Bringing Global Literary Talent To Glasgow Throughout 2016
Aye Write! Glasgow’s Book Festival returns to the Mitchell Library on March 10 and runs until March 20, 2016, while Wee Write!, Glasgow’s Book Festival for Children and Young People, runs from February 29 to March 5, 2016.
The festival is more varied than ever before.
The leaders of Scotland’s five biggest political parties at Holyrood, a past winner of the Great British Bake off, the former Governor of the Bank of England, a Blue Peter presenter, a Masterchef judge and established literary talent introducing stars of the future.
Nicola Sturgeon, Kezia Dugdale, Ruth Davidson, Willie Rennie and Patrick Harvie will each discuss “The Books that Made Me” at dedicated events. Also appearing will be the former Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King: “Money, Banking and the Future of the Global Economy”. I certainly won't miss George Monbiot, one of my favourite journalists, who will look at Politics, Equality and Nature by asking “How did we get in this mess?”
As well as politics and economics, Aye Write! will have a new strand specifically aimed at people who like comics, gaming and unsettling fiction called Aye Con which will feature Christopher Brookmyre, Kirsty Strain and Metaphrog amongst many others.
Also appearing at Aye Write! are Frances Quinn, the winner of the Great British Bake off in 2013, comedian Limmy, Joan Bakewell, former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis, Alexei Sayle, Masterchef judge John Torode, Grange Hill and Brookside creator Phil Redmond, former MP Tam Dalyell, Stuart Cosgrove and presenter of Radio 4’s Saturday Live and former Communard, The Reverend Richard Coles.
Wee Write! has an incredible line up specifically designed for schools and a families day on Saturday 5 March to give younger readers the chance to experience a literary festival. Among the highlights are a chance to explore the Science of Star Wars and Doctor Who, award winning author/illustrator Nick Sharrat discussing his new book and the opportunity to develop and use code to get writing. Sessions are aimed at children aged between 0 and 16 and full details of the families day can be found at www.weewrite.co.uk
This year Aye Write! is delighted to announce the launch of the Wee Write! Reading and Literacy Fund. Wee Write! is committed to inspiring children and young people to fall in love with reading; feeding their imagination and unlocking a world of opportunity and discovery through exciting author talks and workshops. We need your support to help us create the same life-changing opportunities for all children right across Glasgow,
You can help the Wee Write! team to inspire young people and develop a love of reading in children in Glasgow. Text READING to 70300 and donate £3 today. Small change can make a big difference to our children’s future potential.
On Thursday 10 March, Aye Write! returns with Kezia Dugdale MSP, Mervyn King and Mohammad Sarwar who will outline how a boy from Pakistan became a hugely successful businessman and Britain’s first Muslim MP. Graham Hancock, who wrote an astonishing and controversial account of ancient civilisations 20 years ago, has now written a sequel to “Fingerprints of the Gods” called “Magicians of the Gods” which he will be discussing at Aye Write! while James Harkin and Andrew Hosken will take you “Inside Islamic State”.
Friday 11 March, join actor and comedian Brian ‘Limmy’ Limond as he chats about his first book “Daft Wee Stories”. TV and radio presenter and former NME journalist Stuart Cosgrove lifts the lid on “Young Soul Rebel: A Personal History of Northern Soul” that tells the compelling and intimate story of Northern Soul. Aye Write! will also welcome back Louis De Bernieres, the writer of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin with his new collection of poems “Of Love and Desire”. Cara Ellison and Keza MacDonald who will take you “Inside the Minds of Gamers and Games Creators”.
Also appearing on Friday night (11 March) for the first time at Aye Write! are The Bookshop Band, who write songs inspired by books and play them in bookshops. Alex Gordon and Maggie Dunn discuss “The Heyday of Scottish Newspapers” and author Craig Robertson introduces Matt Johnson and Michelle Davis to Aye Write! for the first time to talk about their debut crime novels.
On Saturday (12 March) Aye Write! begins a new strand of events aimed at people who love graphic novels, gaming and unsettling fiction called Aye Con. The first session features Tasha Kavanagh and Laura Powell who have each recently had eerie and deeply moving novels published that will appeal to fans of books that leave you emotionally drained.
Also on Saturday is the second of the sessions with the Scottish party leaders as Conservative MSP Ruth Davidson discusses “The Books That Made Me” while Joan Bakewell returns to Aye Write! with “Stop the Clocks: Thoughts on What I Leave Behind”. Aye Write also welcomes back former MP Tam Dalyell who offers his own perspective on the ramifications of the No vote in the Scottish independence referendum and the huge surge in support for the SNP in the 2015 General Election as he discusses his book “A Fractured Union”.
Sarah Shephard, the features editor of Sport Magazine who has written “Kicking Off: How Women in Sport are Changing the Game” will be at Aye Write! on March 12 and Marcus Berkmann celebrates half a century of the most famous science fiction franchise in “Set Phasers to Stun: 50 years of Star Trek”. Paul Du Noyer has known Paul McCartney for over a quarter of a century, conducting interviews and writing articles and editorial for him over that period. “Conversations with McCartney” is the result of that long association producing a fascinating insight into one of the greatest popular musicians ever.
Former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis will also be with us on Saturday 12 March with her debut novel “The Butcher’s Hook” and Aye Write! regular Christopher Brookmyre is back to tell us about his brilliant new psychological thriller “Black Widow”. There’s also “An Evening of Novels and Songs” with James Yorkston and Colin MacIntyre who, as well as both being accomplished and successful musicians in their own right, have just published their debut novels.
Aye Write! continues on Sunday 13 March with another full day of events featuring established and new talent and a global span of topics. The UK’s leading political and environmental commentator George Monbiot talks about his collected journalism of the last seven years which asks “How did we get in this mess?” and offers his take on how we can change.
Ben Stewart will tell the story of the Arctic 30, a group of protestors who faced 15 years in a Russian prison for protesting about drilling in the Arctic. Ben’s book “Don’t Trust, Don’t Fear, Don’t Beg” chronicles their harrowing tale and will be recounted in conversation with Frank Hewetson, one of the Arctic 30.
Joining them at Aye Write! is Ian Overton who has travelled across the world investigating gun ownership for his book “Gun Baby Gun” while Roland White goes even further afield charting the maiden flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia and the challenges the crews and NASA faced despite it being the most advanced flying machine ever built. “Into the Black” is a celebration of a machine which rekindled the world’s passion for spaceflight.
Father and Son, John and Jack Sutherland will tells us about Jack’s life as a celebrity PA and bodyguard in Hollywood and how, once he was exposed to many addictions, John, a Professor of English at UCL, helped his son beat his dependency as they discuss “Stars, Cars and Crystal Meth” and Margaret Macmillan will question what difference individuals make to history when talking about her book “History’s People”.
Also appearing on Sunday 13th March are Bobby Bluebell and Colin McCredie who will help David F. Ross tell his story of “The Rise and Fall of the Miraculous Vespas”, Ayrshire’s greatest band and Adam White will bring to Aye Write! the secret workings of the Motown record label which delivered hit after hit on the 60s, 70s and 80s for the likes of Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross from his book “Motown: The Sound of Young America.”
There are returns for Denise Mina and Brooke Magnanti who will be part of the panel at Noir at the Bar, the popular Glasgow author event which is staging a special session at Aye Write! while Adrian Searle of Freight Publishing introduces us to Jem Lester and Lara Williams who both have debut novels.
On Tuesday 15th March former Communard and now Church of England Reverend Richard Coles explains “How I went from Pop to the Pulpit” and Aye Write! celebrates the work of playwright, poet, novelist and children’s author Jackie Kay. Alex Gray, the writer of the DCI William Lorimer novels and co-founder of the Bloody Scotland book festival appears alongside Bill Daly who will be reading from his latest book in the DCI Charlie Anderson series “Cutting Edge”.
On Thursday 17th March Aye Write! presents a unique conversation about the role Scotland played in the Easter Rising in Ireland. Featuring James Kelman, Sean Bell, Kirsty Lusk and Dr Maria-Daniella Dick, it promises to be a lively discussion. David Aaronovitch also joins us that day to share some memories of growing up a communist in London from his book “Party Animals”.
BBC Sportsound presenter Richard Gordon and ex-Partick Thistle and Hibs footballer David Farrell will be at Aye Write! talking about their respective books “Tales from the Dugout” and “Taxi for Farrell” and we meet two more new talents in Helen Mort and Rebecca Perry who are being introduced to Aye Write! by Jim Carruth, Glasgow’s Poet Laureate in association with St Mungo’s Mirrorball.
Aye Write! heads into its final weekend on Friday 18 March with a memoir from one of the 80’s most enduring comedians, Alexei Sayle. A star of The Young Ones and The Comic Strip his book “Thatcher Stole My Trousers” is an entertaining and funny blend of social and personal history. Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party will discuss “The Books that Made Me” and Aye Write will also hear from Graeme Fagen and Louise Welsh as they discuss Graeme’s new exhibition “Come into the Garden, and Forget about the War.”
Simon Scarrow and Ben Kane join forces to discuss their latest novels based in the Roman Empire while TS Eliot Prize winner Sinead Morrissey reads from her fifth collection of poems. Alan Bissett is back to introduce David Savill and Alec Connon to Aye Write! David’s book follows a Bosnian man seeking the truth about a childhood friend and Alec’s “The Activist” follows a gap year student on a journey into environmental activism that starts in Vancouver and moves to battling Japanese whaling vessels in the Southern Ocean.
As it is the start of the weekend, Ian Buxton, returns to Aye Write! to host “Glasgow vs Edinburgh in the Great Gin Tasting Contest” and Rosie Nixon and Jenny Colgan discuss “Retail Therapy in Fiction”.
Aye Con is hosting an LGBT Comic Mart on Saturday 19 March presenting a unique opportunity to buy comics and chat to writers and artists from across the UK. One of Scotland’s best established and acclaimed graphic novelists, Metaphrog, will discuss their career to date and Outspoken Arts Scotland and Unthank Comics present a chance to hear Steve Orlando talk about “The Midnighter” before Alan Grant (Judge Dread) and Frank Quitely (New X-Men) join Metaphrog’s John Chalmers and Sandra Marrs to discuss “The Many Faces of Scottish Comics”.
Willie Rennie MSP, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats will discuss “The Books that Made Me” on Saturday afternoon (19 March) while Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow explains how Mary’s Meals came to be founded as he tells us about “The Shed that Fed a Million Children”. Professor A.C. Grayling will also be in Glasgow to explain how, through innovation, war and original thinking, the 17th century became the crucible of modernity.
The 2013 winner of the Great British Bake Off, Frances Quinn will give you hints and tips for the perfect bake from her book “Quinntessential Baking” in conversation with Alysa Levene who’s latest creation is “Cake: A Slice of History”. Food Critic Joanna Blythman answers some of the questions she had about the everyday food we eat in her book “Swallow” and is joined by Bee Wilson who explores where our food habits come from in “First Bite”. They will jointly ask “Are We What We Eat”? The Unmumsy Mum, Sarah Turner, and journalist Chitra Ramaswamy give us “The Lowdown on Motherhood”.
Phil Redmond, the creator of Grange Hill and Brookside will tell us about his journey “From the Small Screen to the Book Shelf” when he gives us an insight into his thriller “Highbridge” and Louise Welsh introduces another two authors to Aye Write! Louise has chosen Andrew Michael Hurley and Lorna Gibb whose debuts have a distinctly gothic feel. There’s also a New Gaelic Writers Showcase chaired by Mark Wringe and showcasing works by Niall O’Gallagher, Calum Macleod, Sandy Jones and Christine Stone.
The final day of Aye Write! 2016 (Sunday 20 March) brings the chance to enjoy the festival and enjoy some food for the mind, body and soul. Masterchef Judge John Torode opens the pages on a very personal cookbook in “My Kind of Food” while 400 years on from the death of William Shakespeare, Andrew Dickson presents “The Globe Guide to Shakespeare”. Irma Kurtz, Cosmopolitan’s Agony Aunt for 40 years peels back the covers on solving readers problems in “My Life in Agony” while Matt Haig discusses his extraordinary memoir “Reasons to Stay Alive”.
Liam Paterson, Scottish Opera’s Composer in residence presents two new works based on the writing of Edwin Morgan. Liam is joined by soprano Marie Claire Breen and mezza-soprano Laura Margaret Smith for this world premiere of the “Edwin Morgan Song Cycle”
The last of “The Books that Made Me” sessions will see First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the SNP Nicola Sturgeon talk about the books that made a lasting impression on her.
Throughout the week there are a number of Creative Writing Sessions to inspire writers of fiction, poetry, radio dramas, novels and television drama as well as specific sessions on research, plot, character and revision and editing. Full details and ticket information for every Aye Write! event are available at www.ayewrite.com
There are several free sessions as well that cover poetry, inequalities in the ability to access information, creative writing, reading for health and the Glasgow Book Group Network battling it out in the Big Book Quiz.
(I can't wait for the festival to begin. Bob McDevitt, Aye Write! Programmer /has surpassed himself – I don't know how I'm going to choose what to go to – wish I could fit it all in.)
Councillor Archie Graham OBE, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life said:
“Aye Write! and Wee Write! are firmly established festivals which attract some of the finest literary talent to the city. We try and make improvements each year and the development of new themes like Aye Write! Introduces and Aye Con will help bring fresh audiences to the festivals. The programme is broad and ambitious and will be of huge interest to everyone who loves reading and losing themselves in great stories.”
This year Aye Write! covers politics, economics, live music performances, comedy, graphic novels, cooking, poetry, crime, Scottish history, sport, memoir, theatre, film and religion. Specially invited authors and publishers, including Adrian Searle of Freight, the Scottish Publisher of the Year, will introduce new authors to Aye Write! as recommendations for the future.
Irvine Welsh will be at the Royal Concert Hall on Tuesday 5 April, 2016.
Once the festival draws to a close, you can look forward to the return of Irvine Welsh and his most terrifying character Francis Begbie. “The Blade Artist” sees Begbie working as a sculptor in California but a trip home reveals his past isn’t buried very deeply.
Kate Tempest reading from her first novel, Thursday 14 April, 2016
Poet and rapper Kate Tempest will read from her first novel “The Bricks that Built the Houses” on Thursday 14 April. Kate will also discuss a story which takes us to the beating heart of London in a multi-generational tale that questions how we live with and love one another.
Maggie O'Farrell, Monday 23 May, 2016.
On Monday 23 May, Aye Write! will welcome back Maggie O’Farrell who will be talking about her seventh novel “This Must be the Place. It is already being described as an astonishing, intimate epic portrait of a marriage, the forces that hold it together and the pressures that drive it apart.
For full listings, tickets prices and how to book, please go to www.ayewrite.com
Tickets can also be bought by calling 0141 353 8000
There are six sessions in Aye Con and and you can buy a pass for all six for £35, a saving of £10 on the individual ticket price.
Buy all 6 Aye Write! introduces events for £30 saving £6 on the individual ticket price.
The Wee Write! Reading and Literacy Fund is part of the registered charity Glasgow Life. We are grateful for all support that we receive which allows us to put on this world class literacy festival and provide opportunities for school children across the city.
Waterstones is the official festival bookseller for Aye Write! and will have a pop-up bookshop at the Mitchell, selling a range of titles by the festival authors and more.
Joan Bakewell’s ,Stop the Clocks: Thoughts on What I Leave Behind, Saturday 12 March, 18.00 -19.00 is sponsored by The Open University.
Ed Hawkins, The Lost Boys, Thursday 17 March 2016, 18.00-19.00 is sponsored by Turcan Connell.