Author Talks

As part of our cultural offer, we have an ongoing programme of author talks and workshops designed to inspire creativity, introduce readers to new work, and connect people with great thinkers.


Live Author Talks

Book your place for upcoming events on our Eventbrite page.


Recordings of Previous Events

Missed an author event?  Don't worry, we'll place recordings here for a limited time.  
In order to make our events as accessible as possible, we've added closed captions.

Some of our recent events

Stoicism and Hope
Dr John Sellars, Reader in Philosophy, author, and founding member of Modern Stoicism discusses ancient Stoicism and their alternative approach to hope.


Rootbound with Alice Vincent
Bestselling author Alice Vincent discusses plants, growing up, and the power of gardening to shape and improve our lives.


Sheffield's Early Feminist Rebels
Dr Matthew Roberts tell the story of a group of working class women activists calling for the vote long before the Suffragettes.


Folklore, Rebellion, and Reclaiming Robin Hood for Sheffield
Dr David Clarke explores two legendary heroes from Sheffield's folklore: Saxon Earl Waltheof, and Robin of Loxley.


Firewatching:  In Conversation with Author Russ Thomas
Russ chats about his best-selling Sheffield based thriller, Firewatching.
Watch now


Resist: Stories of British Rebellion
The anthology Resist: Stories of Uprising charts two thousand years of British resistance.  In this panel event focussed on women’s rebellion through the ages, journalist Bidisha interviews acyivist Jo Blackman, and author Zoe Lambert about The Seeds of Hope protest from 1996.


Living Knowledge Network Events

Sheffield Libraries is an active member of The Living Knowledge Network, a UK-wide partnership of national and public libraries created by the British Library to exchange knowledge and develop memorable experiences for public library users. 

Here's a selection of recordings to accompany our own upcoming Rebel Season.

David Olusoga in Conversation: Black History Matters
David Olusoga shares his personal perspective on how we memorialise, teach and write about racism, and why black British history matters.

Young Rebels with Malorie Blackman
Former Children’s Laureate, Malorie Blackman, reflects on her writing career and how her work has been adapted into graphic fiction, plays and TV series.

PEN Pinter Prize: Linton Kwesi Johnson
The PEN Pinter Prize was established in 2009 by the charity English PEN, which defends freedom of expression and celebrates literature.

Jane Eyre: Gothic Rebel
Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre is a classic example of defied convention. It presented a new voice, fully convinced of her defiance and standing up against adult tyranny.

Jacqueline Wilson: Rebel Girls
Much-loved author Jacqueline Wilson talks about writing rebel girls who stand up for friendship, justice, and what they believe in.

More Archive Recordings
More recordings are available to view in the Living Knowledge Network Archive, including events with Stephen Fry, Ian McKellen, and Nigella Lawson.


The Book of Sheffield City Read

The Book of Sheffield was the City Read for 2020; a collection of short stories set in our city and written by established, celebrated, and emerging Sheffield authors.  

Thanks to the generosity of the project sponsor Sheffield Hallam University Library, and the book publisher, Comma Press, we were able to give away thousands of free copies in location across the city.  We also ran a programme of online activity to accompany the giveaway.

Like a Night Out in Sheffield
Johny Pitts in conversation with Desiree Reynolds
Watch now


Born on Sunday, Silent
Desiree Reyolds in conversation with Yvonne Battle-Felton
Watch now

The Making of the Book of Sheffield
Catherine Taylor, editor of the book in Conversation
Watch now

More fun stuff...

The Time is Now
Check out the playlist produced by Naomi Frisby to accompany her story, The Time is Now.  Listen on Spotify or YouTube Music now.

Born on Sunday - video
Watch this video, produced for the City Read and filmed in Sheffield General Cemetery to accompany Desiree's story, Born on Sunday, Silent

Reading Group Pack
Download The Book of Sheffield Reading Group Pack as a PDF or Word file


The Sheffield Libraries Podcast

From our librarians, archivists and fascinating friends, join us to delve deeper into the subjects, stories and collections that we find interesting, and hope that you will too…

Listen online or through your favourite podcast provider.



Episode 1.  
Simon Barnes - Rewild Yourself: 23 Spellbinding Way to Make Nature More Visible 
Simon’s latest bookis full of great tips to bring us closer to the nature that exists all around us, and how to enrich our everyday lives in the process.  

Discover more about Simon's work at his website


Episode 2. 
Martin Westby - Sheffield Home of Football
Martin explains the beginnings of the beautiful game and the truly massive contribution that Sheffield made to the development of the world’s most popular sport.

Discover more about Martin's work at his website 


Episode 3. 
Introducing The Book of Sheffield
Our own Alexis and Claire chat about the upcoming Sheffield City Read 2020.  We're giving away thousands of free copies of the book as part of The Sheffield Year of Reading.  Discover more about it here.


Episode 4. 
The Making of The Book of Sheffield:  Catherine Taylor in Conversation
In this episode, Catherine Taylor, the editor of The Book of Sheffield shares her personal perspective on our ever changing city and offer some insight into the process behind making the book a reality.


Episode 5.
Tristan Gooley - The Natural Navigator
In this episode, our guest is the natural navigator Tristan Gooley.  Tristan is the author of several books including the The Walkers guide to Outdoor Clues and Signs, How to read water, and How to Connect with Nature.

Discover more about Tristan's work at his website


Episode 6.
The Time is Now - Naomi Frisby in Conversation
Naomi's short story The Time is Now features in The Book of Sheffield – the Big City Read for 2020 and part of the ongoing Sheffield Year of Reading. Naomi’s story blends music and emotion with magic and a strong sense of place.

Discover more about Naomi's work at her website


Episode 7.
The Story of Walter Parsonson and the Making of Sheffield Libraries
In this episode, Val Hewson from Reading Sheffield discusses the life of 'young' Walter Parsonson; Sheffield's first public librarian, and his role in the setting up of Sheffield Public Libraries, over 160 years ago.  It offers a glimpse into life in Sheffield back in Victorian times.

Discover more about Reading Sheffield at there website


Episode 8.
Helen Mort in Conversation: Writing, Motherhood, Dogs, and Place
In this episode we speak to the writer, runner and mum, Helen Mort. Helen’s fantastic short story Weaning, is one of 10 included in The Book of Sheffield, this year’s Big City Read.  We also hear about her new book, Never Leave the Dog Behind, a work of non-fiction all about the unbridled joy of heading to the hills with our four-legged friends.  

Discover more about Helen's work at her website

Episode 9.
Stuart Turton - 'The Devil and the Dark Water'
In this episode we speak to crime author Stuart Turton about 'The Devil and the Dark Water'. Stuart's first novel, 'The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle'  played with the traditional country house mystery and his latest does the same with the brilliant detective and sidekick novel. Stuart talks the book and his writing life.

Discover more about Stuart's work at his website

Episode 10.
Karl Newson in Conversation: Writing, publishing, storytelling and our love of libraries
Karl chats about children’s book publishing, our love of libraries while sharing with us his most recent book releases including brand new young fiction title, The Hat Full of Secrets.

Discover more about Karl's work at his website


Episode 11.
Emma Smith in Conversation: This is Shakespeare
Emma Smith chats about her book 'This is Shakespeare'. We talk about Shakespeare's 'gappiness', why A Midsummer Night's Dream isn't as innocent as it seems, and what we don't like about Shakespeare...

Discover more about Emma's work on her webpage


Episode 12.
The Art of Disruption:  Magid Magid in Conversation
Former MEP and Sheffield Lord Mayor chats about his new book, Donald Trump, and his time in office.

Discover more about Magid on his website


Episode 13.
Becoming a Writer with Nik Perring
Listen to Sheffield Libraries' Writer in Residence Nik Perring as he shares his top writing tips.

Discover more about Nik's work on his website


Episode 14.
Earl Waltheof: Sheffield's King Arthur?
Freedom Fighter, City Father, Romantic Hero?  Professor John Moreland and Dr David Clarke discuss the Waltheof, the last Saxon Lord of Hallamshire, and the quest for Sheffield's Camelot!

Discover more about the subject by reading John’s book, which is free to download, or visit 
the Friends of Sheffield Castle website
Learn more about the Centre for Contemporary Legend at the website


Episode 15.
Gender Swapped Fairy Tales
Our guests for this episode are wife and husband team, Karrie Fransman and Jonathan Plackett.  Their new book Gender Swapped Fairy Tales imagines a world where the princesses wear shining armour and race to rescue their sleeping prince, and where kings sit by windows sewing and longing for a child. 

Discover more on their website 

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