8 September 2021

Off the Shelf literary festival returns to Sheffield for its 30th edition with celebration of city’s poetry

Off the Shelf, one of the most well known and loved literary festivals in the UK, celebrates its 30th edition in 2021.

2021 banner for Off the Shelf Festival
  • Off the Shelf, one of the most well known and loved literary festivals in the UK, celebrates its 30th edition this year
  • From 15 to 31 October the Sheffield festival will host over 80 live and online events which will reflect local, regional, and international literary talent
  • The festival will host household names such as Booker prize winner Bernardine Evaristo, BAFTA winning veteran of stage and screen Miriam Margolyes and national Poet Laureate Simon Armitage
  • Tickets are on sale for events now​​​

Off the Shelf, one of the most well known and loved literary festivals in the UK, celebrates its 30th edition in 2021.

From 15 to 31 October an amazing lineup of over 80 live and online events will reflect local, regional, and international literary talent, with the festival also extending its reach with events throughout South Yorkshire. 

Brought to you by the University of Sheffield, this year the festival welcomes Booker prize winner Bernardine Evaristo to talk about her new book Manifesto, BAFTA winning veteran of stage and screen Miriam Margolyes with her much anticipated life story This Much is True, and national Poet Laureate Simon Armitage who will perform a newly commissioned piece celebrating 70 years of the Peak District National Park. 

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.

Other authors include comedy legend Andy Hamilton talking about his new novel Longhand, Sheffield’s first Poet Laureate Otis Mensah takes part in Poetry Live! and former Home Secretary Lord David Blunkett explores his fascinating archive.

Off the Shelf’s unique Text in the City initiative, which places poems in public places will be celebrated with a mix of well-known actors, writers, and people from Sheffield reciting poems featured around the city to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the initiative.

Orchard Square in Sheffield city 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.   

Off the Shelf is brought to you by the University of Sheffield as part of its pillars of support to enable cultural vibrancy for the Sheffield City Region. The festival is also supported by Arts Council England and Sheffield Hallam University, and Sheffield City Council is collaborating in some of this years’ live events in Tudor Square.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City & 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.”  

The full programme can be viewed on the website and tickets can be booked online here: https://www.offtheshelf.org.uk/

Printed programmes will be available at venues throughout South Yorkshire. Tickets can also be obtained in person or by telephone from Sheffield Theatres Box Office (open Mon - Sat 12- 6.00pm) on 0114 249 6000 from 6 September at 12noon.

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