Sheffield, like Rome, is built on seven hills, so it follows that Sheffield, like Rome, attracts a poet or two. For the modern-day Keatses and Shelleys, there are plenty of live literature events to pop along to and perform at, and more independent poetry presses than you can shake a stick at, from Three Drops to The Poetry Business, publishers of the Poet Laureate’s annual Choice series. Carol Ann might be based in one of the Rainy City’s seats of learning, but over in the Steel City there’s still plenty going on related to the two universities, Of and Hallam.
Here are our picks
La Biblioteka, Kommune, Castle House, Sheffield, S3 8LN - Visit now
It doesn’t just sell books – the upstairs room also plays host to some bulging-at-the-seams live literature shindigs, including the regular Electric Arc Furnace poetry reading series, which showcases innovative guest poets from the South Yorkshire hinterlands as well as rather more further-flung destinations.
Centre for Poetry and Poetics at University of Sheffield, Jessop West 1 Upper Hanover Street, Sheffield, S3 7RA - Visit now
Run out of the University of Sheffield, the CPP is a hotbed of research that also aims to make and promote writing, symposia, conversations and readings welcome to all. Keep tabs on the centre’s Facebook page for up-to-the-minute details on events, including visiting guests from as far afield as across the pond.
Gardeners Rest, 105 Neepsend Lane, Sheffield, S3 8AT - Visit now
This independent, community-run hub in a pub has all kinds of cosy, welcoming events, including craft beer festivals and live jazz nights, plus regular book launches and the monthly open mic night Gorilla Poetry, which takes place every third Monday, and is free and open to all (and not just poets!).
Rhyme & Reason, 681 Ecclesall Road, Sheffield, S11 8TG - Visit now
Official booksellers of the Off the Shelf literature festival, indie bookshop Rhyme & Reason can be spotted at other events around the city, and in their own bricks and mortar premises, where you’ll find fiction, non-fiction, poetry and kids’ stuff/YA. Forget online – shop local; they’ll order anything you fancy.
Theatre Delicatessen, 202 Eyre Street, Sheffield, S1 4QZ - Visit now
You’ll find a top-quality literature event or two to make a beeline for at multi-arts venue Theatre Deli. Home to feminist arts collective Verse Matters’ bi-monthly platforms for poetry, spoken word, storytelling and more, it also sees regular events and workshops from the likes of Yorkshire-based literature organisation Word Life.