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Paisley Book Festival

The 2024 Paisley Book Festival, themed 'Imagine Something Different', invites attendees to embark on a transformative journey, embracing the festival's renowned radical edge.

Paisley Book Festival

About Paisley Book Festival

Over four days, from Thursday 25 to Sunday 28 April, Paisley will welcome some of the UK’s finest literary talent for discussions and events in venues including the recently refurbished Paisley Town Hall and the new Paisley Central Library. Now in its 5th year, the 2024 Festival theme is ‘Imagine Something Different’ where audiences will embark on a journey of discovery into the world of stories and storytelling. To assist in helping make the arts as accessible to all, the majority of events will be on a pay what you can basis.

The 2024 Paisley Book Festival highlights at Paisley Town Hall include:

• Sally Magnusson (Music in the Dark) on Thu 25 Apr, 8pm
• Andrew McMillan (Working Lives) on Fri 26 Apr, 5pm
• Pat Nevin (The Beautiful Game) on Fri 26 Apr, 7.30pm
• Aasmah Mir (A Pebble in the Throat) on Sat 27 Apr, 2.30pm
• Judy Murray (The Wild Card) on Sat 27 Apr, 5pm
• Graeme Armstrong (part of Scottish Masculinities with Alan Bissett and Brian Conaghan) on Sun 28 Apr, 5pm

The Festival kicks off with a celebration of Scotland’s favourite sport in an evening hosted by Daniel Gray, football writer and editor of the Scottish football magazine, Nutmeg. Daniel will interview the legendary Rose Reilly and crime novelist and founder of the Scottish Crime Writers football team, Craig Robertson with poetry interspersed from Graham Fulton, Stephen Watt and St Mirren’s own poet in residence Julie McNeill. The Beautiful Game series also welcomes national football hero and football media pundit, Pat Nevin to the festival on Friday 26 April.

Other festival highlights include Sally Magnusson who will talk about her latest novel Music in the Dark and her career as a writer.

Historical fiction writers Sara Sheridan and Lesley McDowell will be in discussion about how they transform the people and places we know (or think we know) into fiction. Sara will also be taking part in a relaxed session on the Friday when all book lovers can ask the questions they have always wanted to ask of one of Scotland's top writers.

London-based Nigerian German author, Olumide Popoola, introduces her new novel, Like Water Like Sea, which deals with themes of grief and mental illness.

Andrew McMillan introduces his debut novel - Pity - to festival audiences. The book narrates the lives of three generations of men from a South Yorkshire mining town, which was once a hub of industry but now struggles to find a new identity in the wake of seismic social change.

Asamah Mir will read from her book and discuss the nuances of growing up between two continents.

Local writers' group Nights At The Round Table celebrates their 10th Anniversary, featuring regular and familiar Paisley Buddy faces from a decade of poetry and spoken word.

Another strand of the festival is its Oot and Aboot series exploring the human drive to get out into nature. Author Merryn Glover, will be joined by musician Hamish Napier for a magical journey through Scottish landscapes via music, images and words. Audiences will also have a chance to get outside and create their own work inspired by nature in a special workshop, Walking and Writing Paisley.

Writing the Wrongs of the Past, Ajay Close and Donna Moore will chat with fellow author and ex-police officer Karen Campbell about the events that inspired their books, and whether in light of social campaigns such as the #MeToo movement, we might begin to imagine a better future for women in their dealings with the law.

Join the conversation about being a woman in the public eye with Tik Tok sensation and Scots poet Len Pennie and award winning film-maker and author Sarah Grant, who discuss stereotypes, marginalised identities, the importance of visibility, and imagining something different from the mainstream in their new books.

Local Scottish author, Victoria Williamson, will launch her latest book Red Runs the Witch's Thread, which re-imagines the story of Christian Shaw and the Bargarran Witches of Renfrewshire.

Poets come to the stage to compete in the Loud Poets West Regional Slam Heat, hosted by Kevin Mclean and featuring last year’s winner Gray Crosbie, plus a chance to win a place in the Grand Slam Final in Edinburgh this August.

New to this year’s Festival is Ireland in Focus, curated by Northern Irish writer, Jan Carson, bringing five of Ireland's most exciting contemporary voices to Paisley. Writers include Sheila Armstrong, Noel O’Regan, Dawn Watson and Martin Doyle.

Festival favourites Graeme Armstrong, Alan Bissett and Brian Conaghan have been working on a project with young people in Renfrewshire schools talking about Scottish Masculinities. Hear what they’ve learnt with Renfrewshire school librarian Kenneth Naismith.

Another highlight of the festival is The Wild Card with Judy Murray. Hear her read from the book and discuss the real-life events of her career that inspired it.

In memory of the legacy of Janet Coats of the renowned thread-making family, J&P Coats, the Janet Coats Memorial Prize is the Festival’s annual poetry prize for adults and young people. On Friday 26th March, the winners will be announced by the judging panel at an Award Ceremony.

Music has always played an integral part in the Paisley Book Festival and this year is no different. Playwright, poet and Paisley Book Festival’s first Writer-in-Residence, Imogen Stirling and producer and multi-instrumentalist, Susan Bear present a new fusion of poetry, theatre and live drum and bass.

The Festival will close with an evening of Live Literature and Music produced by Glasgow-based Anoraq, featuring Mexican-Scottish poet and translator Juana Adcock, Austrian-Nigerian writer, Titilayo Farukuoye, and Scottish poet, musician and artist Nicky Melville.

The Festival’s Saturday will host a dedicated Family Day, providing a wide range of fun and diverse activity at the Paisley Town Hall and Paisley Central Library that is completely free for families with young children. Interactive workshops and performances - from puppet making to interactive storytelling - all exploring the magic and power of the imagination and featuring Festival favourite children’s authors Alan Windram and Ross Mackay and innovative performances from The Audio Storytelling Company and The Scots Opera Project.

Family day events can be booked in advance, or you can drop in on the day.

All of the above plus a schools programme curated by the school libraries team. From Monday 22 April to Friday 27 April, the programme will feature some of the finest children’s writers with sessions that will appeal to all ages. Making their Festival debut are Eve Ainsworth, Nadine Aisha Jassat, Alastair Chisholm, Victoria Gemmell, Rachel Plummer, Neil Slorance and Alan Windram.

The full 2024 programme can be found by visiting paisleybookfest.com

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