Paisley Book Festival 2021: Charlie Gracie, Mairi Murphy & Donal McLaughlin

What a fantastic line up at the Paisley Book Festival 2021. I’m delighted to have been part of such a well-put-together festival. In particular, my event with Donal McLaughlin and Mairi Murphy – (What it Means) to Overcome – was a real pleasure for me. The feedback we’ve had from people who came along is heartening. Here’s a link to the event that you can check out till the end of March 2021. Please have a look and enjoy hearing me, Donal & Mairi. You can also read Mira Waligora’s blog here. I’ll let our words say the rest.

As well as taking part, I’ve a number of highlights at this year’s festival: Victoria McNulty’s superb Exiles, a powerful event; Scottish Masculinities with Douglas Stuart, Andrew O’Hagan and Graeme Armstrong, in conversation with Kirstin Innes; Kirstin Innes in Songs for a Scabby Queen, her own event with Outi Smith; Scottish PEN’s Poetic Offensive; and New Patterns for Paisley Poetry & Publishing, with Tracy Patrick, Linda Jackson, Jim  Ferguson, John Scally and Ryan Goodwin, hosted by William Burns.

There’s a few things I didn’t get to that I plan to catch up on before the end of March: Working Class Lives in Fiction with Julie Rea & Ely Percy; Sex Robots & Vegan Meat (for the title at least, though I’ve heard great things about it) with Jenny Kleeman; The Fountain’s Evening of Quarantine Dreaming with Adam Stafford, Janette Ayachi, Heath Common & Salena Godden. There’ll be more for sure.

If you were lucky enough to see everything I’m sure you’ll have been mightily impressed with the range of writers and readers and musicians and other creative folks. There is an excellent Festival YouTube channel. You can catch up on the whole range of excellent events here until the end March.

Big thanks must go to Keira Brown, Jess Orr and Wendy Niblock for all their support. I’m grateful to Brian Whittingham for his brilliant work as Tannahill Makar. And finally, thanks to the great people at Renfrewshire Council. Everyone made Paisley Book Festival 2021 a cracker!