30 Oct 2017

Festival of Words, Sheffield, UK

The annual 'Off the Shelf Festival of Words' in Sheffield has almost come to an end. There have been some good speakers at the events this year.  As usual, I went to the Readers' Afternoon, 'It's all a Fiction', which is always a popular event that's attended by many of the book groups in the city.  This year there were seven authors ready to talk about their latest book as well as what inspires their writing. They also read an extract from their book. The discussion with the authors was led by Trisha Cooper, a radio broadcaster and producer currently working with BBC Radio Sheffield. She was good at giving a summary of each book without giving spoilers, asking questions of the writers and drawing in the audience by inviting us to participate and ask questions or make comments.  There were several authors who had written their debut novel.  It was interesting to hear about each author's background, especially as all the authors were new to me even though some were well known and established as writers of fiction and non fiction.    

This year the venue was not at the Town Hall, but at Firth Hall, part of Firth Court which is an administration centre for the University of Sheffield and which also houses the Department of Molecular Biology and Biomedical Science.

The building complex is on Western Bank in the city next to Weston Park, the hospitals and other university buildings.  It was opened by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1905, the same year as the University of Sheffield was granted its royal charter. It was named after Mark Firth, a steel manufacturer who gave land for public use and opened Firth College which taught subjects in the arts and sciences.  

I've never been inside the building although the Tudor Revival style of architecture looks distinctive from the outside.  I walked through Weston Park down to the main entrance of Firth Hall. Inside the wood panelling, the windows, the glass surrounding the doors, the brass door handles and the inner courtyard add to the charm of this impressive place.

The authors who took part were Fran Cooper, whose debut novel is set in Paris,  Gregory Norminton who read from his short story collection, Felicia Yap who had written a psychological novel, Stephen May whose book, Stronger Than Skin, I've just finished reading (a loan from the library). Also Lesley Glaister, a former Sheffield-based author, Hannah Kohler, who has just had her first novel published and Lesley Downer who has written a prequel to her historical trilogy set in Japan. As usual there were refreshments and the opportunity to talk to individual authors, buy their books. I bought Lesley Downer's latest novel, The Shogun's Queen.  I'm looking forward to reading it although I shall reserve the first book in the quartet from the library before I do. Before we left we could choose a free book from a selection of new publications. We were also given a useful cloth book bag thanks to the publishers and others involved with organising the event. 

I'm still busy with my on line studies and family commitments. It's the half term school holiday this week for our local grandson and we're also looking forward to seeing our granddaughter who will be coming home at the end of the week.  She has a break from university lectures because the students get some time off to do reading for their courses.  

Thank you, friends, in advance for your visit to my blog and for your comments. I shall now take a short break from blogging and look forward to meeting up again with you later on in November. All the best,
Linda :)


  1. That sounds like a really interesting event and you're well stocked up with books to read. Enjoy the time with your graddaughter, I'm sure she'll have lots to tell you.

  2. Looks like a wonderful event in a truly beautiful building. Have a great break with your family.

  3. A Festival of Words!!!! WOW---what a great title for an event like you went to.... I'm sure it was great to meet and listen to the authors.... Awesome...

    Gorgeous buildings also...


  4. The Festival of Words sounds like something quite wonderful. I loved seeing the venue too. Enjoy your break and enjoy your grands so very much.

  5. Dear Linda,

    Sounds like a busy time ahead, enjoy your family time and break.
    The building is amazing and you must have enjoyed the Festival of words.

  6. I really enjoyed your post full of interesting authors and beautiful buildings with twinkly windows. Have a good break.

  7. Sounds like you had a great time and Firth Hall looks amazing. Loving those brass door handles!!!!
    Have a wonderful week :)

  8. that sounds like an event I would like, I have read several very good fiction debut novels on my kindle, and am an avid reader of fiction. also a lovely spot to visit even without meeting the authors

  9. I have ever heard of a Festival of Words before. What a great event and such a lovely campus. It's always fun to see such beautiful architecture. I hope you enjoy your time with the grandchildren. I will be looking forward to hearing how you liked reading your new authors.

  10. This is a beautiful building indeed! You at Festival of Words, me at Helsinki Book Fair! Meeting and listening to authors is so interesting, isn't it! I don't know the authors you mentioned, they are billions in this world :) Wishing you a nice week.

  11. The annual Festival of Words...how fantastic! I would have enjoyed that. You do have some good reads lined up, I have many too, sadly, not getting much time to read. That is such a stunning building, inside and out. Enjoy your studies, family and break. Until next time....hugs.xxx

  12. Great even it sounds my friend!

    glad you enjoyed being among new writers as well.
    how exciting to listen some part of book from the reader himself .here too in art halls held such events.
    the book you choose sounds interesting .
    i hope you will share the pleasant experience with your friend later .
    Cannot thank enough to show such glorious place through your beautiful photos.
    marvelous building!!!

    best wishes for granddaughter meeting and online ventures my friend!

  13. I have never heard of a Festival of Words before, it sounds a very good event. Loved the images of the building you shared her, that too looks wonderful.

    Enjoy your short blogging break.

    All the best Jan

  14. Sounds like an interesting event to attend, and the architecture is worth seeing too. Thanks for sharing your outing with us! -Beth

  15. So glad to visit you again!Wonderful event and the buildings are so gorgeous!
    As a woman, I am curious to know about Princess Atsu ( Shogun’s Queen) who lived in the turbulent period of the 19th in Japan. She is very famous.I have not read the book, but watched the drama on TV, which was a long story of one year. I really enjoyed it every Sunday night in 2008.
    I look forward visiting you again!Happy day to you!

    1. Thank you Tomoko. I was interested to hear that there is a television drama about Princess Atsu. I am looking forward to reading the book. I have nearly finished the first book in the series by Lesley Downer which is set in 1861. It's is an interesting and enjoyable story. Thank you for your visit to my blog.

  16. What an opulent and attractive building! I really like it- it is a super venue for the event.I've not actually heard on any of those authors so it would be good to go to something like this festival to discover more!

  17. What a great event. I life the idea of a Festival of Words. I enjoyed reading this as I am a bibliophile myself and also because I was born and grew up in Dore.