A seated audience listening to a speaker at an Off The Shelf event. A seated audience listening to a speaker at an Off The Shelf event.

Off the Shelf Festival of Words is one of the largest literary festivals in the UK, attracting some of the best-known names in literature and media to Sheffield.

Taking place in October each year, the festival hosts a varied programme with hundreds of events taking place - including talks, Q&As, readings, screenings and live performances for all ages. The festival covers the whole literary spectrum, showcasing work across fiction and nonfiction, poetry, politics, journalism, music, history and science.  

It has now taken place for over 30 years, making Off the Shelf one of the city’s longest running cultural events, organised by the University of Sheffield with support from Arts Council England, Sheffield Hallam University, and several commercial partners.

Having switched to a hybrid festival programme for 2020 and 2021, the 2022 edition returned to host an array of in-person events, with some additional some online content.

The 2023 edition is set to take place Friday 13 October to Sunday 29 October. Look out for the festival programme announcements in the summer: offtheshelf.org.uk


13 - 29 October

A pop-up drive in cinema in a field. There are rows of cars all facing a large, temporary cinema screen.