in its 23rd year, Off the Shelf also has its first female guest curator in the shape of writer Jackie Kay.

One of her poems - which was commissioned for the Kick It IOut anti-racism campaign, is now on display permenantly at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane ground.

Stars lined up for the festival so far include crime writer Lynda La Plante, who created television dramas Prime Suspect and Above Suspicion.
She will discuss her body of work at the Showroom Cinema on Monday September 9 at 7pm.

Celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall will share recipes, all based around fruit, ahead of a new television series on the subject, on October 11 at the Upper Chapel on Norfolk Street

War correspondant Kate Adie is speaking at Sheffield Hallam University’s Pennine Theatre on Saturday October 12.

Locally themed events include an illustrated talk on the history of Sheffield Canal , an evening with musical icon Dave Berry and a talk about 100 years of stainless steel in Sheffield with Star journalist Nancy Fielder.

Abbeydale Writers will launch their latest anthology with guest author Jonathan Lee, from Barnsley, and Malcolm Nunn will give a talk on the Great Sheffield Flood 150 years ago.

And Sheffield’s famous Club Fiesta nightclub will be remembered at Ecclesfield Library .

In total there are over 200 events in more than 80 venues being held as part of Off The Shelf.

Coun Isobel Bowler, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure, said in the programme: “If you love words and are looking for a diverse and exciting programme of events, including some of the best known names in literature and media, look no further. “.

Visit for full details of the festival or call 0114 2565567 to book tickets for events.