Black History Month

Writer in Residence

Sheffield-based novelist, short story writer, journalist and DJ Désirée Reynolds has been studying the unsung histories of Black and marginalised Sheffield residents preserved in the records at Sheffield City Archives.  

Sheffield is often lauded as a centre for radical anti-slavery protest; while this is undoubtedly true, it is only part of the story. The less palatable truths are just below the surface, they’re buried in the archives, we just need to find them.


As part of her Writer in Residence role for the ‘Dig Where You Stand’ project, Désirée will bring to life hidden stories of centuries past and do them justice by exploring reparative justice and disseminating findings in a number of public spaces across the city from 25-30 October 2021 including the Central Library and Moor Market.


Now Then Magazine is serialising the Dig Where You Stand project with writing by Désirée Reynolds and poems by Otis Mensah over the rest of the month. 

Read Now Then online

Discover more about Sheffield’s anti-slavery movement

Event - The Archives and Reparative Justice 

Millennium Galleries, 12:30pm
Thursday 21 October 2021 
Book your Ticket

Writer Desirée Reynolds and archivist Cheryl Bailey will be delivering an illustrated talk discussing Désirée's work as Writer in Residence at Sheffield Archives and the hidden voices that will inform her next book. The 'Take It To The Streets' project aims to bring the Black and marginalised voices out of the archive, provide some form of reparative justice and to bring to the public a Sheffield past that has not been looked at on this scale before.  Part of the Off the Shelf Festival.

Recording - Born on a Sunday, Silent

In 2019, Desirée wrote Born on Sunday, Silent, a powerful short story (published in ‘The Book of Sheffield’ by Comma Press) about the unmarked grave of an African child dating from the early 1900s. The story is told by a child spirit called Kai Akosua Mansah who wanders through Sheffield’s libraries and archives uncovering her own past.  

In 2020 we interviewed Desirée about the story.

Watch a video of Desiree discussing discussing Born on a Sunday, Silent

In Partnership with Lambeth Libraries

Book List Challenge

Check out this curated list of books by black writers and illustrators.  How many can you read before the end of 2021?

View the list

Black Books for Kids

Join Liz Chapman of Sheffield Libraries and Zoey Dixon of Lambeth Libraries as they chat about the books they have been reading and loved by Black writers and illustrators for kids and teens. 

View online

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