Skip to main content
A Magazine for Sheffield

Read All About It

Alice Megan spotlights five novels set in Sheffield to tide you over as summer draws to an end, from mystery suspense to modern rom com.

Our city melds the industrial history of steel works with the modern reinventions these places have become. And with the gorgeous, iconic Peak District on the doorstep it’s no surprise that Sheffield has become a feature location in a number of fiction books in recent years.

With autumn bringing cooler nights and lockdown rules leaning towards 10pm closing times, you might find yourself with more space for reading. With this is mind, here are some of my favourite books with Sheffield as the backdrop.

All five are set in Sheffield and offer a different perspective on our city. It’s reassuring to recognise our city’s areas and landmarks in fiction books and it’s also interesting to see how we’re perceived by outsiders.

Dont you forget about me book cover

Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

The end of school life is where we join Georgina. A little unlucky in love, she takes us on her journey of hapless tales, terrible men and circumstances so tragically funny they’d have to be true. Don’t You Forget About Me is a funny, heartwarming, easy-to-read story of love. You’ll recognise many Sheffield landmarks, including the Botanical Gardens.

Bleak Water by Danuta Reah

Bleak Water is a suspense novel harking back to an industrial Sheffield and the freights that supported our steel works. The canals are no longer functional and are being renovated around the city, but away from the centre the canal holds murky secrets beyond its overgrown exterior. A local curator begins an exhibition in an old warehouse along the canal, but the death of a nearby resident and a missing teenager lead her to chase down answers. A dark tale that shows another side of Sheffield.

Granny Was A Buffer Girl by Berlie Doherty

A book written in the 80s covering a vast time period from the 30s to the 80s, Granny Was A Buffer Girl tells the story of several generations of a Sheffield family and its changing fortunes as the city evolves, eventually leading to the decline of industry and the unemployment that followed. Chapters are focused on differing generations in Sheffield and what happened during their time, brought together as a coming-of-age story for our narrator, Jess. Love, loyalty and change over the ages in our city.

Ours are the streets book cover

Ours Are The Streets by Sunjeev Sahota

A gripping story of a second generation British Pakistani man living in Sheffield. Married to a white woman, he seems assimilated into British life and culture when a family death leads to a return to Pakistan, where he becomes radicalised. On his return to Sheffield he plans to detonate a bomb at Meadowhall. A tough read which really shines a light on a polarised Britain and the effects of the War on Terror.

Crossed Wires by Rosy Thornton

Mina is working in a Sheffield call centre when one call changes everything. Crossed Wires is a charming, thoroughly modern romantic comedy exploring small stories, coincidences and how the things that separate us can also bring us together. An easy read and one that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy.

More Wordlife

Jim Ottewill Out of Space

Author Jim Ottewill's new book is a fantastic exploration of clubs, their associated cultures and the sanctuary they still give to generations of the nation's youth in good times and bad.

Helen Mort A Line Above the Sky – Q&A

In advance of her book launch and conversation with rock climber Shauna Coxsey MBE at the Festival of Debate on 23rd April, Helen Mort talks to Rachel Bower about mountains, motherhood and women's bodies.

Own Your Period by Chella Quint

While Chella Quint’s guide to periods for pre-teens may challenge conservative parents, it is vital and inclusive in a revolutionary way.

More Wordlife