Paisley Book Festival

Drawing on the Paisley Radicals of 1820 as our inspiration, the inaugural Paisley Book Festival will explore how we can honour their challenging ideas and vibrant energy two hundred years later!

Paisley Book Festival

About Paisley Book Festival

Paisley Book Festival , Paisley
Paisley Book Festival Website
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The central theme of the festival is Radical Voices & Rebel Stories, and over the course of ten days we will hear from a diversity of creative voices, both local and from further afield, about what it means to be a rebel in today’s society.

Paisley is the perfect place to hold a book festival with a radical theme at its core as the idea of radicalism has been strong in the area, from the time when William Wallace was educated in the town, right through to the radical wars of the 19th century and the case of May Donoghue, which led to the duty of care being established in law. Paisley has always been a radical place, full of everyday people who are unafraid to push new ideas forward, like the weavers who revolted because they were also readers and thinkers.

The present day is no less ridden with antiquated values and attitudes that need to be challenged and reimagined by new readers, thinkers and writers. Many of those involved in the uprisings of the past might even look at today’s society and ask what we have been doing for the last two centuries. Paisley Book Festival seeks to use the voices of the past as inspiration to pick a way forward, a space to discover new ideas and explore them through the powerful tool of words.

Upcoming Events at Paisley Book Festival

Radical Renfrewshire: Opening Night

Radical Renfrewshire: Opening Night

20th February 2020
Paisley Book Festival kicks off on Thursday 20th February with a special opening event featuring readings from Maggie Craig and Jim Carruth and music from Heir of the Cursed!
Pop Up Poetry Shop

Pop Up Poetry Shop

20th February 2020
If you'd like to write creatively, either poetry or prose, pop along to one of Paisley Book Festival's Pop Up Poetry Shop events!
Create Cafe: Paisley Book Fest Special

Create Cafe: Paisley Book Fest Special

21st February 2020
Don't miss the Paisley Book Festival special edition of Create Cafe at Blend Coffee Lounge on February 21st, showcasing several young songwriters and poets!
Poets in the Library

Poets in the Library

21st February 2020
Hear from some of Scotland's foremost radical writers including Sheila Templeton, Linda Jackson, Tracy Patrick and Brian Whittingham at Paisley Book Festival's Poets in the Library event!
Pop Up Poetry Shop

Pop Up Poetry Shop

21st February 2020
If you'd like to write creatively, either poetry or prose, pop along to one of Paisley Book Festival's Pop Up Poetry Shop events!
365: Stories and Music

365: Stories and Music

21st February 2020 - 29th February 2020
Bold, tender, full of old truths and distilled modern wit, '365: Stories and Music' is an epic built on the beauty of the miniature!
Janice Galloway: Transfiguring the Commonplace

Janice Galloway: Transfiguring the Commonplace

22nd February 2020
Join author Janice Galloway as she talks to Kirstin Innes about her life, work, and anything else that takes her fancy!
Breaking The Mould: Creating Disabled and Low-Income Access to Publishing

Breaking The Mould: Creating Disabled and Low-Income Access to Publishing

22nd February 2020
Join Paisley Book Festival for a discussion about diversity in publishing – and what positive changes are being made to open the gates.
John Byrne’s Big Birthday Bash

John Byrne’s Big Birthday Bash

22nd February 2020
Celebrate the life and work of one of Scotland's most beloved playwrights and artists – John Byrne at this special Birthday Bash as part of Paisley Book Festival!
Make Your Own Zine Workshop!

Make Your Own Zine Workshop!

22nd February 2020
Join illustrator and comics artist Maria Stoian for a radical zine workshop, where you'll make a pocket booklet from scratch!
They Felt the Fear and Did it Anyway

They Felt the Fear and Did it Anyway

22nd February 2020
Join award-winning Kenyan/Scottish storyteller Mara Menzies for 'They Felt the Fear and Did it Anyway' as part of the Paisley Book Festival!
Custom Stories While You Wait

Custom Stories While You Wait

22nd February 2020
Luke Winter writes stories for strangers on a typewriter, and he'd like to write for you! You'll find him at Paisley Book Festival's pop up space in the Piazza Shopping Centre!
This Script with Jenny Lindsay

This Script with Jenny Lindsay

22nd February 2020
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
UWS Inspiring Women Lecture with Kirsty Wark

UWS Inspiring Women Lecture with Kirsty Wark

22nd February 2020
UWS's Inspiring Women Lecture Series presents Kirsty Wark, one of the nation's best known presenters and now bestselling author, in conversation with award winning journalist Ruth Wishart.
Pop Up Poetry Shop

Pop Up Poetry Shop

22nd February 2020
If you'd like to write creatively, either poetry or prose, pop along to one of Paisley Book Festival's Pop Up Poetry Shop events!
Jenni Fagan, Emma Jane Unsworth and Kirstin Innes: Writing Rebel Women

Jenni Fagan, Emma Jane Unsworth and Kirstin Innes: Writing Rebel Women

23rd February 2020
Join Jenni Fagan, Emma Jane Unsworth and Kirstin Innes as they discuss the politics of writing rebellious, non-conformist female protagonists.
Make Comics History

Make Comics History

23rd February 2020
Explore the different ways comics tell stories and then create your own, inspired by Paisley's history and heritage!
Nikesh Shukla

Nikesh Shukla

23rd February 2020
Join author Nikesh Shukla in conversation with Jay G Ying, co-founder of the BAME Scottish Writers Network, some of whom will also be performing in this event.
Showcase Sunday

Showcase Sunday

23rd February 2020
Pop into Paisley Central Library on Sunday 23rd February, where a whole day of fun family activities will be taking place, challenging your preconceptions of what goes into a library!
BAME Writing Masterclass with Nikesh Shukla

BAME Writing Masterclass with Nikesh Shukla

23rd February 2020
Join Nikesh Shukla, the author of books including Meatspace, Run, Riot and The Boxer, for a writing masterclass at Paisley Arts Centre!
Chitra Ramaswamy and Emily Morris: Othering Motherhood

Chitra Ramaswamy and Emily Morris: Othering Motherhood

23rd February 2020
Join Chitra Ramaswamy and Emily Morris at Paisley Arts Centre for Othering Motherhood - two very different but equally subversive accounts of pregnancy.
Confessions of a Rebel Crime Writer with Alex Gray and Caro Ramsay

Confessions of a Rebel Crime Writer with Alex Gray and Caro Ramsay

24th February 2020
Scottish crime writers, Alex Gray and Caro Ramsay, discuss the secrets behind their novels at Paisley Central Library on February 24th!
Jenny’s Well Press Presents: Writers and Rebellion

Jenny’s Well Press Presents: Writers and Rebellion

24th February 2020
Renfrewshire's only independent publisher, Jenny's Well Press, presents five Scottish writers whose fictional characters go against the grain!
Pop Up Poetry Shop

Pop Up Poetry Shop

24th February 2020
If you'd like to write creatively, either poetry or prose, pop along to one of Paisley Book Festival's Pop Up Poetry Shop events!
Relaxed Open Mic with Open Book

Relaxed Open Mic with Open Book

25th February 2020
Calling local writers to take part in a relaxed open mic session, inspired by the festival's theme Radical Stories and Rebel Voices, and led by the Open Book creative writing group!
We are Paisley Radicals!

We are Paisley Radicals!

25th February 2020
In this thought-provoking event, you will hear stories about Paisley radicals and some of the key moments in this inspiring history!
Creative Writing with Open Book

Creative Writing with Open Book

25th February 2020
Join Open Book lead reader Lesley Macniven for an informal session of reading fiction and poetry together!
Favourite Fictional Rebels

Favourite Fictional Rebels

26th February 2020
Join Teaching Fellows from The Centre for Open Learning at the University of Edinburgh as they discuss their favourite rebellious characters from literature and ask you to share your own!
Writing Queer Identities with Dean Atta and Eris Young

Writing Queer Identities with Dean Atta and Eris Young

26th February 2020
Join acclaimed poet and spoken word performer Dean Atta as he discusses his debut novel, The Black Flamingo with Eris Young.
Bookbug in the Bath

Bookbug in the Bath

26th February 2020
Dive in for a sing and a splash with Bookbug in the bath in either Gaelic or English at the Lagoon Leisure Centre!
Pop Up Poetry Shop

Pop Up Poetry Shop

26th February 2020
If you'd like to write creatively, either poetry or prose, pop along to one of Paisley Book Festival's Pop Up Poetry Shop events!
The Fountain’s Evening of Rebel Poetry

The Fountain’s Evening of Rebel Poetry

27th February 2020
The Fountain introduces some of the UK's finest poetry at Paisley Arts Centre on February 27th as part of Paisley Book Festival!
Glasgow Women’s Library Story Café: Radical Women

Glasgow Women’s Library Story Café: Radical Women

27th February 2020
Sit back, relax and listen to stories and poems that celebrate poets, writers and fighters at Glasgow Women's Library Story Cafe!
Pop up Poetry Shop

Pop up Poetry Shop

28th February 2020
Hear from some of Scotland's foremost radical writers including Sheila Templeton, Linda Jackson, Tracy Patrick, Ross Wilson, Graham Fulton and Brian Whittingham!
Alan Bissett presents... Chris McQueer

Alan Bissett presents... Chris McQueer

28th February 2020
Join Alan Bissett at Callums Cavern as he chats to Scottish literature sensation Chris McQueer as part of Paisley Book Festival!
Jackie Kay

Jackie Kay

28th February 2020
Don't miss an hour of poetry and entertainment with the Scots Makar and author of award-winning publications Jackie Kay as part of Paisley Book Festival!
Janet Coats Memorial Prize Award Ceremony

Janet Coats Memorial Prize Award Ceremony

28th February 2020
Join this year's shortlist for the announcement of both the Adult and Under 18s winners of the Janet Coats Memorial Prize!
Paisley Book Walk with Jules Verne

Paisley Book Walk with Jules Verne

29th February 2020
Travel through time with intrepid explorer Jules Verne and discover Paisley's secret past through the eyes of literature's heroes!
Festival Finale: Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers

Festival Finale: Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers

29th February 2020
Paisley's first ever book festival will close in style with a musical performance from the Fun Lovin' Crime Writers!
Fierce, Fearless and Free with Lari Don

Fierce, Fearless and Free with Lari Don

29th February 2020
Lari Don introduces Fierce Fearless & Free, her new collection of myths and legends, at POP as part of Paisley Book Festival!
Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers Talk Books

Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers Talk Books

29th February 2020
Join the Fun Lovin' Crime Writers for an entertaining hour as they share some of their latest work ahead of their musical performance!
Alan Bissett presents... Magi Gibson, Kevin P. Gilday and Imogen Stirling

Alan Bissett presents... Magi Gibson, Kevin P. Gilday and Imogen Stirling

29th February 2020
Catch Magi Gibson, Kevin P. Gilday and Imogen Stirling, three of Scotland's brightest poetic talents, in an unusual, intimate event as part of Paisley Book Festival!
Alan Bissett presents... Tom Leonard’s Radical Renfrew: 30 Years On

Alan Bissett presents... Tom Leonard’s Radical Renfrew: 30 Years On

29th February 2020
Glasgow University Professor Gerry Carruthers discusses Radical Renfrew's influence, thirty years on, and that of the late, great Leonard himself.
Custom Stories While You Wait

Custom Stories While You Wait

29th February 2020
Luke Winter writes stories for strangers on a typewriter, and he'd like to write for you! You'll find him at Paisley Book Festival's pop up space in the Piazza Shopping Centre!
Pop Up Poetry Shop

Pop Up Poetry Shop

29th February 2020
If you'd like to write creatively, either poetry or prose, pop along to one of Paisley Book Festival's Pop Up Poetry Shop events!
Slogan Screen Printing with ReMode

Slogan Screen Printing with ReMode

29th February 2020
Print your own slogan onto recycled material and stitch it up to make a personalised Paisley Book Festival tote-bag with upcycling experts ReMode!

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Popular Events

Bloom Gin Tasting Night
Calling all Gin lovers are you looking for something to beat the January Blues? Ingliston Country Club & Hotel‎ have got just the event for you!
Bottle Lampshade Making Workshop
Join Beautiful Wild Textiles at The Haberdashery in Paisley for a fun and relaxed Bottle Lampshade Making Workshop on February 1st!
Alastair Savage and Friends, Scots Fiddle Old and New
Alastair Savage and Friends present a special Rabbie Burns Day lunchtime concert in the magnificent setting of Paisley Abbey!
Renfrewshire Bookbug Sessions
Free, fun and fantastic! Renfrewshire Libraries run several interactive song, rhyme and story Bookbug sessions throughout the week!
Public Skating at intu Braehead
The festive season is just around the corner and what better way to welcome winter than ice skating at intu Braehead!

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