Aye Write: Nine 'pop-up' events to go ahead after 'unexpected' donation by EuroMillions winner's trust to Glasgow book festival

Val McDermid, Damian Barr, David Nicholls and Alan Cumming to appear at Aye Write

Organisers of one of Scotland’s biggest literary celebrations have announced the first names for a series of nine “pop-up” events after being forced to call off the annual festival in Glasgow due to a lack of funding.

Val McDermid, Damian Barr, David Nicholls, James O’Brien, GT Karber, Chris Brookmyre and Lionel Shriver will all appear under the Aye Write banner between May and August.

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Further events are expected to be announced in the next few months, while Glasgow’s children’s book festival, Wee Write, is expected to return in the autumn, after an “unexpected” donation of £65,000 for Aye Write.

Author Val McDermid. Picture: Lisa FergusonAuthor Val McDermid. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Author Val McDermid. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

The charitable trust set up by SNP donors Colin and Christine Weir has agreed to help bankroll this year’s events after the sudden demise of the ten-day festival, which saw 175 writers appear across 120 events.

Glasgow Life, the arms-length trust that runs many of the city’s venues and events on behalf of the city council, promised to stage pop-up Aye Write events when they pulled the plug on a festival-scale festival last month after it was turned down for a £77,500 grant by Creative Scotland.

The arts agency has warned it is only able to fund around 30 per cent of applications due to the level of demand it is experiencing.

Former first minister Nicola Sturgeon, who had described Aye Write’s cancellation as “really bad news” and said she hoped funding could be found to get the festival back on track, will be interviewing McDermid in her event.

Two Doors Down stars Doon Mackichan and Kieran Hodgson will appear together in an in-conversation event, while Alan Cumming and Forbes Masson will launch their new book celebrating their cabaret act Victor and Barry, which they launched at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Fringe 40 years ago.

A spokesman for the Weir Charitable Foundation, said: “We are pleased to be able to support Aye Write to put on a programme of great events in 2024. It was unthinkable that Aye Write should be silenced until next year. Happily, the donation means that won’t be the case.”

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Annette Christie, chair of Glasgow Life, said: “Aye Write is a much-loved festival, which is apparent from the outpouring of support over the past few weeks. The generous donation from the Colin Weir Charitable Foundation means it can continue to have a positive impact on Glaswegians and people throughout Scotland.”

The line-up of Aye Write events has been announced days after council leader Susan Aitken condemned Creative Scotland’s treatment of the festival, which was launched in 2015 and had been reliant on its funding.

She said: “Like many across Scotland and beyond, I was bitterly disappointed that funding for the Aye Write literary festival has been pulled by Creative Scotland, putting the future of this hugely successful event in jeopardy.

“It has has become a key event in Glasgow’s calendar, a festival which attracts leading literary figures from across the world, but also one that’s rooted in the heart of our communities.

I know that colleagues in Glasgow Life, who have delivered Aye Write since 2005, want to ensure that it continues to have a presence this year, albeit a necessarily reduced one without the Creative Scotland funding.

“Support from the Scottish literary world for Aye Write has been hugely encouraging, and I hope they’ll throw their weight behind these events.”



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