SHEFFIELD’S Off The Shelf Festival of Words is officially underway once again.
The popular and prestigious literary celebration, which marks its 20th anniversary this year, kicked off at The Crucible with a series of performances and readings from authors, poets and musicians.
“This festival gets bigger, better and more varied and creative every year,” said Lord Mayor Coun Sylvia Dunkley at the opening ceremony.
“It’s always a highlight of the Sheffield calendar, offering inspiration in every form and giving audiences the chance to see people they admire as well as discover new, upcoming talent.
“It’s earned a national reputation in the past two decades and we’re expecting to attract an audience of well over 22,000.”
Author Martyn Johnson and poet River Wolton both appeared at the launch to read extracts of their latest works, and hip hop theatre group Rationale performed a piece from their latest production, In My Shoes.
“What I love most about this festival are the unknowns that sparkle,” poet River told The Star.
The month-long festival features a record 162 events, talks, workshops and masterclasses with some of the biggest names in the literary world at venues all around the city. Famous faces will include Jeremy Paxman, Rob Brydon and Sir Michael Parkinson.
Other highlights of the festival include talks on the famous Sheffield floods and a historical look at the ‘captive queen’ Mary Queen of Scots who was imprisoned in Sheffield for more than a third of her life.
Mark Logue, grandson of Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue, will be in Sheffield recounting the real life facts behind his grandfather’s relationship with the Duke of York which inspired the multi-award-winning film The King’s Speech.
Bestselling author Catherine Bailey will also be giving a rare talk about her book Black Diamonds, and artist/writer Tracey Moberly - who has saved every text message she’s ever been sent - will be discussing her autobiographical work Text Me Up.
Visit www.offtheshelf.org.uk for more.