Fully Booked: A Preview Of Aye Write 2022...
From 6th – 22nd May 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 back where it belongs, in and around Glasgow's Mitchell Library, with plenty of 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 for the online events, and a handy FAQ page.
And you can click the orange titles and links below for further details on our selected events, and to go to relevant interviews and reviews.
Natalie Whittle The 15-Minute City: Global Change Through Local Living
Could Glasgow be a city where we can reach everything we need within 15 minutes on foot or by bike?
Cities define the lives of all those who call them home: where they go, how they get there, how they spend their time. But what if we built our cities differently? What if we travelled differently? What if we could get a cashback on time and make it our own use it to live in a new way?
In this carefully researched and readily accessible book, Natalie Whittle interrogates the notion of the 15-minute city: its pros, its cons and its potential to revolutionise modern living. With global warming reaching a crisis point and Covid-19 responses bringing a previously unimaginable decline in commuting, Whittle’s timely book serves as a call to reflect on the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of our daily travel. Building her study around consideration of space and time, Whittle traverses both to collect models from ancient Athens to modern Paris and demonstrate how one idea could change our daily lives – and the world – for good.
Douglas Bruton introduces…Kenny Boyle, Claire Alexander, Adrian Keefe and Charlie Roy
Douglas Bruton, introduces our first panel of excellent debut writers.
Douglas Bruton, who was recently longlisted for The Walter Scott Prize for his novel Blue Postcards will be in the chair to introduce this varied panel of debut writers:
Kenny Boyle - The Tick and the Tock of the Crocodile Clock
Fresh, insightful and funny, as well as unflinchingly honest about the tougher side of life, Kenny Boyle’s debut novel takes us deep into the psyche of a likeable misfit who treads a fine line between reality and fantasy – and just wants the world to see her true self.
Claire Alexander - Meredith, Alone
Meredith Maggs hasn't left her house in 1,214 days. But she insists she isn't alone.
She has her cat, Fred. Her friend Sadie visits when she can. There's her online support group, StrengthInNumbers. She has her jigsaws, favourite recipes, her beloved Emily Dickinson, the internet, the Tesco delivery man and her treacherous memories for company.
But something's about to change. Whether Meredith likes it or not, the world is coming to her door . . . Does she have the courage to overcome what's been keeping her inside all this time?
Adrian Keefe - Gamebird
An autistic young man’s wretched, bullied existence is transformed when he discovers a strange boarded-up house in the country and gets to know its even stranger inhabitant.When lured off a planned walk by the magical landscape, Spencer finds his ‘pot of gold’ in a boarded-up house with its strange inhabitant, a young woman called Goldy. A strange angel, who wears black and squats in derelict buildings, she becomes a guiding light in Spencer’s lonely existence
Charlie Roy - The Broken Pane
The Broken Pane is about loss and family when families are broken. Finding yourself in the pieces of memory. About a young woman and her search for answers. Walking the line between reliable memory and unreliable narrator, Charlie Roy’s debut novel invites you to consider whether you are shaped by your past ― or if you shape your past yourself?
Click here to listen to Charlie Roy on the Scots Whay Hae! podcast.
Click here to read Ali's review of Charlie Roy's The Broken Pane
Click here to read Ali's review of Kenny Boyle's The Tick and the Tock of the Crocodile Clock in SNACK magazine
George Paterson, Angela Jackson and Ross Sayers The Breadth of Scottish Fiction
Three Scottish novels that cross genres, styles and period to deliver some highly engaging story-telling.
George Paterson’s The Girl, The Crow, The Writer And The Fighter is an epistolary tale of murder and chicanery is a study of chaos in instalments. It’s 1965 and provocative author Henry Miller is taken incognito to an infamous title fight. In the turbulent aftermath of the bout, Miller makes a vital connection with the keeper of a tightly guarded secret. Twenty years later, a young Maine waitress receives an unusual bequest - a bound collection of letters from Miller.
Angela Jackson’s The Darlings is a story about how childhood experience can profoundly impact how we behave as adults. When Mark Darling is fifteen years old, he is the golden boy, captain of the school football team, admired by all who know him. Until he kills his best friend in a freak accident. He spends the next decade drifting between the therapy couch and dead-end pursuits. Then along comes Sadie. A mender by nature, who tries her best to fix him.
Ross Sayers’ The Everliving Memory of John Valentine combines elements of speculative fiction in a novel that is all too believable.
Ross Sayer's The Everliving Memory of John Valentine. It’s 2019 and it’s Hannah Greenshields’s first day at Memory Lane, a memory clinic in the centre of Edinburgh which possesses advanced technology that allows clients to relive their favourite memories for a substantial fee. In 1975, John Valentine, a Memory Lane client, is reliving his wedding day over and over again, hoping to change one key event he can’t forget. However, as proceedings become less and less familiar, John realises his memory isn’t such a safe place after all.
Click here to hear George Paterson on the Scots Whay Hae! podcast
Click here to hear Ross Sayers on the Scots Whay Hae! podcast
Alex Gray and Douglas Skelton
The latest novels by these Glasgow based crime writers see them heading north!
In Alex Gray's Echo of the Dead, after a stressful winter, DSI William Lorimer is enjoying some time away from Glasgow. He and his new friend, Daniel Kohi, have retreated to the wilds of the Scottish Highlands to unwind. Despite its troubled history, the mountain village of Glencoe is now a popular resort, so it's particularly shocking when two bodies are discovered in quick succession on the nearby peaks .With a potential serial killer on the loose, Lorimer's Major Incidents Team are drafted in from Glasgow. It's clear that a dark secret lurks beneath the wild beauty of this place. But will Lorimer manage to root it out before the killer strikes again? Alex Gray is celebrating 20 years since the publication of her first novel and Echo of the Dead could well be her best one yet. In Douglas Skelton's A Rattle of Bones it's 1752 and Seamus a'Ghlynne, James of the Glen, was executed for the murder of government man Colin Campbell. He was almost certainly innocent. When banners are placed at his gravesite claiming that his namesake, James Stewart, is innocent of murder, reporter Rebecca Connolly smells a story. The young Stewart has been in prison for ten years for the brutal murder of his lover, lawyer and politician Murdo Maxwell, in his Appin home. Why is a Glasgow crime boss so interested in the case? As Rebecca keeps digging, she finds herself in the sights of Inverness crime matriarch Mo Burke, who wants payback for the damage caused to her family in a previous case. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Scottish Highlands, A Rattle of Bones is a tale of injustice and mystery, and the echo of the past in the present.
Click on the titles to read reviews of Douglas Skelton's Thunder Bay and The Blood Is Still
Louise Welsh Introduces Sukh Ojla, Claire Kohda and Ryan O’Connor
Novelist, librettist and Professor of creative writing, Louise Welsh introduces this panel of debut writers.
Sukh Ojla - Sunny
Sunny is the queen of living a double life. To her friends, she's the entertaining, eternally upbeat, single one, always on hand to share hilarious and horrifying date stories. But while they're all settling down with long-term partners and mortgages, Sunny is back in her childhood bedroom at thirty, playing the role of the perfect daughter. She spends her time watching the Sikh channel, making saag and samosey with her mum, hiding gins-in-a-tin in her underwear drawer and sneaking home in the middle of the night after dates, trying but failing to find 'the one'.
Claire Kohda - Woman, Eating
Lydia is hungry. She's always wanted to try sashimi, ramen, onigiri with sour plum stuffed inside - the food her Japanese father liked to eat. And then there is bubble tea and the vegetables grown by the other young artists at the London studio space she is secretly squatting in. But Lydia can't eat any of this. The only thing she can digest is blood, and it turns out that sourcing fresh pigs' blood in London - where she is living away from her vampire mother for the first time - is much more difficult than she'd anticipated.
Ryan O’Connor - The Voids
In a condemned tower block in Glasgow, residents slowly trickle away until a young man is left alone with only the angels and devils in his mind for company. Stumbling from one surreal situation to the next, he encounters others on the margins of society, finding friendship and camaraderie wherever it is offered, grappling with who he is and what shape his future might take. The Voids is an unsparing story of modern-day Britain, told with brilliant flashes of humour and humanity.
Click here to hear Ryan O'Connor on the Scots Whay Hae! podcast
Click here to read Ali's review of Ryan O'Connor's The Voids in SNACK magazine
James Yorkston The Book of the Gaels
In simple, beautiful, lyrical prose, James Yorkston's new novel takes us on an unforgettable trip.
Rural West Cork, Ireland. Two Kids, Joseph and Paul, and their struggling, poet father, Fraser, are battling grief and poverty. When a letter arrives with a summons to Dublin and the promise of publication, it offers a chink of light - the hope of rescue. But Dublin is a long, wet and hungry way from West Cork in the mid-70s, especially when they have no money - just the clothes they stand up in and an old, battered suitcase.
So begins an almost anti-roadtrip of flipsides and contradictions - dreams and nightmares, promises and disappointments, generosity and meanness, unconditional love and shocking neglect.
pic credit: Ren Rox
Cal Flyn and Ben Rawlence - Nature on the March
Two acclaimed writers take very different looks at the awesome power of nature.
In Chernobyl, following the nuclear disaster, only a handful of people returned to their dangerously irradiated homes. On an uninhabited Scottish island, feral cattle live entirely wild. In Detroit, once America’s fourth-largest city, entire streets of houses are falling in on themselves, looters slipping through otherwise silent neighbourhoods.
Islands of Abandonment explores the extraordinary places where humans no longer live – or survive in tiny, precarious numbers – to give us a possible glimpse of what happens when mankind’s impact on nature is forced to stop. From Tanzanian mountains to the volcanic Caribbean, the forbidden areas of France to the mining regions of Scotland, Cal Flyn brings together some of the most desolate, eerie, ravaged and polluted areas in the world – and shows how, against all odds, they offer our best opportunities for environmental recovery.
The Arctic treeline is the frontline of climate change, where the trees have been creeping towards the pole for fifty years already. These vast swathes of forests, which encircle the north of the globe in an almost unbroken green ring, comprise the world's second largest biome.
Scientists are only just beginning to understand the astonishing significance of these northern forests for all life on Earth. Six tree species - Scots pine, birch, larch, spruce, poplar and rowan - form the central protagonists of Ben Rawlence's The Treeline: The Last Forest and the Future of Life on Earth. In Scotland, northern Scandinavia, Siberia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland, he discovers what these trees and the people who live and work alongside them have to tell us about the past, present and future of our planet.
Graeme Macrae Burnet - Case Study
The Booker-shortlisted author returns with his critically lauded new novel, Case Study.
London, 1965. An unworldly young woman believes that a charismatic psychotherapist, Collins Braithwaite, has driven her sister to suicide. Intent on confirming her suspicions, she assumes a false identity and presents herself to him as a client, recording her experiences in a series of notebooks. But she soon finds herself drawn into a world in which she can no longer be certain of anything. Even her own character In Case Study, Graeme Macrae Burnet presents these notebooks interspersed with his own biographical research into Collins Braithwaite. The result is a dazzling – and often wickedly humorous – meditation on the nature of sanity, identity and truth itself, by one of the most inventive novelists writing today. Graeme will be in conversation with Janice Forsyth.
Sponsored by National Library of Scotland
Click here to hear Graeme Macrae Burnet on the Scots Whay Hae! podcast
Click here to read Ali's review of Graeme Macrae Burnet's Case Study for Product magazine
Nathan Evans: The Book of Sea Shanties
From local boy and international bestselling singer comes The Book of Sea Shanties.
The world sang in harmony with Nathan Evans, the Glaswegian postie turned singer of sea shanties. Join him as he takes you through time and seafaring history to discover the true meaning of Wellerman, and who and what exactly was the Drunken Sailor?
Featuring over 35 best loved shanties, Nathan will share the meaning behind each of his favourite shanties and show how they have shaped and inspired him. Beautifully illustrated throughout, it will also include original shanties and bonus content written exclusively for this book.
Whether you're young or old, gather around and discover the riotous world of sea shanties.
Jenni Fagan with Claire Mitchell QC and Zoe Venditozzi Witches of Scotland Podcast
Join Zoe and Claire from The Witches of Scotland podcast for a special live recording with Jenni Fagan, author of Hex.
It’s the 4th of December 1591. On this, the last night of her life, in a prison cell several floors below Edinburgh’s High Street, convicted witch Geillis Duncan receives a mysterious visitor – Iris, who says she comes from a future where women are still persecuted for who they are and what they believe.
As the hours pass and dawn approaches, Geillis recounts the circumstances of her arrest, brutal torture, confession and trial, while Iris offers support, solace – and the tantalising prospect of escape.
Hex is a visceral depiction of what happens when a society is consumed by fear and superstition, exploring how the terrible force of a king’s violent crusade against ordinary women can still be felt, right up to the present day.
Click here to read Ali's review of Jenni Fagan's Hex for The Skinny
Click here to listen and subscribe to The Witches of Scotland podcast