Friday, February 17, 2017

LGBT History Month

Display at Firth Park library for #lgbthistorymonth 

February marks LGBT History Month in the UK.  Sheffield City Council, along with many other organisations across the country, is taking this opportunity to celebrate the history, lives and achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in the UK and beyond.
As part of this month-long celebration, Sheffield Libraries is hosting an event on the life and times of Edward Carpenter , an openly gay Victorian socialist who lived locally and campaigned for the rights of Sheffield workers. This free talk by local historian Suzanne Bingham takes place at 18.30 on Wednesday 22nd February 2017 in the Carpenter Room, Central Library, and tickets can be booked here.
We also have LGBT History Month displays in Firth Park Library and Central Library which showcase a small portion of our LGBTQ* collections.

Below, we provide a selection of recent titles purchased for the collection, as well as some useful links to LGBTQ* organisations in Sheffield.

New titles
The Good Son by Paul McVeigh
Winner of the Polari First Book Prize, 2016
Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin
Different for Girls by Jacquie Lawrence
Physical by Andrew McMillan
God in Pink by Namir Hasan
Lambda Literary Award winner for gay fiction, 2016
Life in a Box is a Pretty Life by Dawn Lundy Martin
Lambda Literary Award winner for lesbian poetry, 2016
Crevasse by Nicholas Wong
Lambda Literary Award winner for gay poetry, 2016
Tarnished Gold by Ann Aptaker
Lambda Literary Award winner for lesbian mystery, 2016
Making a Comeback by Julie Blair
Lambda Literary Award winner for lesbian romance, 2016
When Skies Have Fallen by Debbie McGowan
Lambda Literary Award winner for gay romance, 2016
George by Alex Gino
Lambda Literary Award winner for children’s/YA, 2016; Stonewall book award winner in children’s category, 2016
The Gods of Tango by Carolina De Robertis
Stonewall book award winner for literature, 2016
For Your Own Good by Leah Horlick
Jam on the Vine by LaShonda Katrice Barnett
Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain, edited by Kate Harrad
Mr Oliver’s Object of Desire by V. G. Lee
Straight Jacket: How to be Gay and Happy by Matthew Todd
The Black Path by Paul Burston
Blowing the Lid: Gay Liberation, Sexual Revolution and Radical Queens by Stuart Feather

For further reading suggestions, we recommend following the excellent @LGBTQReads twitter account! We also welcome your suggestions for items that we should purchase for the collection.

Useful links
LGBT Sheffield
A community-led LGBT organisation in Sheffield
A youth group and support service for LGBT young people aged 12-17
Out of Office
An LGBT network organising bi-monthly social events
Sheffield Pinknic
A free yearly outdoor event
Pride Sheffield
Sheffield’s annual Pride celebration
Andro & Eve
Queer events promoters
Sheffield Bi Social
A social organisation for bi/pansexual people
A Yorkshire-wide support group for trans people assigned female at birth
A free and confidential weekly drop-in sexual health service for gay and bisexual men

Friday, February 3, 2017

Exploring the archives: Arthur Hayball, a Sheffield craftsman

Arthur Hayball next to one of his carved pieces, 19th cent.
(Picture Sheffield: y00538)
An extraordinary collection of papers and glass negatives survives at Sheffield City Archives relating to the Hayball family of Sheffield.  Arthur Hayball was a Sheffield craftsman of great skill - a talented wood carver and photography pioneer, described by J.H. Stainton in The Making of Sheffield as ‘unsurpassed in wood carving and absolutely an artist in expression’.  The Hayball papers give a rare view into the world of the Victorian family in Sheffield, not least through an astonishing array of photographs which date back to the early 1850s…

Hayball family on the back steps of 50
(later 112) Hanover Street, 1852
(Picture Sheffield: y00523)

Arthur Hayball was born in Tudor Street, Little Sheffield (now Thomas Street) in September 1822, the second son of Thomas and Mary Hayball.  His father was a joiner and builder who helped construct a number of buildings including Banner Cross Hall and St Philip's Church.  Arthur Hayball spent much time as a child in the joiner's shop.  Following an accident he broke his leg and during his convalescence, his father gave him some pieces of waste wood to carve.  From then on, much of his spare time was spent learning wood carving.  At the age of 16 he left school and joined his father in the woodworking shop at 60 Rockingham Street.

The chemistry of the toning bath
'The Apparition - a trick photo'

He started attending classes at the Sheffield School of Design (later known as the School of Art).  He was so successful the School elected him a 'Free Student for Life'.  He remained connected to the School until his death in 1887 and he was Master of the Wood Carving Class from 1875 to 1887, being succeeded by Frank Tory.  He entered a specimen of his own design in the Great Exhibition of 1851, a cabinet of English walnut, 8 feet high and 4 feet wide for which he was awarded first prize and a medal from the Exhibition Committee.

In 1845, Arthur married his cousin, Hannah Lenton of London and they moved to 29 Clarence Street, opposite to where Godfrey Sykes lived.  By 1851 they had three daughters (Edith, Miriam and Laura - a fourth daughter, Clara, was born in 1852); in order to support his family he suggested to his father he might do better independently.  This caused father and son to fall out and they were estranged for ten years.  Two houses were designed and built in Hanover Street and in the back garden a workshop was built.  The upper level of the workshop was used for photographic work in which he had become interested in c.1853, with the intention of supplementing his income through portraiture work.  Many of his early photographic endeavours survive in the archives, from mammoth glass plate negatives to early printing experiments.  A small scrap of paper survives recording the chemistry of a toning bath (chloride of gold, water, chalk, chloride of lime etc.) while an early account book describes his regular photographic purchases: collodion, photo sulphate, gutta percha, cyanide etc.

Clara Hayball on a velocipede at Arthur's wood carving works,
Cavendish Street, 1875 (Picture Sheffield: y00516)
In 1862 he moved to nos. 9-13 Cavendish Street built by his father with whom he later became reconciled.  Here his work focused on fine wood-carving and he was helped by his daughters, especially Clara.  As Stainton notes, ‘how greatly his genius was appreciated may be estimated from commissions which he executed. For the Duke of Norfolk he provided the fittings of Arundel Chapel, and also supplied many reredos, stalls and altars in Spain and Ireland; Dr. Gatty entrusted him with much restoration work in Ecclesfield Church, and for Mr. Henry Wilson he carved the handsome screen in St. Silas’ Church.’  In fact he was able to put to good use his photographic skills, ensuring all of his major works were recorded. Having received an order, he would complete the piece in his workshop, photograph the item when assembled and then when the work was sent off (in pieces) the photograph would be used to reassemble the parts.  As a result, a near complete record of his work exists. These negatives are now very fragile and sadly the emulsion is degrading on some plates; it is fortuitous that Mr C.H. Lea, a family friend, saw fit to reprint the entire set in 1951-52 which, until this point, had been stored by the family in the ‘old stable loft'. The photographs showcase the breadth and intricacy of work undertaken by Hayball - he even appears in some of his own photographs next to carved pieces. 

Photograph of designer and painter, Godfrey
Sykes, by Arthur Hayball, 19th cent.
Cyanotype of Clara
by Arthur Hayball

Arthur Hayball died in 1887.  His archive, and that of his family - especially Clara, his youngest daughter (who married Sheffield artist, William Keeling), provides fascinating detail about family life in Sheffield during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Arthur’s papers and photographs later passed to Clara who was something of a collector; she kept all manner of family papers, from her mother’s childhood embroidery dating back to c.1825 to greetings cards and other ephemera sent to her during her lifetime. Indeed her own archive of papers includes previously unseen watercolours by her husband William Keeling (an exhibitor at the Royal Academy, London) including a small painting of the Atlas Mountains placed in a prayer book which he gifted to his wife in 1913.  The collection numbers over 450 items and a list can be browsed via our online catalogue: 
Original items from the collection can be viewed at Sheffield City Archives upon request (


'Arthur Hayball - A Dreamer in Wood', a short biography published by Arthur Beet in Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society (vol.VII, part 5, 1956) (Sheffield Archives: HAYBALL/6/6)
‘The Making of Sheffield 1865-1914’ by J.H. Stainton (Publisher: E.Weston and Sons, Change Alley, Sheffield, 1924) (Sheffield Local Studies Library: 942.74 S)

Images © Sheffield City Archives/Picture Sheffield



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A year in archives: collection highlights from 2016

Each year the document collection at Sheffield City Archives grows in size.  Last year we received around 900 boxes of archival material dating from the 16th century to the present day including legal documents, photographs, architectural plans, glass negatives, ancient deeds, watercolour paintings and digital files.  Each item reveals a bit more to us about Sheffield’s history.  What follows is a brief look at some of the collection highlights from 2016...
Two volumes were donated by a private individual relating to Hadfields Limited (National Projectile Factory), Sheffield detailing orders for high explosive shells during World War One.  The orders came from the Ministry of Munitions, the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, the Secretary of State for War, the Office of the Chief of Ordnance, War Department, Washington DC, USA and the United States Government, Navy Department.  Almost all of the orders recorded in the two ledgers were made at the Hecla Works, the smaller of Hadfields’ two sites.  To give an idea of the volume of goods produced, the monthly peak in March 1916 (three months before the Battle of the Somme) was around £437,000 worth of orders - quite an extraordinary sum. (Sheffield City Archives: X752/1).

Sheffield City Council has historically owned various plots of land and buildings across the city, the deeds to which have been stored in The Deeds Registry in the basement of Sheffield Town Hall, Pinstone Street.  In 2015, the Council began the process of voluntarily registering its ownership of land and property with the Land Registry.  Packages of unregistered deeds and documents were sent to the Land Registry for them to check the chain of ownership and prepare for a first registration.  Upon their return, the old prior deeds were no longer required as legal documents and were passed to Sheffield City Archives.  In 2016, we received over 100 boxes of these old title deeds, many dating back to the 1600s.  They cover ancient highways and byways, pubs and beerhouses, steam grinding wheels, cutlery works, music halls, dwellinghouses and more.  The oldest deed received so far dates from 1571 and describes ‘tenements on Snigg Hill leading from the Irish Cross to the West Barr’.  We expect hundreds more boxes to be transferred over the next few years. (Sheffield City Archives: CA778).

 A curious illuminated manuscript was donated to the Archives in November 2016.  It was an address, dated 1896, presented to James Melling of Throstle Grove, Pitsmoor by the Committee of the Sheffield Social Questions League, thanking Melling for the action he took against the landlord of the Black Swan Hotel, Snig Hill  and his 'brave stand...taken against the glaring public evils of our time - the forces of drink, gambling and impurity...'  It transpired that James Wallace, the landlord of the Black Swan, had published two letters in the Sheffield Independent falsely accusing Melling of trying to entrap him into selling alcohol after hours in breach of the licensing laws.  The case went to court and the judge ruled in favour of Melling.  The illuminated address praises Melling’s commitment to the promotion of temperance and social morality. (Sheffield City Archives: X748/1).

Upon their move from Meersbrook House last year, the Parks Department transferred a large quantity of records to the archives for permanent preservation including minutes, early staff wage books, allotment plans and photographs.  The records add much to our knowledge of the development of Sheffield’s parks and green spaces.  Of particular interest is a volume of coloured linen plans of parks, recreation grounds and open spaces drawn up by Mr E. Partington, Estates Surveyor in the 1920s.  The volume was obviously a working document for the Parks Department during the Second World War and many of the plans are annotated to denote ARP shelters, ARP posts, rest centres/shelters, barrage balloon sites, wartime allotments, ARP trenches, water tanks and fire tanks, open cast coal and huts for the Home Guard. (Sheffield City Archives: CA981).

We also received a donation of First World War letters written by Able Seaman Joe Rhodes of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserves to his sweetheart in Sheffield, Nellie Drabble.  Joe was born in Sheffield in 1900.  He became a crucible furnaceman, later serving in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserves during the First World War, enlisting towards the end of December 1917 and starting his naval training in January 1918 at the Royal Navy training depot in Crystal Palace, London. Throughout his naval service, Rhodes kept up regular correspondence with his sweetheart back home in Sheffield, Nellie Drabble (1898 - 1968).  His letters discuss his training at the Royal Navy depot: ‘…the palace is a magnificent place and I am very sorry to say that our superiors are rotters...', thoughts of Sheffield: ' the papers I see that the Zepps were knocking about Yorkshire last and I hope they did not make it uncomfortable for you just the same as when they pay us a visit...' and his enduring relationship with Nellie: '...We managed to get out last night for the first time and I had not been out 10 minutes before a girl came up to me and asked me take her a stroll, this I flatly refused by saying that the girl I left in Sheffield has all the love I can give and that I had none to spare for her...’  Joe Rhodes married Nellie Drabble on 25 February 1922 at St Mary's Church, Bramall Lane, Sheffield. (Sheffield City Archives: X747).
We also took in public records from Sheffield Magistrates’ Court, HM Coroner, the Northern General Hospital, Jessop Hospital for Women and Trent Regional Health Authority. Records were also deposited by Sheffield City Council, the Diocese of Sheffield, the GMB and NALGO trade unions, local businesses, societies and organisations and private individuals.
A full list of archives received by Sheffield City Archives (and other archives around the country) is published by The National Archives each year:
You can also search Sheffield City Archives' online catalogue here:

Review: Up, down, all-around stitch dictionary by Wendy Bernard

This is a fantastic reference for knitters wanting inspiration for their projects. Each stitch pattern is presented in written and charted form, and there are options for flat and circular knitting, depending on your preference or what the pattern calls for.

As if that wasn't enough, the patterns are also offered top-down and bottom-up where appropriate. Never again will you be put off using a heart motif on that top-down yoked sweater, and you can create leaves to your heart's content on that toe-up sock pattern you had your eye on.

Even if you don't have a particular pattern in mind, this is a great resource to browse through.

(There are also a range of craft groups and activities which take place in Sheffield Libraries. Please see the Sheffield Libraries events page for further details.)

If you like the sound of this, you might also like:

Monday, January 23, 2017

Exploring the archives: the mystery of the marble bust

Of the many hundreds of enquiries we received at Sheffield Archives and Local Studies Library last month, the mystery of the marble bust was perhaps one of the most intriguing. 

A Dutch antiques and fine art dealer, based in Eindhoven, got in touch to ask if we might be able to identify the subject of a marble bust that had turned up in the Netherlands.  The only clue the inquirer had about the bust was an engraving on its base which revealed how it was made by the Sheffield sculptor William Ellis (c.1824 - 1882). The individual depicted in the sculpture however was unknown.

Bust of the mystery Victorian gentleman which surfaced in Eindhoven, Netherlands

A search through the old newspapers at the Local Studies Library revealed an obituary for William Ellis, reported the day after his death in the Sheffield Independent newspaper on 20 July 1882 which details the various commissions Ellis worked on during his career. These included busts of notable nineteenth-century individuals associated with Sheffield such as Samuel Plimsoll M.P. (1823 - 1898), Henry Unwin J.P. (c. 1811 - 1879), the sculptor Alfred G. Stevens (1817 - 1875) (all exhibited 1876), the Rev. Samuel Earnshaw (1805 - 1888) (exhibited 1877) and the scientist Dr Henry Clifton Sorby (1826 - 1908) (exhibited 1879). One of Ellis’ last commissions was a bust of John Arthur Roebuck, M.P. (1801 - 1879). By cross-referencing pictures of these individuals on Picture Sheffield ( with the picture of the bust in the Dutch antiques centre, one-by-one, we were able to eliminate the candidates in this rather distinguished line-up of Victorian gentlemen until the identity of the individual was revealed. The bust bore an undeniably clear resemblance to John Arthur Roebuck.
Roebuck was born in India to an English civil servant father, raised in Canada, and qualified as a barrister. He served as radical Liberal MP for Sheffield in two spells between 1849 - 1868 and 1874 - 1879 (up until his death). In parliament, Roebuck was nicknamed “Dog Tear 'Em” due to his terrier instincts, his tenacity and his fierce opposition to notions of aristocracy and privilege.

Picture of John Arthur Roebuck (1801 - 1879), Liberal MP for Sheffield
(Sheffield Archives and Picture Sheffield Library: s08216)

Roebuck’s life was one of relative affluence. By contrast, the man who memorialised him in marble, William Ellis, spent most of his life battling destitution and hardship. Despite his talent as a sculptor, Ellis’ obituary reveals how between commissions ‘his existence has been a perpetual struggle with poverty…a struggle with an empty purse, and an empty cupboard’. A graduate of the Sheffield School of Art, Ellis assisted his friend and mentor Alfred Stevens (1817 - 1875) in the original winning design for the ‘Wellington Monument’, an undertaking which saw the two sculptors forced to endure ‘a wearying harassing life’ in London, subsisting ‘on the most part on bread and coffee during their stay in the metropolis’. Stevens himself died in poverty before the final Wellington monument (now housed in St Paul's Cathedral) was completed.  During the severe winter of 1880-81 Ellis’ obituary observes how Ellis ‘was frequently on the verge of starvation. Yet he never complained, and bore the biting cold and bitter misery of a fireless home with heroic fortitude’.   Ellis died practically penniless at his home at 26 Reliance Place, Winter Street, Sheffield on 19 July 1882.
Roebuck’s bust may have gone from Sheffield, but thanks to the documentary evidence at Sheffield Archives and Local Studies Library its identity, and the story of its creator, will always be remembered.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New for 2017: family history course at Sheffield City Archives

In January/February 2017, Sheffield City Archives and Local Studies Library are running their popular six-week family history course led by local family history expert Suzanne Bingham.

The course is aimed at beginners and will explain the process of researching your family tree and how to find and use essential records such as birth, marriage and death indexes, certificates, and census records.  You will learn how to use the Find My Past website effectively, and how to access records in archives and libraries that haven’t yet been made available online.  Each week, you will get to look at original documents from the Archives.

Course start date: Thursday 19th January 2017
Time: 2pm - 4pm
Venue: Sheffield City Archives, 52 Shoreham Street, S1 4SP
Cost: £60 (for 6 weeks)

To book a place contact Sheffield Archives (0114 203 9395) or Sheffield Local Studies Library (0114 273 4753) or email:



Thu 19th Jan
Week 1
Getting started - organising your family trees.
Useful websites for family history.
Civil Registration – births, marriages and deaths.
Thu 26th Jan
Week 2
The census and what it can tell us about our ancestors.
Useful resources for accessing the census.
Thu 2nd Feb
Week 3
Detailed look at Parish records, why they were kept and how to access them.
Religious denominations, the differences in the records.
Thu 9th Feb
Week 4
Records relating to the deceased ancestor:
Churchyard or cemetery?
Monumental Inscriptions.
Causes of Victorian deaths
Did they leave a will?
Thu 16th Feb
Week 5
Social welfare and health records.
Records relating to the Poor Law – workhouses, poor relief, bastardy orders, settlement certificates, Sheffield Scattered Homes.
Records relating to health – hospitals and asylums.
Thu 23rd Feb
Week 6
Understanding where your ancestor lived.  
What was the area like?
How to use the following resources to identify the location of your ancestor’s home:
  • Trade directories
  • Electoral registers
  • Local area photographs
  • Maps
This session will take place at Sheffield Local Studies Library (Central Library).

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Author Q&A - Katey Lovell - The Singalong Society for Singletons

Welcome to our first author Q&A on the Sheffield Libraries blog, and who better to interview than ardent library supporter and Sheffield adoptee Katey Lovell. Katey's novel The Singalong Society for Singletons is out on December 15th, 2016, and I happily dived between the pages of her new book to find out more.

Four friends, each at a cross roads in their lives and each dealing with broken hearts, recognise the value their friendship, laughter and, most importantly, singing are to help them through hard times. So they gather for regular meet ups, to watch a musical, throw their cares away and just have a great time!

The Singalong Society for Singletons could be classed as chick lit as all the components are here: friendship, love, heartache and humour, but it's actually more unique than that. Each chapter is based around a different musical (The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Oliver! etc.), so we are taken on a theatrical journey through the book, as the single friends cope with their different challenges in life to the backdrop of songs and themes from an array of different musical shows. It is a lovely idea which adds a completely new dimension to the standard chick lit theme and allows this story to stand out from the crowd.

The Singalong Society for Singletons is full of laughter, heartwarming moments, secrets, romance, friendship, characters with bags of personality and, most wonderfully, lots of great Sheffield references! With each musical, the friends grow and the story develops at a speedy pace, with each of the friends' lives moving in a, not always predictable, direction. This is a fun, feel-good and unputdownable read!


Katey Lovell - Author of The Singalong Society for Singletons
Now over to Katey Lovell, with thanks!

What inspired you to write The Singalong Society for Singletons?

Publishers Harper Impulse had offered me a contract for nine short stories (the e-book series The Meet Cute) in early 2015. By November of that year the first three stories had been published and were well received, which was when my editor encouraged me to try writing a novel. The title came to me before anything else, but as I've always loved musicals I soon thought of ways I could work the themes of popular musicals into a story about a group of friends who sing to cure their broken hearts.

You reference Sheffield a lot throughout your book and on your blog mentioned it as your “adopted city”. What made you come to Sheffield, and what do you love most about the city?

I moved to Sheffield in 1998 to study for an Early Childhood Studies degree at Sheffield Hallam University and by the end of my first semester was engaged to a Sheffielder!
As someone who grew up in a small market town (Monmouth, in South Wales), I never expected to stay this long, but Sheffield really doesn't feel like a city. Yes, this is where I roll out the Sheffield clichés! We're so fortunate to have the Peak District on our doorstep whilst enjoying the benefits of top-class theatres and music venues, and over the past few years Sheffield has also really come into its own with a wealth of new independent shops, cafés and pubs. However, the vintage clothes shops are probably my favourite way to while away a day as I love a bargain, along with a visit to the Central Library where my son and I browse the shelves looking for our next favourite reads. Whenever I'm in the city centre I'll invariably see people I know - Sheffield really is the world's largest village.

Music and musicals are the basis of your novel. How did you decide which musicals to include? How many musicals did you watch a part of your research and do you have a favourite?

Once I'd decided to write the novel the way I did (with a chapter for each musical) I knew I'd have a hard time choosing which ones to include. I started by making a list of my favourites, but also asked readers on Twitter and Facebook for suggestions. In the ten months it took me to write/edit The Singalong Society for Singletons I watched every film the group watch at least once, and also two which ended up being changed at the suggestion of my editor (Summer Holiday was substituted for Walking on Sunshine and Annie was replaced by Shrek - The Musical). Settling down to watch a film and calling it 'research' is a real perk of the job.
If pushed to choose a favourite I'd probably go with Grease. Rent, The Sound of Music, Les Mis and Chicago would be challengers too though - I like a few darker moments in my musicals. And my books too, for that matter!

I particularly enjoyed the chapter based on South Pacific, because it was a very emotionally charged section of your story. Which is your favourite chapter? Which was the most challenging to write?

My favourite to read is probably the one that was the most challenging to write - the Fame/Rent chapter. I cried as Liam's back story revealed itself to me, and that's exactly what happened - I hadn't planned it to turn out as dark as it did but before I knew it his whole character fell into place in that chapter. The Rocky Horror Show chapter has a special place in my heart too though and is probably the most 'Sheffieldy' section of the book, and was one of the easiest to write, partly because of the imagery of Frank N Furter, Magenta and co., and partly because it's set in the town centre I'm so familiar with.

The Singalong Society for Singletons contains a lovely mix of characters, all with unique personalities. Who was your favourite character to write about and why?

When I first started writing the book Hope was the protagonist. However, I soon realised that her snarky comments came across rather negatively. I'd hoped she'd have that balance of wit and cynicism that someone like Jo Brand has. When someone suggested Mon would be a better lead character I found Hope became more likeable. I'd say Hope or Liam are my favourites - they get the best one liners.

Where and when do you write, and how does this balance with your day job?

I try to write for at least an hour a day, every day, but that rarely happens. I almost always write at home in silence. Coffee shop writing sounds romantic, but I'm way too easily distracted for that to work for me.

Is there going to be a sequel to Singalong, and are you able to give any hints about this or anything else you’re working on?

There are no plans for a sequel at the moment, although I've had quite a few people who've read the book ask for one! I'd like to write more about the boys, maybe even something from Liam's point of view, so who knows? I suppose it'll partly depend on the response from readers and if Harper Impulse think there's a market for it.
I'm currently working on the edits for my second standalone novel, which is due to be released next summer. Whilst it's not set in Sheffield it's about a group of people who are all linked to the fictional Fir Tree Park (based loosely on two of my favourite places - Graves Park and Millhouses Park). It's a bit different to Singalong as it's told through the voices of four different women who all have their own unique connection to the park.

What do you think makes a good story?

For me it's about having characters that readers engage with. Most of my favourite characters in fiction are those I can relate to in some way or another - often it's the bookish ones like Hermione Granger or those who are strong-willed against the odds.

Where do you see yourself as a writer in the future?

I can't imagine a time where I'm not writing in one form or another, and I imagine I'll always write about friendships and relationships. I'd love to write an epic family saga, and a young adult book, and a whole shelf-full of heart-warming romance. Hopefully The Singalong Society for Singletons is just the beginning!


Huge thanks again to Katey for kindly taking time to take part in our Q&A.
The Singalong Society for Singletons is released on December 15th, and copies are available to reserve now from Sheffield Libraries.

Review & Q&A written by Alexis Filby (Library and Information Assistant).

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Review: Making History by Stephen Fry

PhD Student Michael Young and Professor Leo Zuckerman hatch a plan to change history so that the concentration camps never existed: by making sure that Adolf Hitler is never born.

Fry has chosen an interesting subject and deals with it tactfully while still maintaining his trademark sense of humour. Making History asks questions of us: if we could change the past, would we? More importantly, even if we can change the past, should we? We may think we are acting to change things for the better, but we cannot foresee everything and this may lead to unexpected consequences.

Ultimately, though, Fry ends on a note of hope: the world can be a better place, whether it is despite or because of our actions.

If you like the sound of this, you might also like:

Written by Ann Brook (Library and Information Assistant)