Paisley Book Festival opens tomorrow

News - Festivals Wednesday, 17th February 2021

Second year for new Scottish festival sees Booker winner Douglas Stuart, Andrew O’Hagan, Chris Brookmyre and Val McDermid on the online bill


Events over the ten-day Festival will feature Douglas Stuart, Andrew O’Hagan and debut writer, Graeme Armstrong plus Janey Godley, Melanie Reid, Chris Brookmyre and Dr. Marisa Haetzman, writer for Small Axe series Courttia Newland, Salena Godden, Jenny Kleeman, Kirstin Innes, and Kate Charlesworth in conversation with Val McDermid. Events for children will include Ross Mackenzie, Vivian French, Patience Agbabi, Karine Polwart and Kate Leiper.

The festival is supported by Future Paisley, 'a programme of economic, social, and physical regeneration continuing the excitement and momentum experienced during the town’s UK City of Culture 2021 Bid. It is delivered by Renfrewshire Leisure and funded by Renfrewshire Council.'

The Festival opens tomorrow night with poet, playwright and performer Hannah Lavery, writer Laura Waddell and Renfrewshire local Alan Bissett with his new novella Lazy Suzan.

The opening night will also include Newtopia: Women with Fierce Words, a multimedia performance of writing emerging from women’s disrupted lives as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, presented by Women With Fierce Words and joined from India by the award-winning poet, Saima Afreen.

The festival is guest-curated by novelist, poet, performer, Kirsty Logan and author and
singer-songwriter Malachy Tallack. The full programme can be viewed on: https://paisleybookfest.com

Victoria Hollows, chief executive, Renfrewshire Leisure said: "I am delighted we are able to launch the 2021 Paisley Book Festival, albeit in a different format from last year but with the same energy and inspirational programming that made our first festival such a success.

"This year's theme of Radical New Futures embodies the feeling of strength and innovation that has been evident in communities throughout the pandemic and I am delighted to see this is reflected in the excellent line-up of writers involved in the festival, from headliners such as Booker Prize winner Douglas Stuart to local writers, poets and children's authors. I am sure that this festival will be a huge success and will put the Paisley Book Festival on the map for years to come."

Paisley Book Festival co-producer Jess Orr said: "Whilst current restrictions mean that this year’s festival will be very different to its inaugural iteration back in February 2020, we are thrilled to be bringing the energy and spirit of Paisley and its people, their resilience and determination to look forward to a new and different future, to digital audiences this year.

"Whether you live in Paisley or not, we hope you’ll join us from wherever you are to celebrate the radical spirit that is well and truly alive in the world of books, and in the acts of reading and writing."

The Festival also welcomes Glasgow-based writer, musician, and educator, Imogen Stirling, as its first Writer-in-Residence. The residency will see her hosting online workshops with Renfrewshire community groups in January and February 2021, and writing her own response to this year's festival theme, Radical New Futures. She will curate and host three festival events.

Paisley Book Festival co-producer Keira Brown said: "Through support from Creative Scotland, we were delighted to appoint Glasgow-based writer, musician, and educator Imogen Stirling as our first Writer-in-Residence. Imogen has this week kicked off her online workshops with community groups across Renfrewshire enabling us to engage more local people as well as curating three of our wider book festival events. This new post has been such a significant addition to the Festival, and one which we hope will continue with future festivals."

All events aside from the workshops that are booked up are free to public but organisers are asking for donations, the model that Scottish festivals have been using over the last year.

Pictured: Douglas Stuart