15th Aye Write book festival to welcome a host of influential authors to Glasgow

By Ellen Thomson at


The 15th Aye Write book festival opens at the Mitchell Library this Thursday – March 12.

For more than a fortnight, the city centre will be abuzz with book-related readings, talks and discussions.

Top Scottish novelists such as Val McDermid and Christopher Brookmyre are among the 270-plus writers attending.

Val McDermid

Top Scottish novelist Val McDermid.

International bestsellers include Joanna Trollope, Lars Mytting and Booker Prize joint winner Bernardine Evaristo.

As well as literary figures, Aye Write 2020 features household names from across the cultural spectrum.

Bake Off’s Prue Leith, Strictly’s Anton Du Beke and comedian Paul Tonkinson are among the stars present.

Festival highlights include Remembering Alasdair: a special tribute to the late writer and artist Alasdair Gray.

Aye Write poster

Aye Write returns for the 15th time

The Glasgow writer who died in December had been scheduled to appear to discuss his new book, Purgatory with his biographer, Rodge Glass.

On Friday (March 13), some of Gray’s friends – including Bernard MacLaverty and Janice Galloway – will join Glass in the Mitchell Library to pay tribute to the writer.

Councillor David McDonald, chair of Glasgow Life and depute leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “The Remembering Alasdair event promises a very inspiring evening – albeit a sad one for Aye Write.

“Alasdair was a much-loved contributor to the festival.

Anton du Beke

Strictly star Anton du Beke is one of the household names appearing this year.

“Through his writing, murals and other artworks as well his visionary thinking, he brought so much to Glasgow, Scotland and the world.

“It’s fitting that we pay tribute to the man and his work at Aye Write – a festival that celebrates books and culture, while also providing an important forum for thinking and debate.”

Imagine A Country is an event hosted by crime-writer Val McDermid and university professor Jo Sharp.

Prominent figures including Stuart Cosgrove and Louise Welsh present their dream of a future Scotland.

Bernardine Evaristo is a joint winner of the Booker Prize. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Running from March 12-29, Aye Write 2020 spans more than a fortnight and covers three full weekends.

Primarily based at Glasgow’s Mitchell Library, the programme includes events – such as creative writing sessions and talks – at venues throughout the city.

“I’m really excited about this year’s festival,” said Aye Write programmer Bob McDevitt.

“After 15 years it’s still serving up surprises and this year’s programme includes some very special firsts, including our first ever reigning Booker prizewinner, Bernardine Evaristo, who’ll discuss her sensational novel, Girl, Woman, Other.

“Aye Write is a fantastic celebration of books and literature which also offers first-class entertainment and there’s something for everyone to enjoy – whether they’re into poetry, history or are more interested in cookery, music, art, politics or the great outdoors.

Joanna Trollope

Joanna Trollope is one of the bestselling authors attending.

“Most importantly, perhaps, Aye Write gives audiences the chance to meet the people behind the books and to ask questions, express opinions and engage in lively debate about some of the most important issues of the day.”