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

What is Digesting History?

Digesting History has been created as part of Collections in Verse, a collaboration between Poet in the City, the British Library and Sheffield Libraries using poetry events and commissions to bring British Library exhibitions to life in four cities across the UK. The work in Sheffield was inspired by the British Library’s sold-out exhibition Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War.

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. The evening will be hosted by Silé Sibanda.

What will I be seeing?

  • An introduction by host Silé Sibanda
  • A musical performance by Rosie Hood
  • "Where Two Rivers Meet" screening of film by Eelyn Lee, narrated by Johny Pitts.
  • An insight into the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition by curator Claire Breay
  • An interview and reading by poet Joe Kriss
  • A presentation by Johanna Blakey, PhD in Linguistics at Sheffield, on social change and linguistic variation
  • An interview and reading by poet Kayo Chingonyi
  • A discussion of how Sheffield Libraries have adapted during the pandemic by Dan Marshall
  • An interview and reading by poet Rachel Bower
  • A closing performance by Rosie Hood

Who will be performing?

Explore the performer biographies here.

How do I watch?

A link to the event will be sent out before the show upon booking your ticket. The event will be broadcast on YouTube (so other participants will not be able to see you!). Closed captioning is available for the event.

Recipe Collection

In the run up to our digital dinner time experience Digesting History, Sheffield Libraries, British Library and Poet in the City are uncovering recipes that make up the heritage of Sheffield.

We want to hear the recipes that are important to you.

On our Facebook event page, share your recipes, stories and memories below for a chance to be featured in a recipe booklet, published by Sheffield Libraries and distributed across the city.
Tickets & Details

The 300 physical packs have now all been sent out, but sign up to the event below and download a digital pack, courtesy of The Bare Project, by clicking the link below.

Download a digital recipe & poetry pack


The event is free to attend, but if you're able to make a donation, your much-needed contribution will go to Open Kitchen Social Club, a community programme that provides food and support for destitute asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and those in need.

Open Kitchen image © Smart Banda


In preparing this project, Digesting History we have, as is common, called this period of history Anglo Saxon. However, on the point of presentation we have become aware of a conversation that challenges that terminology as racist and prefers Early Medieval. We used the term Anglo Saxon in good faith and welcome further conversations and discussions for future projects. The continual need to re-examine history and language is at the core of Poet in the City's collaborations.

Booking for this event has now closed.