Love reading? Don’t miss out on Off the Shelf 2019

Off the Shelf Festival 2019

One of the UK’s largest literary festivals will return this October with a jam-packed programme of over 150 events featuring some of the best names in fiction and nonfiction, poetry, politics, journalism, music, history and science.

Off the Shelf, which runs from 5-26 October 2019, is the only UK literary festival curated by two universities – the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University. Both universities are proud to run the festival and will continue to ensure that it remains true to its roots, bringing creative content and insights from their wealth of academic expertise.

For the first time, the festival will travel beyond Sheffield into Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City and Culture, said: “We are delighted to present such a relevant exciting and challenging programme reflecting the ideals of the city, our fantastic researchers and our diverse population.”

The festival starts and finishes in New York with acclaimed authors Zadie Smith and André Aciman’s only northern appearance. This year, the festivals themes are ‘working class voices’ and ‘environment’.

A ‘working class voices’ theme has been curated by Dr David Forrest, from the School of English.

Dr Forrest said: “The ways we write about and experience class have changed fundamentally in the last 50 years. Now, we might think of class as operating alongside and within other forms of identity: gender, race, and sexuality - we must look to our writers to speak from and give voice to the margins, wherever they might be found.”

Inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing writer Nat Loftus and artist Miriam Stayte have created an animated poem to be read in ‘phases’ like the moon. This enchanting digital artwork can be viewed online and digitally as part of Off the Shelf. The first transmission will be launched on multiple screens simultaneously across the city at 11am – 1pm Monday 7 October reminiscent of people everywhere tuning into the televised Moon Landing in 1969.

Off the Shelf offers a diverse and wide-ranging programme of events. Guests this year include David Baddiel, Katy Brand, David Suchet, Toria Garbutt, Jack Monroe, George Alagiah, Henry Blofeld, Mark Radcliffe, Jeffery Boakye, Louise Doughty, Michelle Tea, Vanessa Kisuule, BOSH!, Brett Anderson, and local talent including Helen Mort and Otis Mensah – the current Sheffield poet laureate. They will talk about life stories, current affairs, design, comedy, poetry, film screenings, cookery, everything Yorkshire, and more.

Read the full programme and purchase tickets

Brochures will be available in the Students’ Union and cafes around campus. Tickets can also be purchased from the Students’ Union.

See our talented academics at Off the Shelf 2019

Many of our talented academics are set to showcase their work at this year’s city-wide festival.

Ideas Alive at 5.45

Academics from departments across our University will give a fascinating insight into their areas of expertise in this mini-series of free talks during the festival.

All talks start at 5.45pm and will take place at Ambulo Cafe, Millennium Gallery. All events are free and open to all, there’s no need to book.

Monday 7 October

Exploration: Beyond the Moon

Dr Katherine Inskip, Dr Kristin Lohwasser, Department of Physics and Astronomy

Join Dr Inskip and Dr Lohwasser for a panel discussion with artists, sci-fi authors and physicists on exploring time, space and the unknown.

Tuesday 8 October

Plutonium Pathways

Professor Neil Hyatt, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

How did the UK end up with a 140 ton stockpile of plutonium and what should we do with it now?

Wednesday 9 October

Gluten and the Brain

Professor Marios Hadjivassiliou, Department of Neuroscience

Exploring neurological dysfunction due to coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity.

Thursday 10 October

Climate Justice

Dr Megan Blomfield, Department of Philosophy

What can we learn about climate justice by thinking about natural resource rights?

Tuesday 15 October (St Mary’s Church, Bramall Lane)

Women's Movement 100 

Professor Julie V Gottlieb, Department of History

Professor Julie V Gottlieb was Guest Curator of the Suffrage 100 theme in Off the Shelf 2018. She talks about her research on women’s suffrage and reflects on the first 100 years of women’s citizenship. Choreographer and dancer Freddie Garland has taken Julie’s research as inspiration to create a new dance piece. An excerpt of the dance piece will be performed at this event.

Wednesday 16 October

Rebel Women

Dr Sasha Garwood, Department of History

Sex, food and rebellion: early modern English noblewomen and the body.

Thursday 17 October

The Poet's Place

Dr Madeleine Callaghan, Department of English

Exploring the place of the poet, role of poetry, and the power of language.

Tuesday 22 October

Nothing Happens in Huddersfield

Professor Richard Phillips, Department of Geography

Discover Georges Perec, the experimental writer who documented Paris in the 1970s, inspiring artists, writers and performers.

Wednesday 23 October

Materials to Kill Germs!

Professor Paul Hatton, School of Clinical Dentistry

Bacteria and the infections they cause, especially for patients undergoing surgery, are a major challenge. University of Sheffield researchers have developed a range of innovative materials to combat bacteria.

Thursday 24 October

Creativity Breaks

Dr Dermot Breslin, Management School

Dr Dermot Breslin Management School Learn how research into taking breaks through collaborative group activities can boost creative performance for individuals and groups.