Literary City: The Sheffield Connection
“Sheffield is a fairly apocalyptic place,” says poet Suzannah Evans, talking about the
creative inspiration she found in Threads, the 1984 film about the nuclear apocalypse set
here in the steel city.
It might seem an unlikely way to find her muse but Evans, one of the many creative writers
who call Sheffield home, can be inspired wherever she goes. “I have never managed to write
successfully about that film. But I think the landscape wherever I’m living tends to seep into
my poems, whether it’s in the background or more central. I write about the urban and the
rural landscapes and the Peak District landscape has definitely featured a few times.”
Evans has also paid tribute to all sorts of elements of Sheffield life in her distinctively dark
but playful poetry. “I’ve written a dystopian poem about the Sheffield tree campaign, and a
poem about the lost taste of cutlery which ends with a conspiracy theory that Henderson’s
relish might have been invented to replace it. So I think it’s fair to say Sheffield has
influenced my thinking quite a bit.”
Evans has taught for Museums Sheffield and been poet-in-residence at Bank Street Arts.
But she wasn’t born here. “I grew up in the West Midlands and have lived in mid Wales and
West Yorkshire too, but Sheffield has been very good to me and it really feels like home
now. I’ve lived here for six years, in Nether Edge and have very recently moved to
Meersbrook. I love both neighbourhoods.”
Asked about what makes Sheffield such a creative city, Evans is clear it’s all about the
people as well as the landscape. “I think it’s is a wonderful place to be a creative person. It
has a great feeling of community that I’ve found through things like Union Street’s co-
working environment and The Poetry Business’ workshops. I also think the access we have
to the Peak District and its wildlife is such a blessing and find that very inspiring.”
“There is a lot for poets in Sheffield – from Verse Matters and Wordlife, to Writers in the Bath
and Off the Shelf, you can often find somewhere to go and hear new poetry, which is
“On a practical level, it’s a great place to be an artist or to be freelance because there’s
enough work and it doesn’t cost the earth to live here, which is a very important balance to
Suzannah Evans’ debut poetry collection Near Future is doom-pop-poetry with an
apocalyptic edge, a darkly humorous journey through sci-fi lullabies and northern mysteries.
It is available now from Nine Arches Press.