From crime set in India, Scandinavia or the Scottish Islands, a book about 9 months in Tibet or one about a wander through twelve of Glasgow’s finest parks – Glasgow’s Book Festival ‘Aye Write’ takes you everywhere you want to go, and even further. This year sees an incredibly international, engaging program – looking beyond the sensationalist headlines to foster a genuine understanding of modern Islam and Muslim culture, featuring two of Nigeria’s best writers or an investigation of how China became the powerful country that it is today.
What you might expect at a book festival is writers reading from their novels, perhaps discussing the passage or introducing their book. In addition to this more literary aspect of books, Aye Write also focuses on the very interesting content of both fiction and non-fiction. Thus ‘Foodies Forum’ will include Flora Shedden (from the Great British Bake Off) and her cookbook, as well as Louise Gray, who decided to only eat animals she killed herself as she was concerned about where the meat she was eating was coming from. About this challenge she wrote a book, which is what brings her to the festival. Similarly, I can imagine ‘The No Spend Year’ to be a session in which Michelle McGagh describes the experience of not spending any money except for bills and groceries, and gives financial advice, rather than her simply reading from her book.
These sit-back-and-listen events sound great, but if you’re looking for something more active, Aye Write also includes masterclasses and workshops. For example, a masterclass looking at methods for creating compelling historical fiction, writing drama for the radio or one about drawing comics. Check out the program of Aye Write for this and so much more (Queer history in comics! The Scottish Makars! Feminism! Football in fiction!), and keep an eye on qmunicate’s website for reviews.