Aye Write! – perhaps the best-named of all the Scottish book festivals – returns to Glasgow’s Mitchell Library on 4 April with another excellent line-up of readings, talks and workshops. As part of the Culture 2014 celebrations for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, this year’s festival not only takes a look at Scotland’s vibrant literary scene but also gives an overview of some of the unforgettable events taking place in the Year of Homecoming. Golfers, comedians, chefs and, of course, a host of contemporary writers from Scotland and beyond will weigh in on topics such as sport, food, history, and the past and future of Scotland’s literature, while one-off classes and workshops will offer advice and inspiration to budding writers in all fields. Have a look at the Aye Write! programme for full listings, or take a look at our picks for just a few ideas of what’s on this year:
Ed Hodge: Jewel in the Glen (4 April)
Ed Hodge gives an expert insight into the history of the Ryder Cup with his first book, Jewel in the Glen. A sports writer and former Gleneagles caddy, Hodge has interviewed celebrities from Sam Torrance and Lee Trevino to Andy Murray and Kenny Dalglish, asking what the Cup and the legendary course mean for them.
Archie McPherson: Reporting the Games (4 April)
The 2014 Commonwealth Games are a historic event for Scotland, and particularly for Glasgow. Sports commentator and writer Archie McPherson chairs a discussion with four fellow Herald contributors on the place of the Games in the 21st century and what they might mean for Glasgow’s future.
A Beginner’s Guide to Family History Research with Tahitia McCabe (5 April)
With 2014 being Scotland’s Year of Homecoming, now’s the time to get back to your roots and meet your ancestors. This taster session with genealogist Tahitia McCabe shows beginners how to navigate their family tree, with tips on making sense of complex databases and getting the most out of online resources.
Muriel Spark’s Finishing School for Writers (5 April)
Muriel Spark was one of Scotland’s finest authors, but she was also an editor and creative writing teacher with her finger on the publishing pulse. Writers Meaghan Delahunt, Zoe Strachan and Alan Taylor reflect on the place of creative writing in her novels, from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie to The Finishing School.
Alistair Moffat: Two Days to Make a Nation (6 April)
June marks the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, which took place outside Stirling in 1314. Historian Alistair Moffat discusses his definitive study of the historic event and explains how 400 years of history were determined in just 48 hours.
A. L. Kennedy: All the Rage (8 April)
Dundee-born A. L. Kennedy is one of Scotland’s finest contemporary authors. Her new short story collection All the Rage can’t fail to delight fans of her astute observations and complex treatment of emotions. Also a stand-up comedian, an hour with this incomparable writer promises much of her signature dark wit.
Writing the Commonwealth (9 April)
As athletes from across the globe prepare for the XX Commonwealth Games, two writers discuss whether the Commonwealth means anything in literature. Eleanor Catton, who won the Man Booker Prize for her novel The Luminaries in the first year the competition was opened to writers outside the Commonwealth, is joined by Kamila Shamsi, an award-winning Pakistani novelist who writes in English.
Daylight Rabbery: The Story of the ‘Antique Smith’ Robert Burns Forgeries (12 April)
In the 1890s, forgeries of Robert Burns‘ songs and poems began to circulate around Edinburgh’s publishing world, developing into a scandal that travelled all the way to New York. The story of the forgeries and their perpetrator, Alexander ‘Antique’ Smith, is told here in true Burns style, with dramatization, poetic recital and song-performance.
Frankie Boyle: The Books That Made Me (12 April)
Frankie Boyle closes the festival with the final instalment of The Books That Made Me, a series of interviews discussing the books that have influenced celebrities’ lives and careers. The Glasgow native reveals the titles that helped hone his infamous wit and discusses his third autobiography, Scotland’s Jesus: The Only Officially Non-racist Comedian.
Want to find out more about Scotland’s literature? Find out about the country’s literary landmarks and connections, and check our events listing for upcoming book festivals around Scotland. Happy reading!