Paisley Book Festival

Thursday 20 - Saturday 29 February, 2020

Contact

Box Office

Paisley Arts Centre
15 New Street
Paisley
PA1 1EZ

Mon – Sat, 10am – 4pm

 

+(0)300 300 1210

Mon – Sat, 10am – 4pm

 

You can also buy tickets in person from any Renfrewshire library.

Over the course of 10 days, Paisley’s first -ever book festival will bring you a huge range of events and activities for all ages, based on the central theme of Radical Voices and Rebel Stories.

Throughout the festival,  hear from diverse creative voices, both local and from further afield, about what it means to be a rebel in today’s unequal society. Drawing on the Paisley Radicals of 1820 as inspiration, the Paisley Book Festival will explore how we can honour their challenging ideas and vibrant energy 200 years later.

Maggie Craig

Radical Renfrewshire: Opening Night 

Thurs 20 Feb
7pm-9pm
Paisley Arts Centre
£10/£6

Buy tickets online now

A major opening night event featuring an exclusive reading from Scottish radicalism author Maggie Craig (pictured above), poetry from Renfrewshire – born Jim Carruth, and music from Glasgow-based singer-songwriter Heir of the Cursed.

Pop-Up Poetry Shop 

Thurs 20 Feb, 10am-12pm: Bianco e Nero
Fri 21 Feb, 1pm-3pm: Fairfull Cafe
Sat 22 Feb, 10am-12pm: Bianco e Nero
Mon 24 Feb, 1pm-3pm: Fairfull Cafe
Weds 26 Feb, 1pm-3pm: Fairfull Cafe
Fri 28 Feb, 10am-12pm: Bianco e Nero
Sat 29 Feb, 1pm-3pm: Fairfull Cafe

Paisley has a rich poetic history, from Robert Tannahill to Tom Leonard. If you’d like to write creatively – either poetry or prose – drop in to browse books, poems, Paisley maps and photographs in the Pop-up Poetry Shop. Be creative. Whatever you write is right!

365: Stories and Music

Fri 21 Feb – Sat 29 Feb
10am – 5pm
POP! Piazza Shopping Centre
FREE – drop-in, family

Drop in to experience this very special sound installation of contemporary Scottish stories and music by acclaimed author James Robertson and musician Aidan O’Rourke (of Lau). Bold, tender, full of old truths and distilled modern wit, this is an epic built on the beauty of the miniature.

Poets in the Library

Fri 21 Feb
7pm-9pm

Paisley Central Library (located at Lagoon Leisure Centre)
FREE – ticketed

Hear from some of Scotland’s foremost radical writers including Sheila Templeton, Linda Jackson, Tracy Patrick, Ross Wilson, Graham Fulton and Brian Whittingham. These voices tell much-needed stories of rebellion from the Paisley mills, Kelty mines, Clydeside shipyards and Aberdeen fish-markets.

Create Cafe: Paisley Book Fest Special

Fri 21 Feb
7.30pm – 10pm
BLEND Coffee Lounge
FREE – drop in, ages 12-21

A fun, creative place to express yourself, make friends and try new experiences. In this Paisley Book Fest special, we will showcase young songwriters and poets, and host mini creative writing workshops throughout the evening on themes of Paisley’s heritage and radicalism.

Custom Stories While You Wait

Sat 22 Feb & Sat 29 Feb
10am – 5pm
POP! Piazza Shopping Centre
FREE – drop-in, family

Luke Winter writes stories for strangers on a typewriter, and he’d like to write for you! All he needs is a title or subject, and away his imagination will go, creating a unique story that will be yours to take home.

They Felt the Fear and Did It Anyway

Sat 22 Feb
11am-12pm
POP! Piazza Shopping Centre
£5 (under 12s go free)

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Join award-winning Kenyan/Scottish storyteller Mara Menzies (pictured above) for incredible stories from her dual heritage that celebrate those who stood their ground despite facing difficulties. Told with riotous dynamism, warmth and humour, share in the joy of this ancient, thrilling art form. Love stories? Then you are sure to love this!

Breaking the Mould: Creating Disabled & Low-Income Access to Publishing

Sat 22 Feb
12.30pm-1.30pm
Paisley Arts Centre
£8/£5

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Award-winning author Ever Dundas is joined by Stuart White, founder of Write Mentor; Briana Pegado, director of Creative Edinburgh; and Lynsey Rogers, Writing Communities Coordinator at the Scottish Book Trust, in this discussion about diversity in publishing – and what positive changes are being made to open the gates. Chaired by Julie Farrell.

Make Your Own Zine Workshop!

Sat 22 Feb
2pm-4pm
Piazza Shopping Centre
£8 (suitable for ages 12+)

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Join illustrator and comics artist Maria Stoian for a radical zine workshop, where you’ll make a pocket booklet from scratch. Work with a range of materials to develop your message and explore an issue you care about. Get your thoughts onto paper, make some art, and spread your voice!

Kirsty Wark: UWS Inspiring Women Lecture

Sat 22 Feb
2pm -3pm
UWS Student’s Union (ground floor)
£12/£5 students

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UWS’s Inspiring Women Lecture Series presents Kirsty Wark, one of the nation’s best-known presenters and now best-selling author, in conversation with award winning journalist Ruth Wishart. Kirsty will talk about her novel and share her experiences of a career that spans some of the UK’s most pivotal moments.

John Byrne’s Big Birthday Bash 

Sat 22 Feb
4.30pm-6pm
Paisley Arts Centre
£15/£12

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John Byrne (pictured above) returns to his native Paisley celebrating his 80th year. Part retrospective of his incredible body of work and part a raucous knees-up, expect readings from John’s plays, old and new, special guests and probably some cake.

Janice Galloway: Transfiguring the Commonplace

Sat 22 Feb
7pm-8pm
Paisley Arts Centre
£10/£6

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Since the publication of her debut novel The Trick Is To Keep Breathing thirty years ago, Janice Galloway’s lyrical, radical voice has cut through Scottish culture, continually redefining what it means to be Scottish, an artist and a woman. She talks to Kirstin Innes about her life, work, and anything else that takes her fancy.

Jenny Lindsay: This Script

Sat 22 Feb
8.30pm-9.30pm
Paisley Arts Centre
£10/£6

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At once a poetic memoir taking in #MeToo, sex, porn, love and ageing in a gendered world, 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.

Showcase Sunday

Showcase Sunday

Sun 23 Feb
10am 4pm
Paisley Central Library (located at Lagoon Leisure Centre)
FREE – drop in

Renfrewshire Libraries bring books, a love of reading and all kinds of goings-on to the people of Renfrewshire – Bookbug, book groups, code clubs, free ebooks, digital fun and so much more. Get a little taste for yourself with a whole day of fun family activities to challenge your preconceptions of what goes on in a library.

Campfire Club: Rousing Rebels

Sun 23 Feb
11am – 11.45am
Wevolution
£5 (children 0-2 years go FREE with an adult)

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A fusion of traditional storytelling with role-play and creative writing on the festival theme of Rousing Rebels. Gather around our indoor campfire as we explore stories from around the world, then work together to create brand new stories of our very own! Run by Oak Tree Arts.

Make Comics History

Sun 23 Feb
12.30pm-2pm
Paisley Central Library (located at Lagoon Leisure Centre)
FREE – ticketed

Explore the different ways comics tell stories and then create your own, inspired by Paisley’s history and heritage. Led by Paul Bristow, author of a new graphic novel exploring the Paisley Radicals of 1820, which will also be previewed at this event. Supported by Renfrewshire Council’s Culture, Heritage and Events Fund (CHEF).

Chitra Ramaswamy & Emily Morris: Othering Motherhood

Sun 23 Feb
1pm-2pm
Paisley Arts Centre
£10/£6

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Two very different but equally subversive accounts of pregnancy. Chitra Ramaswamy’s beautiful memoir Expecting: The Inner Life of Pregnancy follows nine months of gestation, the story of a pregnant body and an artist’s mind. My Sh**y Twenties is Emily Morris’s honest, caustic, hilarious and poignant look at her accidental pregnancy and single motherhood. Baby-friendly event.

Nikesh Shukla: BAME Writing Masterclass

Sun 23 Feb
2.30pm-4.30pm
Paisley Arts Centre
£8/£5

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Nikesh Shukla (pictured above) is the author of books including Run, Riot, Meatspace, and The Boxer, as well as editor of the critically acclaimed essay collection The Good Immigrant. In this workshop for writers of colour, Nikesh shares his writing tips and leads some exercises to get the creative juices flowing. Designed in partnership with the BAME Scottish Writers Network.

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

Sun 23 Feb
5pm-6pm
Paisley Arts Centre
£10/£6

2020 marks the arrival of three highly-anticipated new books by some of the most exciting young writers around – Luckenbooth by Jenni Fagan, Adults by Emma Jane Unsworth and Scabby Queen by Kirstin Innes. Here they discuss the politics of writing rebellious, non-conformist female protagonists.

Nikesh Shukla

Sun 23 Feb
7pm-8.30pm
Paisley Arts Centre
£10/£6

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The author of books including Meatspace, Run, Riot and The Boxer, as well as editor of the critically acclaimed essay collection The Good Immigrant. Join Nikesh in conversation with Jay G Ying, co-founder of the BAME Scottish Writers Network, some of whom will also be performing in this event.

Jenny’s Well Press: Writers & Rebellion

Mon 24 Feb
5.30pm-6.30pm
Paisley Arts Centre
£5/£3

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Literature often embodies rebellion as a cultural response to events that are happening in society. Renfrewshire’s only independent publisher, Jenny’s Well Press, presents five Scottish writers – Jim Ferguson, Fiona Lindsay, Tracy Patrick, Dave Manderson and Carl MacDougall – whose fictional characters go against the grain.

Alex Gray & Caro Ramsay: Confessions of a Rebel Crime Writer

Mon 24 Feb
7.30pm-8.30pm
Paisley Central Library (located at Lagoon Leisure Centre)
FREE – ticketed

Two Scottish crime writers discuss the secrets behind their novels, revealing the forensic research, quirks and strange stories surrounding their profession. Alex Gray, author of Five Ways to Kill a Man and co-founder of Bloody Scotland joins Caro Ramsay, author of the acclaimed Anderson & Costello series.

Creative Writing with Open Book

Tues 23 Feb
11am-1pm
Paisley Arts Centre
FREE – drop in

Join Open Book lead reader Lesley McNiven for an informal session of reading fiction and poetry together, followed by some easy creative writing prompts in response to our discussion. Plus a chance to sign up for this evening’s Open Mic. All welcome!

Relaxed Open Mic with Open Book

Tues 25 Feb
5pm-6.30pm
Paisley Arts Centre
FREE – ticketed

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 that runs regularly in Paisley Central Library. Limited sign-up slots available on the night.

We are Paisley Radicals!

Tues 25 Feb
7.30pm-9pm
Paisley Arts Centre
£5/£3

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Fundamental Conduit are an exciting project based in Paisley, mixing spoken word, music and performance. In this thought-provoking event, you will hear stories about Paisley radicals and some of the key moments in this inspiring history, reflecting on local radicalism and rebellion within our current political climate.

Bookbug in the Bath

Tues 25 Feb
Gaelic – 10.30am-11.10am; English – 11.30am-12.10pm
Lagoon Leisure Centre
FREE – ticketed (1 ticket per family)

Dive in for a sing and a splash with Bookbug in the bath in English or Gaelic. Please be poolside 5 minutes before the session starts so as not to miss a single splosh! In association with Renfrewshire Leisure, Renfrewshire Libraries and Paisley Arts Centre.

Favourite Fictional Rebels

Weds 26 Feb
5.30pm-6.30pm
Paisley Central Library (located at Lagoon Leisure Centre)
FREE – ticketed

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. From characters behaving badly to subtle acts of dissent, together we aim to create our very own Rebel Reading List.

Dean Atta & Eris Young: Writing Queer Identities

Weds 26 Feb
7pm-8pm
Paisley Arts Centre
£8/£5

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Acclaimed poet and spoken word performer Dean Atta discusses his debut novel, The Black Flamingo, a bold coming of age story following a mixed-race gay teen, in conversation with Eris Young, writer-in-residence at Lighthouse Books, whose new book They/Them/Their is a guide to non-binary and genderqueer identities.

Glasgow Women’s Library Story Cafe: Radical Women

Thurs 27 Feb
2pm-4pm
Paisley Arts Centre
FREE – drop in

Sit back, relax and listen to stories and poems that celebrate poets, writers and fighters; radical women from Jane Arthur and the thread mill workers to women campaigning for equality in publishing today. Rediscover the joy of being read to and enjoy tea and scones. In partnership with Glasgow Women’s Library and ROAR.

The Fountain’s Evening of Rebel Poetry

Thurs 27 Feb
7pm-8.30pm
Paisley Arts Centre
£12/£8

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The Fountain introduces some of the UK’s finest poetry, including Michael Pedersen reading from his recent collection Oyster, plus new works; Sarah Stewart with her publication Glisk; and Hollie McNish, who shares openly from her latest work, not for the faint-hearted. Wash it all down with a refreshing G&T from Isle of Harris Distillery.

Jackie Kay

Fri 28 Feb
5pm-6pm
Paisley Arts Centre
£10/£6

Buy your tickets now

Join us for an hour of poetry and entertainment with the Scots Makar and author of award-winning publications, Jackie Kay (pictured above). She will be reading poems on the festival’s theme of Radical Stories and Rebel Voices, including some new work inspired by the American performer and international activist Paul Robeson.

 

Janet Coats Memorial Prize Award Ceremony

Fri 28 Feb
7.15pm-8.30pm
Paisley Arts Centre
FREE – ticketed

Paisley Book Festival’s theme this year is Radical Voices and Rebel Stories and, motivated by the voices and actions of radical young people on climate change we are celebrating poetry on this issue. Join this year’s shortlist for the announcement of both the Adult and Under 18s winners of the Janet Coats Memorial Prize.

Alan Bissett presents…Chris McQueer

Fri 28 Feb
9pm-10pm
Calum’s Cavern
£10/£6

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Chris McQueer has become a sensation in Scottish literature, earning a reputation on the back of Hings – his debut book, now a BBC Scotland series – as the most surreal, funny and authentic of new voices. Given the success of its follow-up HWFG, catch him before he goes supernova.

Paisley Book Walk with Jules Verne

Sat 29 Feb
10am-11am, 12pm-1pm, 4pm-5pm, 6pm-7pm
Meet outside Paisley Abbey
£10/£8 (under 12s go FREE)

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Travel through time with intrepid explorer Jules Verne and discover Paisley’s secret past. Explore the very start of the written word, all the way through to a mysterious, ghost-filled graveyard. This immersive experience will surprise and delight all ages. After booking, you will receive instructions and a tour map via email.

Lari Don: Fierce, Fearless and Free

Sat 29 Feb
12pm-1pm
POP! Piazza Shopping Centre
£5 (under 12s go FREE)

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Lari Don introduces her new collection of myths and legends about girls who escape ogres, defeat dragons, save villages, and never wait for a prince to save them. Come and hear about where she found these tales, why they are important and how they can inspire new stories.

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

Sat 29 Feb
1.30pm-2.30pm
The Lane

£8/£5

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In 1990, Tom Leonard – one of Scotland’s greatest poets and Paisley’s then Writer-in-Residence – unearthed a monumental collection of working-class poetry from Renfrewshire archives, unread for centuries. Glasgow University’s Professor Gerry Carruthers discusses Radical Renfrew’s influence, thirty years on, and that of the late, great Leonard himself.

Slogan Screen Printing with ReMode

Sat 29 Feb
2pm-5pm
POP! Piazza Shopping Centre
£12/£8

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Slogans have always been a popular way of spreading radical ideas. Take part in a hands-on print workshop led by upcycling experts ReMode. Print your own slogan onto recycled material and stitch it up to make a personalised Paisley Book Festival tote-bag.

Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers Talk Books

Sat 29 Feb
3pm-4pm
Paisley Arts Centre

£12/£8

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Ahead of their musical performance later tonight, the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers (pictured above) share some of their latest work, talk books, and discuss how they manage to fit it all in. Don’t miss this entertaining hour with Val McDermid, Christopher Brookmyre, Mark Billingham, Doug Johnstone, Stuart Neville and Luca Veste.

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

Sat 29 Feb
4.30pm-5.30pm
Bull Inn
£10/£6

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Catch three of Scotland’s brightest poetic talents! Kevin P. Gilday is one half of duo Sonnet Youth and acclaimed in his own right. Magi Gibson has been a mainstay of the scene for nearly thirty years and continues to inspire. They’re joined by award-winning slam champ Imogen Stirling in a unusual, intimate event.

Festival Finale: Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers

Sat 29 Feb
7.30pm-9.30pm
Paisley Arts Centre
£12/£8

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Join us to round off Paisley’s first ever book festival in style with the most literary rock band around, fresh from Glastonbury last summer. Taking to the stage as the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers are best-loved authors Val McDermid, Christopher Brookmyre, Mark Billingham, Doug Johnstone, Stuart Neville and Luca Veste.

 

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