Douglas Stuart and Maggie O’Farrell join Aye Write book festival line-up

The event will take place online over two weekends in May.

Maggie O’Farrell
Maggie O’Farrell

Booker Prize winner Douglas Stuart and novelists Maggie O’Farrell and Kate Mosse are among those appearing at a book festival which is moving online this year.

The Aye Write festival, usually held at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow in March, was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic and postponed this year due to the ongoing restrictions.

It will now take place online over two weekends in May and will feature more than 100 writers from Scotland and around the world.

The line-up also includes broadcaster Andrew Marr talking about the books that made him, radio and TV presenter Nicky Campbell on his adoption memoir, musician turned writer Tracey Thorn, and musician Richard Thompson.

Douglas Stuart
Douglas Stuart won the Booker Prize for his novel Shuggie Bain (David Parry/PA)

Monique Roffey, who won the 2020 Costa Book of the Year for The Mermaid Of Black Conch, also features on the programme, as do BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner and former Labour leader and the party’s shadow business secretary Ed Miliband.

Elsewhere, Lockerbie campaigner Jim Swire will be talking to broadcaster Kate Adie.

Aye Write programmer Bob McDevitt said: “Putting the festival together this year in lockdown has brought a few challenges, but the online format has also allowed us to have the most international programme I think we’ve ever had, with authors joining us from California, New York, Austin, Montreal, Brisbane, Oslo and Dublin, as well as some fantastic authors from Scotland and the rest of the UK.

“I’m especially excited by our literary prize winners – Glasgow’s very own Douglas Stuart, Monique Roffey and Maggie O’Farrell.

“Aye Write always provides a home for stimulating conversations and this year is no exception, with a mix of well-known faces and some outstanding debut writers, many making their first ever festival appearance.”

In November, Glasgow-born Stuart became only the second Scottish writer to win the Booker Prize for his debut novel Shuggie Bain, which was inspired by his childhood in the city in the 1980s.

The programme of talks and discussion panels cover issues including mental health and wellbeing, racism, women’s rights, ethical travel, data security and Scotland after the coronavirus pandemic.

More than two-thirds of the programme will be broadcast live on a pay per view digital platform, with audiences able to ask questions and engage in the talks.

Most of the live and recorded content will be available online for three weeks after each event.

The festival will take place over the weekends of May 14-16 and May 21-23.

On April 28, a warm-up to the main event will see crime writers Chris Brookmyre, Denise Mina and Louise Welsh in conversation with each other.

Early bird passes for access to all the events over the two weekends are available now, priced at £40.

The full programme will be available on the Aye Write website from April 29, with tickets on sale from that day too.

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