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  • Alistair Braidwood

Rebel Ink: A Preview of the Paisley Book Festival…

Updated: May 7, 2021

Today (20/2/20) sees the start of the inaugural Paisley Book Festival, which runs until Saturday 29th Feb. With the theme of ‘Radical Voices and Rebel Stories’, the programme is carefully curated to offer a wide range of events, with something for everyone.

Taking place in various venues across town, and riding the cultural wave created by Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture, this seems the perfect time and place for such a festival – one which looks to celebrate voices and stories which are all too rarely heard.

You can peruse the full programme at your leisure, and buy tickets, at, keep up to date with what’s going on with Facebook, Twitter @BookPaisley, and Instagram @PaisleyBookFest, and also buy tickets in person from any Renfrewshire library

You can also hear Keira Brown talking all about the festival on the SWH! Podcast. Click here to listen & learn…

Below is the SWH! preview (with text from the official programme), offering a suggestion for each day of the festival, as well as links to find out more, and buy tickets…

Join us for the opening night of Paisley Book Festival 2020, where we’ll be treated to an exclusive reading from Scottish radicalism expert Maggie Craig, poetry from Renfrewshire born Jim Carruth, and music from Glasgow-based singer-songwriter Heir of the Cursed.

Drop in to experience this very special sound installation of contemporary Scottish stories and music by acclaimed author James Robertson and musician Aidan O’Rourke (of Lau). Bold, tender, full of old truths and distilled modern wit, this is an epic built on the beauty of the miniature. A collaboration between artists steeped in tradition but constantly breaking new ground.

At once a poetic memoir taking in #MeToo, sex, porn, love and ageing in a gendered world, This Script is Jenny Lindsay’s powerful response to many current feminist conflicts, replete with a trademark wit and lyrical dexterity that makes her one of Scotland’s most lauded spoken word poets.

2020 marks the arrival of three highly-anticipated new books by some of the most exciting young writers around – Luckenbooth by Jenni Fagan, Adults by Emma Jane Unsworth and Scabby Queen by Kirstin Innes. Here they discuss the politics of writing rebellious, non-conformist female protagonists.

Literature often embodies rebellion as a cultural response to events that are happening in society. Renfrewshire’s only independent publisher, Jenny’s Well Press, presents five Scottish writers – Jim Ferguson, Fiona Lindsay, Tracy Patrick, Dave Manderson and Carl MacDougall – whose fictional characters go against the grain.

Fundamental Conduit are an exciting project based in Paisley, mixing spoken word, music and performance. In this thought-provoking event, you will hear stories about Paisley radicals and some of the key moments in this inspiring history, reflecting on local radicalism and rebellion within our current political climate.

Hear from acclaimed poet and spoken word performer Dean Atta, whose debut novel The Black Flamingo is a bold coming of age story following a mixed-race gay teen, and writer-in-residence at Lighthouse Books Eris Young, whose new book They/Them/Their is a guide to non-binary and genderqueer identities. Chaired by Laurie Brown.

The Fountain introduces some of the UK’s finest poetry, including Michael Pedersen reading from his recent collection Oyster, plus new works; Sarah Stewart with her publication Glisk; and Hollie McNish, who shares openly from her latest work, not for the faint-hearted. Wash it all down with a refreshing G&T from Isle of Harris Distillery, and some bold lyrical hip hop from Stanley Odd’s front man, Solareye.

Chris McQueer has become a sensation in Scottish literature, earning a reputation on the back of Hings – his debut book, now a BBC Scotland series – as the most surreal, funny and authentic of new voices. Given the success of its follow-up HWFG, catch him before he goes supernova.

Catch three of Scotland’s brightest poetic talents! Kevin P. Gilday is one half of duo Sonnet Youth and acclaimed in his own right. Magi Gibson has been a mainstay of the scene for nearly thirty years and continues to inspire. They’re joined by award-winning slam champ Imogen Stirling in an unusual, intimate event.

See you in Paisley…


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