Glasgow's book festival Aye Write to go ahead on smaller scale after unexpected donation

Events will now include appearances by Hollywood actor Alan Cumming, the award winning novelist Lionel Shriver and Nicola Sturgeon in conversation with Val McDermid.
Alan Cumming and Forbes Masson. Picture: Tommy Ga-Ken WanAlan Cumming and Forbes Masson. Picture: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan
Alan Cumming and Forbes Masson. Picture: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

Aye Write, Glasgow’s book festival was cancelled for this year after a failed bid for funding from Creative Scotland, the government’s arts body. This year’s events will go ahead on a much smaller scale, secured by a £65,000 donation from the charitable foundation established by the late Euromillions winner, Colin Weir.

Aye Write has been running in Glasgow for nearly 20 years. It was shelved last month, just weeks before the event had been expected to return, after it was snubbed for support by the Scottish Government's arts agency. Aye Write’s £77,500 bid for funding for this year was rejected.

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Aye Write has been produced by Glasgow Life, the council-funded charity which is responsible for many of the city’s leading cultural venues.

We won’t see the expected ten day event - last year 175 authors appeared in more than 120 events - but the funding does include a number of stand-alone events throughout the year. Some of these events had previously been announced. The funding has also secured this year’s Wee Write, the book festival for children and young people in Glasgow, The Herald reports, although that programme will be announced later in the year and will also be in a more compact format.

Events for Aye Write 2024 include appearances from Holywood actor Alan Cumming, the award winning novelist Lionel Shriver and an in conversation event with Nicola Sturgeon and Val McDermid.

There will be an event with author Damian Barr and playwright James Ley, who have worked together on adapting Barr’s memoir, Maggie & Me, for the stage. LBC broadcaster and author of How They Broke Britain, James O’Brien, will appear at an in conversation event on 17 May at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

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Former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will appear with Ms McDermid at The Old Fruitmarket on 21 May. Alan Cumming will be reunited with his former Victor & Barry partner Forbes Masson at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 8 August.

Tickets for the slimmed-down literary events go on sale at 10am today.

Events confirmed for Aye Write 2024

  • Damian Barr and James Ley in conversation with Jackie Wylie on Tuesday 30 April at The Mitchell Library.
  • GT Karber ‘How To Solve A Murdle’ on Thursday 16 May at Waterstones, Sauchiehall Street.
  • James O’Brien in conversation with Editor of The Herald, Catherine Salmond on Friday 17 May at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
  • Val McDermid in conversation with Nicola Sturgeon MSP on Tuesday 21 May at The Old Fruitmarket.
  • Doon Mackichan in conversation with Kieran Hodgson on Wednesday 22 May at Waterstones, Sauchiehall Street.
  • Lionel Shriver on Sunday 26 May at Waterstones, Sauchiehall Street.
  • David Nicholls on Friday 14 June at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
  • Chris Brookmyre on Wednesday 17 July at Drygate.
  • Alan Cumming and Forbes Masson on Thursday 8 August at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

Bailie 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.”

A spokesman for the Colin Weir Charitable Foundation said: “We are pleased to be able to support Aye Write to put on a programme of great events in 2024.

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"It was unthinkable that Aye Write should be silenced until next year. Happily, the donation means that won’t be the case.”

Glasgow Life still intend to deliver a multi-year funding application to Creative Scotland for future festivals.

Colin Weir and his wife at the time, Christine, won £161m on the EuroMillions in July 2011, he died in December 2019. He brokered a deal to takeover Partick Thistle shortly before his death.

When the full festival was cancelled, Shuggie Bain author Douglas Stuart said: “I have watched in horror, as Scotland has haggled over funding for the arts, has closed her libraries, and now has allowed the cancellation of a major literary festival in her largest city.”

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