Hope Season

It's cold outside and while dark days and long nights still lie ahead, hope is at last on the horizon.  
With that in mind, here is a series of online talks, workshops, and podcasts that we hope you'll find optimistic and inspiring.  Perhaps they'll make you reflect on the past, reconsider the future, or maybe just offer distraction for an hour or two when you need it.

We're constantly adding new events  so keep checking this page for updates.


Dear 2021...

At the end of 2020, our Writer in Residence Nik Perring worked with a group of Sheffielders to reflect on the past year and look forward hopefully to he future.

Dear 2021: The Start of it, was a series of writing workshops run by Sheffield Libraries Writer in Residence Nik Perring. Visit our YouTube channel and enjoy the amazing contributions filmed at home by the participants of the project.

In association with Libraries Connected and Hive South Yorkshire.  

Online Events

We're constantly adding new events  so keep checking this page for updates

Poetry Pharmacy

Saturday 9th January, 10.30am

Join poetry lovers online to share poems that make us feel better. Bring along your own or someone else’s poem to this online poetry event.

More poetry sessions coming soon

Rootbound - A Conversation with Alice Vincent

Join Alice Vincent, editor, blogger and author of new book Rootbound, Rewilding a Life to talk about how plants and gardens can mend the soul. 

Mindfulness for Parents

Tuesday 2nd February, 1.30pm

If you are feeling a bit frazzled after Christmas, let down by lockdown and stuck with the January Blues while chasing after the kids and trying to home school, this session is for you. Part of our NEW Parenting Pod.

Mindfulness is concerned with paying attention to the present moment, without getting stuck in the past or worrying about the future. In this introductory session you will work through the basics and explore the benefits of mindfulness in your everyday life. 

More sessions coming soon

Tea and Verse

Thursday 4th February, 2.30pm

Where's there's tea, there's hope!  And words help too.    Join us for  relaxing poetry, you can share your favourite poem, or just sit back with your mug and listen. More sessions coming soon

Stoicism and Hope

Monday 8th February, 7.30pm

John Sellars is the author of Lessons in Stoicism. In vivid prose, he shows how the works of the Stoics have inspired readers ever since, speaking as they do to some of the perennial issues that face anyone trying to navigate their way through life. Their works, fundamentally, are about how to live -- how to understand one's place in the world, how to cope when things don't go well, how to manage one's emotions and how to behave towards others.

Consoling and inspiring, Lessons in Stoicism is a deeply thoughtful guide to the philosophy of a good life.

The Great British Bucket List 

Monday 22nd February, 7.30pm

Richard Madden has been a travel writer for more than 25 years.  He has visited all seven continents and crossed the Andes on horseback, crewed a Whitbread Round the World boat, and cycled across America.

In this event, Richard shares his ultimate British must-do list.  As well as offering an insight into the life of travel writer, he also looks forward to his next book about the best British wildlife experiences.

Book now

Skin: It Takes Blood and Guts 

Tuesday 23rd February, 7pm

Lead singer of multi-million-selling rock band Skunk Anansie, solo artist, LGBTQ+ activist and all around trail blazer – Skin is a global icon, and she has been smashing stereotypes for over twenty-five years. Her journey from Brixton to one of the most influential women in British rock is nothing short of extraordinary. Her success has been ground-breaking in every way, which has come at a personal cost. She has always been vocal about social and cultural issues and was championing LGBTQ+ rights at a time when few artists were out and gay.

An LGBTQ+ History month event in partnership with Lambeth Libraries

Digesting History

Thursday 25th February, 8pm

Come dine with us online! Take a seat at our digital dinner table for a menu of poetry, conversation and film.

Inspired by the Anglo-Saxon tradition of feasting, we will come together in our homes for a unique dinner time experience to share recipes, riddles and brand-new poetry from Rachel Bower, Kayo Chingonyi and Joe Kriss. Sparked by conversations with communities across Sheffield, this new body of work spans the evolution of local dialect, women’s inherited objects and what it means to be British. 

Using Anglo Saxon life as a starting point, we will explore the importance of community spaces to local identity through talks, discussion, and the premiere of a new film by award-winning film-maker, Eelyn Lee that celebrates Sheffield’s communities and the outstanding efforts of Food Banks.

Digesting History will take place online. You will receive further details about accessing the event upon registering for a ticket below. The first 300 Sheffield residents to sign up will receive a curated package of poems and recipes delivered to their doors from interactive arts company The Bare Project!

Sanctuary in Sheffield:  How Sheffield became a Cosmopolitan City

Monday 1st March, 11am

Author and local historian David Price gives an illustrated talk exploring the history of migration to ‘England’s biggest village’.  Based on his book, Welcome to Sheffield, David will describe the current diversity in the city and explain why different ethnic groups came, how they have settled, and the way in which migrants have been received.

For more information about the book, including where you can buy a copy, visit https://welcometosheffieldbook.co.uk/

An Introduction to Writing Fantasy with Nik Perring

Friday 5th March, 6.00pm

Learn how to write convincing Fantasy with Nik Perring (Not So Perfect, Freaks!).
This exciting, online, workshop is perfect for anyone with an eye for the fantastic – it doesn’t matter if you’re brand new to writing, or whether you’ve experience under your tunic.

Writing Workshop:  New Beginnings

Saturday 6th March, 10.30am 

A creative writing workshop for new or established writers, where we'll be looking at new beginnings in literature and poetry, then writing creatively on this subject. You'll need Zoom to access the event. 

Paradise is Here:  Building Community Around Things That Matter

Tuesday 9th March, 10.30am

Ruth Nutter is the author of Paradise is Here: Building Community Around Things That Matter.  An event all about connecting local communities with each other, unearthing creativity,  re-energising local buildings and spaces, and giving people a voice in their local future.  More details to follow.

Ageless:  The New Science of Getting Older Without Getting Old
with Dr Andrew Steele

Thursday 11th March, 7.30pm

Ageing - not cancer, not heart disease - is the leading cause of death and suffering.  Ageless is a guide to the science driving biology's biggest story: why we get old, and how we can stop it. With audience Q&A.

Poetry Meet:  Springtime

Friday 12th March, 10.30am 

Join poetry lovers online to share poems that celebrate springtime, life, and hope of new beginnings.  Bring along your own or someone else’s poem to this online poetry event.

Daydream Believing with Nik Perring

Monday 15th March, 6.00pm

As part of Sheffield Libraries’ Hope season of events, work with Writer in Residence, Nik Perring, to embrace your imaginations. Learn how to let your mind wander until it rests on something beautiful. 
Nik will show you there are endless beautiful things to write about, and show you how to spot them – in the world, on our doorstep, even when we close our eyes.

International Bestseller Peter May:  The Night Gate

Tuesday 23rd March, 6.30pm

A story of mystery, resistance, and hope.

The body of a  man shot through  the  head  is  disinterred  by the roots of a  fallen  tree. A famous art critic is viciously murdered in a nearby house. Both deaths occurred more than 70 years apart.

Asked by a forensic archaeologist in Paris to take a look at the site of the former, Enzo Macleod quickly finds himself embroiled in the investigation of the latter, and two narratives are set in train - one historical, unfolding against a backdrop of real events in Occupied France in the 1940s; the other contemporary, set in a France going back into Covid lockdown in the autumn of 2020.  At the heart of both is da Vinci's Mona Lisa.

Booking opens 15th February


Join the Library Community

Even though we can't gather together in the library, we can still come together online to share our common interests.  We have lots of regular activities for adults, either already running or soon to begin.  All activities are free and everyone is welcome.

Regular activities already running or coming soon
  • Poetry Meet
  • Play Reading
  • Writing Group
  • Tea and Verse
  • Shared Reading
  • Craft Group
  • Parent Pod
  • Book Clubs
To find and join an event, visit our Eventbrite page online.


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 to previous episodes online or through your favourite podcast provider.

Latest episodes...

Radical Acts of Love:  How we Find Hope at the End of Life
Janie Brown chats about her book, Radical Acts of Love.  Janie is an author, a leader in oncology nursing, and the executive director of Callanis, a nonprofit organization in Vancouver, Canada.  Full of wisdom and warmth, Janie's book is part of global conversation about living, healing, death and dying.

New Year, New Reading!
Listen to Alex, Alexis and Dan from Sheffield Libraries chat about the books they enjoyed during 2020 and the reads they're looking forward to in 2021.

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. In this book, traditional stories take on a whole new dimension thanks to the unusual partnership of a computer algorithm and some very beautiful illustration.

Listen now

Archive Recordings from the Living Knowledge Network 

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 Hope Season.

Stephen Fry in conversation with Shappi Khorsandi
Taking place in October, this special event celebrated the power of Literature.  Actor, comedian and writer Stephen Fry talks to comedian and author Shappi Khorsandi about writing across forms – from sketch comedy to poetry, independently and in collaboration, written and performed – that has elevated him to the status of national treasure. 

Walled In: Ben Okri, David Hare and Samira Ahmed
Writers Ben Okri, David Hare and Samira Ahmed consider walls in literature and in our lives; physical, political, societal and spiritual. This event was livestreamed from the British Library on 23 September 2019 to public libraries across the UK as part of Banned Books Week, the celebration of the freedom to read. e Service, Libraries Connected, Media Diversified and The Publisher’s Association. 

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.

Michael Cashman in Conversation with Ian McKellan
Michael Cashman has lived many lives, all of them remarkable: as an actor; as a campaigner for gay rights; as an MEP; and as a life peer. To mark the publication of his biography back in February, he joined Ian McKellen in conversation about his extraordinary life.


  1. Hi, The links to 'watch now' aren't working?

    1. I'm so sorry, the links had broken for some reason. We've now reinstated them and you can watch the event recordings whenever you're ready.

      Kind regards
      Alexis (Sheffield Libraries)


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