VIDEO PREVIEW: Nick Clegg among big names at Sheffield's Off The Shelf 2016 book festival

Former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is to reveal all about his role at the heart of the former coalition Government as a headline guest speaker at this year's Sheffield Off The Shelf book festival.

The 49-year-old Sheffield Hallam MP will kick start the festival when he talks about his new book Between the Extremes.

It gives a frank account of his experiences of politics, power and defeat.

Now one of the largest literary festivals in the UK, attracting some of the best known names in literature and media to Sheffield, this year's 25th anniversary line-up includes celebrity chef Hugh Fernley Whittingstall, TV presenter and actor Tony Robinson, award winning journalist John Pilger, Labour's former home Secretary Alan Johnson, New Faces winner, singer and actress Patti Boulaye, artist, illustrator and hip-hop musician Kid Acne and best selling authors such as Nick Hornby,

There will be special events to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, 200 years since the birth of Charlotte Brontë and 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl.

The festival will also begin a new chapter in its own history,with both the University Of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University working together to support and evolve it, in association with Sheffield City Council and Lottery funded Arts Council England.

The Star is a gold sponsor along with The University of Sheffield Students Union and Open College of the Arts.

Off The Shelf runs from October 8 to 29, with around 200 events at venues across the city and some major talks outside those dates.

Sheffield Hallam University will help kick-start Off The Shelf with the Nick Clegg talk, in conversation with head of politics Dr Andy Price, at its Pennine Theatre on Friday, September 16.

He will outline his rise in the 2010 general election, through his tumultuous years as Deputy Prime Minister, to defeat in 2015, whilst also reflecting on the future of British politics.
Dr Price said: "It should be a fascinating talk. The current political climate provides a really interesting backdrop to the conversation and it will be illuminating to get his insights, whilst also questioning him on his own time in Government."

Nick Clegg to speak at Sheffield's Off The Shelf

Nick Clegg to speak at Sheffield's Off The Shelf

Francesca Martinez, the comedian, actor and writer, is a guest curator and will host a day - Sunday, November 6 - with the theme, How to Create a Better World.

In a video message, at an event at the Crucible theatre to launch this year's festival programme - watch it here - she said: “I had such a great time at Off the Shelf when I was invited to talk about my book, that I was absolutely thrilled when they asked me to be guest curator.

"I have always been fascinated by the questions: Just how do we create a more harmonious and happy world? And who really shapes the world - the politicians or the people? I hope the day will be both stimulating and thought provoking.”

There were performances from poet Gevi Carter about her 11 tales from around the world with a musical theme, author Richard Hines introduced his memoir No Way but Gentleness, the real story behind being the inspiration for Kes, and local singer/ songwriter Nat Johnson premiered two of her three commissioned songs about the Brontes.

Off The Shelf team - left to right - Su Walker, Maria de Souza and Lesley Webster celebrate with 25th anniversary cake.

Off The Shelf team - left to right - Su Walker, Maria de Souza and Lesley Webster celebrate with 25th anniversary cake.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin, the university of Sheffield's Director of City and Cultural Engagement and Chair of Sheffield Culture Consortium,said: “We are delighted that this year's Off the Shelf heralds a creative new partnership between the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam to become part of the Curatorial Board.

"The Festival is a unique Sheffield institution and demonstrates the vibrancy, creativity and experience that our city is celebrated for and one that is enjoyed by students and staff alike.

"This new relationship includes student and research engagement, specially curated programmes by our academics alongside world class writing and literature by the authors. We are proud to help support and enrich such a wonderful event.”

Coun Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure, hosted an official launch at The Crucible theatre and said: “Once again Off the Shelf demonstrates its weight as a high profile literary festival on the national calendar, attracting an array of worldwide literary talent. The festival plays homage to its home city and the people in it by celebrating local writers within a jam packed programme as well as including numerous community and fringe events.”

For more information on Off the Shelf, including the full programme visit offtheshelf.org.uk

Follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OffTheShelf and on twitter @otsfestival

'Thrilled' to be an Off The Shelf curator says Francesca Martinez in a video message

'Thrilled' to be an Off The Shelf curator says Francesca Martinez in a video message

Guest Curator Francesca Martinez www.francescamartinez.com on Twitter at @chessmartinez

Off The Shelf programme launch guests and organisers

Off The Shelf programme launch guests and organisers

The real Billy Casper - Richard Hines, brothers of late great Kes writer Barry, with his new memoir No Way But Gentleness

The real Billy Casper - Richard Hines, brothers of late great Kes writer Barry, with his new memoir No Way But Gentleness