Paisley will host its first ever book festival in February 2020, honouring the "brilliant political thinkers and creatives that have long been associated with the area", say organisers.
Marking the 200th anniversary of the Paisley Radicals, who campaigned for better wages and working conditions, the festival will focus on grassroots rebellion, revolution and activism with the theme of radicalism as inspiration for the event. The festival will boast an ambitious programme of local talent and internationally-renowned big names, bringing the town centre alive as it takes place at multiple venues across ten days. The main programme for the festival will be announced 28th November 2019.
Keira Brown, co-producer for Paisley Book Festival, said: "In these more difficult times reading keeps our heads above water, and there seems no better a time to be introducing a vibrant and fresh new book festival. Working with a team from Renfrewshire's Arts and Libraries, alongside Jess Orr we plan to produce an inclusive and diverse book festival programme that will enliven Renfrewshire's reading community, both adults and children. It's an exciting time for books!"
Fellow co-producer Jess Orr added: "We are so thrilled to be coming together for a week long celebration of reading, writing and radical ideas in the heart of Renfrewshire, joined by some of Scotland's best literary talent and showcasing the wealth of creativity that Paisley has to offer."
Paisley Book Festival: Radical Voices and Rebel Stories will run at Paisley Arts Centre and other venues across the Renfrewshire town from 20th – 29th February and will be funded by Renfrewshire Leisure and Renfrewshire Council through Renfrewshire Council’s Future Paisley programme
Lisa-Marie Hughes, a councillor at Renfrewshire Council, said: “Paisley has a rich literary history stretching back to the weaver poets and political radicals of the 19th century – so what better time to celebrate that than on the 200th anniversary of the 1820 Uprising. We are delighted to be helping support this great event and are looking forward to seeing the programme when announced next month. Renfrewshire is already home to a thriving year-round programme of cultural events which is helping put us on the map as a destination – and Paisley Book Festival is shaping up to be a great addition to that.”
Renfrewshire Leisure arts manager Rikki Payne added: “Renfrewshire Leisure and Council are delighted to announce the new Paisley Book Festival, a celebration of radical voices and rebel stories. Radicalism flourished in Paisley’s weaving communities because men and women read books and were inspired by new ideas. The Book Festival will both give audiences the opportunity to enjoy today’s most inspiring writers and commentators and inspire an enjoyment and passion for reading, writing and ideas amongst Paisley’s residents. Renfrewshire Leisure’s Libraries and Arts teams are working with independent producers, Jess Orr and Keira Brown. This fresh new festival is the first of an annual event dedicated to ideas, books, reading, writing, and performing. It will reach across audiences from infants and school children to the wider public and industry professionals.”