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,