Welcome to Off the Shelf 9-31 October 2020
Brought to you by the University of Sheffield
Celebrating books, words and ideas

We are delighted to share our festival programme for 2020. In the light of the global pandemic there are changes to our usual festival but we are keenly aware that books, reading and conversations are more important now than ever. We have worked throughout lockdown to produce uplifting and thought-provoking events that reflect the world around us and we can’t wait to share the whole programme with you. Much of the festival activity will be online but there will also be live events in real venues where we can safely invite audiences to hear some wonderful speakers in person.

The opening weekend is book-ended by a live conversation with Lee Child and a poetry drive-in with the Poet Laureate Simon Armitage who has been commissioned by the festival to write new poetry inspired by Ted Hughes’ time living in Mexborough.

New this year is a strand of events celebrating black women’s voices, Black Women Write Now, curated for us by Sheffield writer Désirée Reynolds. We are also delighted to bring several Dutch writers and illustrators to the festival in a collaboration with the Dutch Literature Foundation. Finally, we offer family friendly fun events every afternoon during October half-term!

We look forward to seeing you in October and offer our heartfelt thanks for your support. Please do read the Festival information section as special measures have been put in place this year to help keep everyone safe.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our funders and supporters who are helping us to deliver a diverse programme for audiences across the region.

Delivered by: University of Sheffield
Supported by: Arts Council England. Sheffield Hallam University. Sheffield Property Association. Sheffield Insititute for Policy Studies, Sheffield Hallam University

Please donate if you can
The global pandemic has had a massive impact on how we are able to deliver this year’s festival. The Festival relies on box office revenue to keep it sustainable and this year we anticipate a 75% decrease in our revenue. Please donate and help us to keep Off the Shelf sustainable and accessible for the people of Sheffield, for our staff and students, for children, for communities, for the authors we support, for readers and writers, for everyone who loves literature. The money we raise will go back to the Festival, to pay for the authors, the venues, the podcasts and digital events we have produced and the great content we are delivering. In supporting Off the Shelf, your donation will contribute to the cultural life of our beloved city and enable us to continue our work.

Festival Team
Director: Professor Vanessa Toulmin University of Sheffield
Festival Manager: Sara Unwin University of Sheffield
Festival Programmers: Maria de Souza, Lesley Webster
With thanks to Penny Blackham
Festival Co-ordinator Sheffield Hallam University: Ashley Barnes
Thanks also to Kitty Turner - K Turner Sounds

Website Host: Vivid Creative
Cover Image: Fem Sorcell

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