Chris Sheppard lecture series inspired by literary archives at Leeds

This month sees the first event in a new University lecture series honouring the memory of Chris Sheppard, former Head of Special Collections.


The first speaker is bestselling crime author Sophie Hannah, whose archives are held in Special Collections.

Chris Sheppard was the driving force behind the Library’s Special Collections for over thirty years. His genius for friendship and his scholarship led to great success in acquiring significant collections and archives, including those of modern authors with connections with Leeds. He had a sublime gift for communicating the joy of studying books and their histories. His lectures on the history of the collections were a tour de force and are remembered for their wit and erudition. Chris died in September 2014 from a brain tumour.

“When we thought how we should best remember Chris, it seemed only fitting that his outstanding work with literary archives and his gift for sharing the amazing stories from the collections should be combined in some way” says Dr Stella Butler, University Librarian. “We hope that the lecture series will promote the collections that Chris brought to Leeds to a wider audience and continue his work in building relationships with living authors.”

The first speaker, Sophie Hannah, wrote poetry and her first crime novels whilst living in Yorkshire. Sophie’s archive is held in the Library, it provides a fascinating insight into the writing process. Her psychological crime fiction appears on bestseller lists worldwide, she won a Crime Thriller National Book Award in 2013 and her work has been adapted for television.

Sophie will deliver the first Chris Sheppard lecture on Tuesday 23 February at 5.30pm in the Clothworkers’ Centenary Concert Hall. During the talk, Agatha, Poirot and Me, she will share her creative experience of writing two new Poirot mysteries, as well as discuss the continuation novel as a cultural phenomenon.

Tickets are free and can be booked from

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