Aye Write announces its full cast of authors for the digital book festival in May

Published: 29 Apr 2021

Aye Write. Glasgow's Book Festival. 14 - 23 May 2021

The Aye Write book festival announced today (Thursday 29 April) its full programme of online events featuring 140 authors from Scotland and around the world, over two weekends in May (14 May to 16 May and 21 May to 23 May 2021, with tickets on sale today too.

Aye Write is Glasgow’s Book Festival and is produced by Glasgow Life, the charity which delivers culture and sport in the city. The live book festival, usually held in March at the Mitchell Library, was postponed due to Government guidelines in response to Covid-19. Instead, the 16th edition of Aye Write will take place online, bringing the book festival to audiences across the world to enjoy in the comfort of their own homes.

The book festival’s digital programme of over 60 author talks and discussion panels covers a wide range of cultural topics and current themes including:

  • Bestselling Fiction: award winning authors Douglas Stuart, Maggie O’Farrell, Kate Mosse and Monique Roffey; alongside TV entertainers turned novelists Robert Webb and Mel Giedroyc.
  • Popular crime and thrillers: former MP and Secretary of State for Wales and Northern Ireland Peter Hain; BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner; SAS heroes Chris Ryan and Billy Billingham.
  • Scotland’s writing talent: Alan Warner; Helen McClory; Alan Gillespie and Alison Irvine.
  • Thought provoking memoirs: broadcaster Nicky Campbell’s moving memoir on being adopted; The Rev Richard Coles on his personal experience of grief and award-winning comedian Katy Wix's exploration of trauma, addiction, love, loss, and hope.
  • Politics and Scotland’s future post-election, Brexit and Covid: Stephen Gethins, Iain Dale and Kirstin Innes debate What Next For Scotland?; political commentator Paul Mason on the rise of the far right; former Labour leader and current Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Ed Miliband and Scotland after the pandemic through the cultural prism led by Simon Barrow and Gerry Hassan.
  • Issues of the day: activist and political commentator, Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu discusses the roots of racism and anti-blackness in the UK; Mona Elthaway and Koa Beck on today’s feminist manifesto and women’s rights; award-winning travel writer Emma Gregg shares advice on ethical travel; Professional futurist Tracey Follows reveals the effects digital technology is having on our personal freedom, whilst tech insider Sam Gilbert explores the benefits of this data revolution.
  • In touch with our environment: activist Charlie Gilmour’s extraordinary relationship with a magpie; world-renowned scientist Suzanne Simard uncovers the startling truths about trees; Professor Stephen Peake on the fast-moving science of wind-power, central to managing climate change.
  • Mental health and well-being: Dr Gavin Francis’ first-hand experience of the pandemic’s effect on all Scottish communities; Psychologist Bill Mitchell provides practical solutions for achieving a work-life balance; neuroscientist Dean Burnett explains the science behind mental health.
  • Music nostalgia: musician turned writer Tracey Thorn (Everything But The Girl); folk legend Richard Thompson (Fairport Convention) recalls life on the road and the music scene of the 60s and 70s and Bob Stanley on an incredible forty years as The Fall.
  • Our past: renowned historian Niall Ferguson on the theories of disaster; Alex Renton on learning from Glasgow’s slave trade descendants; Jim Swire and Kate Adie share their memories of the Lockerbie bombing.
  • Travelogues: Chris Dolan and Kieran Cunningham compare their European travel experiences; Outlander stars Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish on their epic road trip around the Highlands, rediscovering their homeland.

The full digital programme is available to view at www.ayewrite.com.

Dr Bridget McConnell, Chief Executive of Glasgow Life said: “The Aye Write programme brings together a huge range of writers from around the world discussing their work. The digital festival means more authors can join us from around the world and book fans everywhere can experience Aye Write from their own homes. It is set to be a fantastic celebration of writing and exploration of ideas as it always is.”

Aye Write programmer, Bob McDevitt said: “I know that this year's Aye Write is going to be a little different from those that have gone before, but I think we have all the elements of a potentially great festival and a fantastic slate of authors to entertain, enlighten and inspire us in the tradition of a classic Aye Write."

Over two thirds of the programme will be live via an accessible, Pay Per View, digital platform, with the opportunity for audiences to be 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, allowing people the luxury of being able to pick and choose when to watch.

There is also the facility to donate to Aye Care, a special fund created to help support the Aye Write book festival, its future and the vital literacy and learning programmes it delivers across the city of Glasgow throughout the year.

Aye Write is grateful for the continued support of media partner The Times and Sunday Times Scotland; funders Creative Scotland and sponsors: Rathbones, Turcan Connell, Charles Stanley, The Open University in Scotland and National Library of Scotland.

Harriet MacMillan, Literature Officer, Creative Scotland said: “It’s wonderful to see Aye Write continue to serve book lovers in 2021, enabling audiences from across the globe to enjoy their favourite authors from the comfort of their own homes.  Aye Writes programme has something for everyone, bringing authors from further afield to Scottish readers and platforming our own most exciting literary talent, including the likes of Booker Prize winner Douglas Stewart."


Aye Write takes place from Friday 14 May to Sunday 16 May and Friday 21 May to Sunday 23 May 2021.  The full digital programme is available at www.ayewrite.com.

Tickets for Aye Write 2021 are only available to purchase online at www.glasgowlifetv.com

Ticket types: All-access festival pass £50; Individual tickets from £5

Glasgow Life is a charity working for the benefit of the people of Glasgow. We believe everyone deserves a great Glasgow life and we find innovative ways to make this happen across the city’s diverse communities.

Our programmes, experiences and events range from grassroots community activities to large-scale cultural, artistic and sporting events which present Glasgow on an international stage.

Our work is designed to promote inclusion, happiness and health, as well as support the city’s visitor economy, in order to enhance Glasgow’s mental, physical and economic wellbeing.

For more information on our work, see www.glasgowlife.org.uk

Aye Care is for anyone that cares about Aye Write. It is a special fund that has been created to allow those who are passionate about the book festival to make a donation to support Aye Write, its future and the vital literacy and learning programmes it delivers across the city throughout the year.

The money raised will be used to help protect the future of the festival including providing an important stage for new and emerging talent as well as free literacy programmes for people of all ages and abilities in the city throughout the year.

Donations to the Aye Care fund helps ensure we can deliver the best possible festival in 2021 and ensure Aye Write remains part of Glasgow’s vibrant calendar of cultural annual events.

To donate online visit the Glasgow Life website or text AYE to 70500 to donate £5 direct from your mobile phone. T&Cs apply

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here.  We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.  We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit www.creativescotland.com.  Follow us @creativescots and www.facebook.com/CreativeScotland.

Media Contact

For further information about this year’s Aye Write, including images and author interviews or for press accreditation, contact Nicky Stonehill or Jessica Ward at StonehillSalt PR.

Email nicky@stonehillalt.co.uk or jessica@stonehillsalt.co.uk