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Telling Stories: A Preview of the Paisley Book Festival 2022…

This Thursday (17-02-2021) sees the start of this year’s Paisley Book Festival, which runs until Saturday 26th Feb. With the theme of ‘Stories Mak Us', the programme is carefully curated to offer a wide range of events, with something for everyone.

You can peruse the full programme at your leisure, and get tickets, at, keep up to date with what’s going on with Facebook, Twitter @BookPaisley, and Instagram @PaisleyBookFest.

In the meantime, here are a few of Scots Whay Hae!'s picks of the Festival to help you get started. Click the titles to learn. more and get tickets.

Opening Night: Stories Mak Us

Enjoy a warm welcome back to Paisley Book Festival as we introduce our brand-new theme for this year – Stories Mak Us – and celebrate the fundamental role that narratives play in shaping our lives. In this opening night event, we’ll welcome appearances from Edinburgh-based Latinx poet Andrés N. Ordorica (left) to celebrate his debut poetry collection At Least This I Know, Scots storyteller and musician Alan McClure, and enjoy a special reprise from last year’s Writer in Residence Imogen Stirling as she performs work from her newly published, Love the Sinner. Plus, we’ll share some insights about what’s in store at the festival over the next ten days.

  • 17th February at 7:00 – 8:30 pm

  • Central Library, 15 Mill St, PA1 1ND

  • Tickets – £10/£8

Louise Welsh: The Second Cut

Two decades ago, Glasgow-based novelist Louise Welsh thrilled readers with her astounding debut, The Cutting Room, which not only won a series of accolades but swiftly became a Scottish crime fiction classic. Since then, she has written a host of further novels including the haunting 'Plague Times' trilogy, as well as plays, poetry, and even an opera. Twenty years later, and hapless auctioneer turned murder detective Rilke is finally back for his long-awaited sequel, The Second Cut, bringing the dark streets of Glasgow to sizzling life once again.

We’re delighted to welcome Louise to introduce this hot-off-the-press new adventure in conversation with fellow crime writer and Paisley buddy Karen Campbell.

  • 18th February at 7:00 – 8:00 pm

  • The Students’ Union (Main Hall), Storie St, PA1 2HB

  • Tickets – £10/£8

Shaping Scotland’s Stories: From Inspiration to Publication

“Your book has been signed up with a publisher: What happens now? What is the work that goes into making a story the best it can be? In this event, we’ll bring together a duo of authors, both of whom had their debuts later in life, alongside their editors, to discuss the life experience and influences behind the work, as well as the working relationship between author and editor, the vital collaboration that brings books to their fantastic final form.

Join Anne Pia (above), author of creative memoir Language of my Choosing and poetry collection Transitory, and her editor Jennie Renton; alongside Mick Kitson, winner of the Saltire First Book Award for his debut novel Sal, whose latest novel is Featherweight, with his editor Jo Dingley.

Curated by Publishing Scotland as part of their Year of Scotland’s Stories events strand, these events look to spotlight the brilliant talent thriving within Scotland’s publishing scene and invite readers to learn more about the inner workings of the book industry. ”

  • 19th February at 2:00 – 3:00 pm

  • The Students’ Union (Main Hall), Storie St, PA1 2HB

  • Tickets – £10/£8

Resurrecting Scotland’s Witches with C. J. Cooke and Zoe Venditozzi

The history and folklore surrounding witches has provided fruitful ground for writers, and nowhere is this more true than in Scotland. But how are our lives impacted by these stories of persecution and injustice today? C. J. Cooke’s (left) latest novel, The Lighthouse Witches, tells the tale of a haunted Scottish island, and the mysterious disappearance of three women from the same family. Carolyn is joined in conversation by Zoe Venditozzi, co-host of the Witches of Scotland podcast and part of a group campaigning for justice for those convicted under the Witchcraft Act of 1563-1736. Come along to find out more!

  • 19th February at 6:00 – 7:00 pm

  • The Students’ Union (Main Hall), Storie St, PA1 2HB

  • Tickets – £10/£8

Ghost Stories with James Robertson

From the master of Scottish storytelling comes a new novel that spans the centuries to consider how the stories we make continue to haunt us through the generations. Set in the fictional Glen Conach in the north-east of Scotland, News of the Dead moves between a trio of historical moments, from the presence of a Pictish hermit, to a boastful nineteenth century scholar, to a modern-day friendship between an elderly woman and a young boy who thinks he’s seen a ghost.

In this event, author James Robertson chats to Professor of Scottish Studies and BBC Radio Scotland presenter Gary West about the inspiration for this particular story and what the ghosts of history mean to him.

  • 19th February at 8:00 – 9:00 pm

  • The Students’ Union (Main Hall), Storie St, PA1 2HB

  • Tickets – £10/£8

Graeme Macrae Burnet: Case Study

Kilmarnock-born author Graeme Macrae Burnet made headlines in 2015 when he was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for his second novel, His Bloody Project, the mystery of a triple murder in a small Highland community. Since then, he’s certainly been keeping busy and we’re thrilled to welcome him to Paisley to present his latest and fourth novel, Case Study, a psychological thriller set in 1960s London. Interrogating the intense and unscrupulous relationship that can develop between a psychotherapist and their patient, this novel tells the story of a sister who steps out of her comfort zone to discover the truth about what happened to her sibling. Chaired by Chris Dolan.

  • 20th February at 4:00 – 5:00 pm

  • The Students’ Union (Main Hall), Storie St, PA1 2HB

  • Tickets – £10/£8

The Writer in Residence presents… Darren McGarvey and Ely Percy

From adversity to identity, personal narratives shape our lives and the lives of others. Through sharing stories, we find belonging and understanding, and build power and connections within our communities.

Scots Writer of the Year 2021 and festival Writer-in-Residence Victoria McNulty invites two of Scotland’s most exciting wordsmiths to join her on stage and share some of their own stories: acclaimed writer and rapper Darren McGarvey (aka Loki) and Ely Percy, an audience favourite from last year’s digital festival and recent winner of Scottish Book of the Year 2021 for their Renfrewshire dialect novel Duck Feet.

  • 20th February at 8pm – 9pm

  • UWS Main Hall, Storie St, PA1 2HB

  • Tickets – £10/£8

  • Writer in Residence event

Brickwork: How Places Mak Us with Kirstin Innes & David Bratchpiece

When punk-turned-theatre director Andy Arnold walked under the red brick railway arches underneath Glasgow’s Central Station in 1991, not even he could have imagined its future. Nightclub, theatre, creative hub, party place, and one of the most important venues in Scotland, Britain and Europe: for almost 25 years, The Arches was the beating heart of Glasgow. But is a place defined by bricks and mortar, or by the people who transformed and were transformed by it?

In a new biography, Brickwork, writers Kirstin Innes and David Bratchpiece – both former staff members at The Arches – bring together the story of a cultural institution, told through the people who made it. They’re joined in conversation by another ex-Arches colleague, BBC Radio Scotland DJ and writer Nicola Meighan.

  • 26th February at 2:00 – 3:00 pm

  • The Students’ Union (Main Hall), Storie St, PA1 2HB

  • Tickets – £10/£8

Dark Matters with Empress and Iona Lee

From Mary Shelly to Madonna, woman’s art and literature is littered with macabre and controversy.

This ghoulish optic often employs themes of death, violence, the occult, sex and mythology to grapple with complex narratives that shape woman’s experiences past and present. Join a panel of celebrated voices – poet and musician Iona Lee and writer and rapper Empress – as they discuss their own influences and interrogate this dark lyrical tradition.

This event is curated and chaired by festival Writer-in-Residence Victoria McNulty.

  • 26th February at 4pm – 5pm

  • UWS Upstairs Room, Storie St, PA1 2HB

  • Tickets – £10/£8

  • Writer in Residence event

From Page to Stage with Hannah Lavery and Dean Atta

Words and stories move us! And they have multiple ways to be told. Join us for a fascinating insight into the mind of Edinburgh Makar and award-winning poet, playwright and performer Hannah Lavery, whose brand-new collection Blood Salt Spring has already been transformed into a live performance in a partnership between the National Theatre of Scotland and Push the Boat Out festival.

Hannah is joined by poet and award-winning author of The Black Flamingo, Dean Atta, to explore how their words and ideas manifest differently from literary form to the performance space. How do immovable words forged onto paper become living, breathing entities that adapt to audiences and reside in the global consciousness? Introduced by Guest Curator Mara Menzies.

Part of The Power of Storytelling, a series of events curated by Mara Menzies.

  • 26th February at 6:00 – 7:00 pm

  • The Students’ Union (Main Hall), Storie St, PA1 2HB

  • Tickets – £10/£8

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