John Byrne celebrates his 80th year with a Big Birthday Bash in his hometown; Kirsty Wark talks about her new novel and her life reporting politics and Nikesh Shukla, editor of The Good Immigrant, is in discussion with Jay G Ying, co-founder of the BAME Scottish Writers Network Festival will open with Radical Renfrewshire, marking the 200th anniversary of the Paisley Radicals - the inspiration behind the festival.
The Festival Finale will feature a live gig from the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers - aka an all-star line-up of Val McDermid, Christopher Brookmyre, Mark Billingham, Doug Johnstone, Stuart Neville and Luca Veste swapping murder for music
Other highlights include Janice Galloway, Jackie Kay, Kirstin Innes, Jenni Fagan, Chris McQueer, Emma Jane Unsworth and Alan Bissett
From 20th - 29th February 2020 venues across Paisley will host events - from festival hub Paisley Arts Centre to the Bull Inn pub, Piazza Shopping Centre and The Lagoon swimming pool.
To book tickets and for more information please visit the Paisley Book Festival website.
The full programme has been announced for the first ever Paisley Book Festival. The inaugural event - set to become a regular annual festival in Paisley’s cultural calendar- will celebrate Radical Stories and Rebel Voices to mark the 200th anniversary of the Paisley Radicals. It will run at various venues across the town from 20th to 29th February 2020.
Highlights across the ten days include:
Paisley Book Festival will also host the inaugural Janet Coats Memorial Prize, created in honour of the Paisley-born wife of publisher James Tait Black who herself released two volumes of nature-inspired poetry in the late 19th century. Shortlisted from open submissions from Scottish poets on the theme of climate change, the two winners - one for a poem written by an adult and one by an author under the age of 18 - will be announced at a ceremony at the festival on 28th February. The deadline to submit poems is 5pm on Friday 13th December.
Tickets to all events go on sale 10am Friday 29 November online at paisleybookfest.com , by calling 0300 300 1210 or in person at Paisley Arts Centre. The Paisley Book Festival hashtag is #PBF2020
Paisley Book Festival is funded by Renfrewshire Leisure and Renfrewshire Council through Renfrewshire Council’s Future Paisley programme.
Victoria Hollows, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, said:
“We are delighted to bring the Paisley Book Festival to life for the first time. Renfrewshire Leisure’s Arts and Libraries teams have worked with the Producers to create a programme that we are proud of and excited to share with audiences. Our aim is to establish the festival as a key part of Scotland’s cultural calendar. We would like to thank our partners Renfrewshire Council for the funding and support offered through the Future Paisley programme which has made the festival possible”.
Rikki Payne, Arts Manager for Renfrewshire Leisure, said:
"The Radical Wars provide the historical backdrop for this event but we’re really keen to explore what radicalism means now. Faced with the challenges of climate emergency, rising inequality and political division, radical thinking and writing has never been so important. The Paisley Book Festival provides a space to foreground those issues and to hear and read the diverse voices confronting them head-on”.
Keira Brown, Co-producer of the festival, said:
"We are excited to reveal a rich and diverse cultural programme for the inaugural Paisley Book Festival, with a variety of events that open the space for debate and reading, from our discussion with Kirsty Wark in conjunction with the University of West of Scotland to our BAME Writing Masterclass with Nikesh Shukla. There is something for everyone in Paisley in February 2020”.
Jess Orr, Co-producer of the festival, said:
“What better time to establish a new festival in Renfrewshire that celebrates readers, writers and the value of creativity and fresh ideas than in 2020, 200 years after the everyday people of Paisley rose against the establishment and demanded better for their communities. From readings, workshops, spoken word, storytelling and even live performances around the town, we hope everyone will find something to inspire them in Paisley Book Festival's inaugural programme”.
For interviews, images etc please contact Ruth Marsh on 07824468396 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
Future Paisley is an ambitious approach to cultural regeneration that harnesses the power of culture to support positive social change. It is the legacy of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 which has energised the town to focus on a positive future. It complements a wide programme of investment over the coming years, including £100m investment into civic and cultural infrastructure, and the delivery of ambitious City Deal projects.
Jess Orr has a background in book festivals. From programming strands of book events and managing a range of projects at the Edinburgh International Book Festival as well as establishing Open the Door: Scotland’s first festival dedicated to Scottish women’s writing at the Glasgow Women’s Library, getting none other than Ali Smith on the bill.
Keira Brown has an in depth understanding of the commercial side within the book industry, and the long-term impact of book events. She has a local knowledge of the creative writing and spoken word scene in Paisley as well as her experience developing and spearheading the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize for Booktrust.
For more info on the radical wars of 1820 and Paisley’s role in them see
Information about what’s on and new developments in Paisley can be found at: https://paisley.is