Read all about it: Off the Shelf Festival of Words returns for 31st edition
Nationally renowned Festival of Words, Off the Shelf returns to South Yorkshire to bring together the best of local, regional, and international literary talent for its 2022 programme of events.
Brought to you by the University of Sheffield, this year’s festival will play host to over 80 live and online events including household names such as Hugh Bonneville, Melvyn Bragg, Baroness Floella Benjamin, Susie Dent and the Reverend Richard Coles, journalist Marina Hyde, ground breaking musician Cosey Fanni Tutti, plus a roll-call of Sheffield celebrities including broadcaster Dan Walker and musician Martyn Ware, all alongside the next generation of literary talent such as Maddie Mortimer, winner of this year’s Desmond Elliott Prize.
As part of the 31st edition festival partner and supporter Sheffield Hallam University will present a range of online and live in venue events, curated by the Department of Humanities. These include Creative Writing masterclasses, poetry readings and a series of events aimed at families, featuring award winning writers Maisie Chan and Nicola Chester and a performance of Chris Bush’s adaptation of Pericles.
William Sieghart, publisher, entrepreneur and founder of National Poetry Day will be appearing as part of this year’s event line-up, as will dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson who celebrates his 70th birthday and 50 years in activism this year. Sheffield author Desiree Reynolds continues the festival’s Black Women Write Now strand with an event with Kit de Waal.
Recognising all forms of reading the festival welcomes Gabi Putnoki who says: “I’m very excited to bring Graphic Novel Reading Room to Off the Shelf, a major festival that is welcoming comics in their literary line-up. We hope to introduce many more people to the joys of graphic novels where participants will be able to read whole books in one sitting and even have a little doodle.”
Off the Shelf nurtures and celebrates literary talent and is delighted to include Our Pens in the North, an event marking the first anniversary of leading publishers Hachette’s national offices in Sheffield, providing the opportunity to meet publishers, booksellers, authors, reviewers and bloggers.
Akeem Balogun became involved with the festival 10 years ago as a volunteer, not long after he started writing. He has seen the festival grow alongside his career. This year he is curating an event for Off the Shelf 2022 billed as a multi layered immersive literary experience.
Akeem said: “Off the Shelf asking me to be a guest curator this year feels like a natural progression, as it comes after me being published, winning an award and producing stories for various projects.
“My event, Words, Vision & Sound, aims to be one of the most creative events in Off the Shelf’s history. It will be the festival’s first event at Event Central, located in Fargate, and in the spirit of the festival, it will bring together established and talented artists who will allow us to experience literature in a wholly original manner.”
Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City & Culture, Partnerships and Regional Engagement at the University of Sheffield added: “We like to surpass expectations with our increasingly diverse programme of events which aim to inform, please and stimulate our audiences.
“Our national and international reputation allows us to bring well-known names to our region, and our flexibility provides the necessary platforms for up-and-coming literary talent to thrive. Niche and popular is our goal – a festival full of character and depth – and after 31 years it’s an ambition I believe we deliver.”
As part of this year’s festival, the University of Sheffield will be presenting a series of films, podcasts and talks about research from academics. Highlights include: The Politics of Street Trees with a panel discussing environmental benefits, history and context of Sheffield’s street trees and the recent crisis; and Understanding Palliative Care, an animation dispelling some of the myths about palliative care.
The full programme can be viewed on the website and tickets can be booked online. Printed programmes are available at venues throughout South Yorkshire. Tickets can also be obtained in person or by telephone (0114 249 6000) from Sheffield Theatres Box Office or by visiting: www.offtheshelf.org.uk