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Fully Booked: A Preview Of Aye Write 2021...

Updated: May 14


From 14th – 23rd May (and beyond!) Glasgow’s Book Festival Aye Write is back with a vengeance, with something for everyone. Lovers of fact, fiction, poetry, prose, autobiography, biography, memoir, comics, and any other form of writing that takes your fancy, are all well catered for.


This year's festival is available online offering a far-reaching programme, with guests from home and abroad, perfectly suiting a book festival which has always been international in scope, but with its roots firmly planted in the city.


You can find what's on and when quickly with Aye Write 'At A Glance' which will help you plan your festival, but before you do that below are SWH!’s carefully selected Top 10 highlights to give you something to think about, and you can peruse the full programme at your leisure here.


You can also keep up to date with events as they unfold by following Aye Write on Twitter, Instagram, or on Facebook. This year there is a value for money Festival Pass, all individual tickets can be bought here, and you can click the orange links below for further details on our selected events.


Vikki Reilly Introduces… Scottish Debuts

Ross Macfarlane, Emma Grae, Flora Johnston, Ryan Vance, Aidan Martin, Colin Burnett and Angela Hughes



Vikki Reilly from Publishing Scotland introduces a diverse range of new Scottish writing talent including Fiction, Memoir, short stories and crime. Featuring: Ross Macfarlane (Edward Kane and the Parlour Maid Murderer), Emma Grae (Be Guid Tae Yer Mammy), Flora Johnston (What You Call Free), Ryan Vance (One Man's Trash), Aidan Martin (Euphoric Recall), Colin Burnett (A Working Class State of Mind) and Angela Hughes (My Heart's Content).


Friday 14 May 2021

10:30AM - 11:30AM


Pete Paphides - Broken Greek

Chaired by Ali Braidwood


When Pete’s parents moved from Cyprus to Birmingham in the 1960s in the hope of a better life, they had no money and only a little bit of English. They opened a fish-and-chip shop - The Great Western Fish Bar is where Pete learned about coin-operated machines, male banter and Britishness. Shy and introverted, Pete found refuge in the bittersweet embrace of pop songs. From Brotherhood of Man to UB40, from ABBA to The Police, music provided the safety net he needed to protect him from the tensions of his home life.


It also helped him navigate his way around the challenges surrounding school, friendships and phobias such as visits to the barber, standing near tall buildings and Rod Hull and Emu. With every passing year, his guilty secret became more horrifying to him: his parents were Greek, but all the things that excited him were British. And the engine of that realisation? 'Sugar Baby Love', 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart', 'Tragedy', 'Silly Games', 'Going Underground', 'Come On Eileen', and every other irresistibly thrilling chart hit blaring out of the chip shop radio


Friday 14 May 2021

7:15PM - 8:15PM


Prize-winning Scottish Authors

Helen McClory & Ruth Thomas chaired by Sara Davies



Helen McClory’s first collection of stories, On the Edges of Vision, won the Saltire First Book of the Year. Her latest novel, Bitterhall is a story of obsession told between three unreliable narrators. In a darkening season in a northern city, Daniel, Órla and Tom narrate the intersections of their lives, from future-world 3D printing technology to the history of the book, to a stolen nineteenth-century diary written by a dashing gentleman who may not be entirely dead. It reveals the ways in which our subjectivity tampers with the notion of an objective reality, and delves into how we represent and understand our muddled, haunted selves.


Ruth Thomas’s first story collection was also shortlisted for the Saltire First Book Award, and her first novel Things to Make and Mend received a Good Housekeeping Book Award. In her latest, The Snow and the Works on the Northern Line, we meet Sybil, who is happy enough with her work - and her love life. Then to her dismay, her old adversary, assertive and glamorous Helen Hansen seduces Sybil's boyfriend. Betrayed and broken-hearted, Sybil becomes obsessed with exposing Helen as a fraud, no matter the cost.


Saturday 15 May 2021

11:45AM - 12:45PM


Magical, Dazzling Fiction

Jenni Fagan & Irenosen Okojie chaired by Rodge Glass

Over nine decades, No. 10 Luckenbooth Close bears witness to emblems of a changing world outside its walls. An infamous madam, a spy, a famous Beat poet, a coal miner who fears daylight, a psychic: these are some of the residents whose lives are plagued by the building's troubled history in disparate, sometimes chilling ways. The curse creeps up the nine floors and an enraged spirit world swells to the surface, desperate for the true horror of the building's longest kept secret to be heard. Jenni Fagan’s Luckenbooth is a bold, haunting and dazzlingly unique novel about the stories and secrets we leave behind, and the places that hold them long after we are gone.

Irenosen Okojie’s Nudibranch is a collection of short stories, in which offbeat characters are caught up in extraordinary situations that test the boundaries of reality. A love-hungry goddess of the sea arrives on an island inhabited by eunuchs, A girl from Martinique moonlights as a Grace Jones impersonator, and a homeless man goes right back, to the very beginning, through a gap in time.


Saturday 15 May 2021

3:30PM - 4:30PM


My Rock 'n' Roll Friend

Tracey Thorn chaired by Nicola Meighan


In 1983, backstage at the Lyceum in London, Tracey Thorn and Lindy Morrison first met. Tracey’s music career was just beginning, while Lindy, drummer for The Go-Betweens, was ten years her senior. They became confidantes, comrades and best friends, a relationship cemented by gossip and feminism, books and gigs and rock ’n’ roll love affairs. Morrison – a headstrong heroine blazing her way through a male-dominated industry – came to be a kind of mentor to Thorn. They shared the joy and the struggle of being women in a band, trying to outwit and face down a chauvinist music media.


In My Rock 'n' Roll Friend Thorn takes stock of thirty-seven years of friendship, teasing out the details of connection and affection between two women who seem to be either complete opposites or mirror images of each other. This important book asks what people see, who does the looking, and ultimately who writes women out of – and back into – history.


Friday 21 May 2021

8:30PM - 9:30PM


Of Birds and Men

Charlie Gilmour and Jonathan Meiburg chaired by Ali Braidwood



Featherhood Is about the young magpie that fell from its nest in a Bermondsey junkyard into Charlie Gilmour's life - and swiftly changed it. Demanding worms around the clock, riffling through his wallet, sharing his baths and roosting in his hair. It’s also about the jackdaw kept at a Cornish stately home by Heathcote Williams, anarchist, poet, magician, stealer of Christmas, and Charlie's biological father who vanished from his life in the dead of night. It is a story about repetition across generations and birds that run in the blood; about a terror of repeating the sins of the father and a desire to build a nest of one's own.


In 1833, Charles Darwin was astonished by the handsome, social, and oddly crow-like falcons that he met in the Falkland Islands. Almost two hundred years later, Jonathan Meiburg takes takes us through South America, from the fog-bound coasts of Tierra del Fuego to the tropical forests of Guyana, in search of these birds: striated caracaras, which still exist, though they're very rare. A Most Remarkable Creature is a hybrid of science writing, travelogue, and biography. It is much more than a book about birds: it's a journey to uncover moments of first contact between science and religion, and humans and animals.


Saturday 22 May 2021

6:00PM - 7:00PM


New Scottish Thrillers

Alan Gillespie, Alison Irvine & Sharon Bairden chaired by Bob McDevitt

She only left her daughter in the car for a minute. Just a quick minute whilst she ran into the shop. She barely thought twice about making that decision, but it soon began to consume the thoughts of every neighbour, police and social security worker in a fifteen mile radius . With sharp prose Alison Irvine’s Cat Step compels you to read on.


Lucas Findlay thinks he has struck gold when he marries Rebecca, but she married him for one reason only – to destroy him. When her past comes back to haunt her, Rebecca begins to disconnect from herself and the world around her. As secrets are unearthed, she begins to fear for her sanity. Sharon Bairden’s Sins of the Father is a chilling page-turner from a sharp new Scottish voice.


Cullrothes, in the Scottish Highlands, where Innes hides a terrible secret from his girlfriend Alice, Donald is the aggressive distillery owner whose son has gone missing, schoolgirl Jessie is trying to get the grades to escape to the mainland, while Grandpa counts the days left in his life. Alan GiIlespie’s The Mash House follows these parallel lives, each fractured by the fears and uncertainty in their own minds.


Sunday 23 May 2021

10:30AM - 11:30AM


Provocative, Elemental Fiction

Diane Cook and Ewan Morrison chaired by Mark West



The New Wilderness is the Man Booker shortlisted novel from Diane Cook.

Bea's five-year-old daughter, Agnes, is slowly wasting away. The smog and pollution of the overdeveloped, overpopulated metropolis they call home is ravaging her lungs. Bea knows she cannot stay in the City, but there is only one alternative: The Wilderness State. Mankind has never been allowed to venture into this vast expanse of untamed land. Until now. At once a blazing lament of our contempt for nature and a deeply humane portrayal of motherhood, The New Wilderness is an extraordinary, urgent novel from a celebrated new literary voice.


How to survive everything is the latest novel from the Saltire winning author of Nina X. My dad taught us to be prepared for whatever was coming. He said we should know the facts about how long we could survive without food, water or fresh air, and to remember that we couldn't live at all without hope. Inspired by her father’s advance planning and her own ingenuity and courage, this is one teenage girl’s survival guide for navigating life under a new, even more deadly pandemic from the confines of a prepper compound. Will she ride out the collapse of everything she knows, and how can she save her family – and sanity?


Sunday 23 May 2021

3:30PM - 4:30PM


Celebrating 40 Years of Lanark

Rodge Glass, Sorcha Dallas, Colin McIlroy and Alan Bissett

Sponsored by National Library of Scotland


Since 1986, the National Library of Scotland has held some of Alasdair Gray's most valuable and rarely seen writing. From personal diaries to correspondence, from illustrations and sketches to drafts of his internationally celebrated novels, the archive is a treasure trove for lovers of contemporary Scottish literature and art.


On the 40th anniversary of the publication of Gray’s novel Lanark, this event sees Dr. Colin McIlroy of National Library of Scotland present the archive’s rarely seen material. Also featuring a discussion with Sorcha Dallas of the Alasdair Gray Archive and the novelist-playwright Alan Bissett, one of a generation much influenced by Gray’s seminal breakthrough novel, a book which transformed the landscape for Scottish writers alive and at work today. Chaired by Dr. Rodge Glass, Gray’s biographer and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Strathclyde


Sunday 23 May 2021

7:15PM - 8:15PM


Andrew O'Hagan chaired by Rodge Glass

Sponsored by the Tannahill Fund



In his hugely acclaimed novel Mayflies, Andrew O'Hagan, one of Scotland's finest writers, channelled his own experience to craft a heart-breaking, life-affirming story of lifelong friendship. In this event hosted by the University of Strathclyde’s Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing Dr. Rodge Glass, O’Hagan, a one time Strathclyde student, will discuss the process of crafting a novel of this nature. The discussion will focus in particular on the creative process itself. How was Mayflies put together? How to use real-life material in a fictional context? A special insight into the creation of a remarkable book.


Saturday 29 May 2021

7:00PM - 8:00PM


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