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The Sheffield culture guide written by in-the-know locals

Off the Shelf picks

Autumn in Sheffield is pretty much synonymous with literary delights, as Off the Shelf hosts three weeks packed with talks and readings from world renowned authors and poets, famous folk off the telly, and a few knowledgable locals.

Each year, the Festival of Words absorbs audiences in topics ranging from pop music to politics, fine art to feminism. This year's programme is centred largely around two themes: working class voices, and the environment. It'll also welcome to town the likes of David Baddiel, Jack Monroe and Geoge Alagiah, share accounts of Sheffield's Windrush pioneers, tell the story of punk icon Poly Styrene, and present spoken word performances from local young people alongside Vanessa Kisuule.

Read on for what's still to come from our Hannah's top 10 picks of this year's programme – and see the rest on the Off the Shelf website.

A Soft Rebellion in Paradise – Chloë Brown and Geraldine Monk

Fri. 18 October 2019

Performance Lab, Arundel Gate, S1 2LQ

As part of the Suffrage 100 celebrations in 2018, artist Chloë Brown made a film recognising the suffragettes as an important part of Sheffield's protesting history. Join Brown and poet Geraldine Monk for a screening, discussion and poetry reading.

High Rise Mystery – Sharna Jackson

Sat. 19 October 2019

Sheffield Central Library

The UK’s first detective series to feature young black detectives. By Sheffield-based author Sharna Jackson, it follows two streetwise sisters in London who make a chilling discovery and spend the summer holidays getting to the bottom of things.


Sun. 20 October 2019

Auditorium, University of Sheffield Students' Union, Western Bank, S10 2TG

A creative documentary by Eelyn Lee, who joins a group of young writers from Sheffield on a quest to find out the meaning of Britishness – through poetry and interviews with the likes of former Lord Mayor Magid Magid. Followed by a panel discussion.

Endland – Tim Etchells in conversation with Tony White

Sat. 26 October 2019

Drama Studio

Artist, writer and director of absurdist theatre company Forced Entertainment, Etchells has spent his career probing the boundaries of every creative medium he can get his hands on. His latest book is a series of cautionary tales for uncertain times.