AUTHORS, poets and literary greats galore return to Glasgow this week for the annual Aye Write! festival.
The programme runs from tomorrow (Friday) until April 20, and is guaranteed, as always, to draw a crowd to its picturesque Mitchell library setting.
The fact that nearby Glasgow University has its own, dedicated Scot lit department is put to good use this year, with a panel discussion on the newly released Cambridge Companion to Scottish Literature.
But far from being an introspective, Scottish-centric festival, Aye Write! branches out into television, film, graphic novel and autobiography – and here are a few of our choice picks.
Tomorrow, celebrity chef and restaurateur Antonio Carluccio discusses his life story from a 50 year career touting simple Italian cooking to personal achievements and losses.
On Saturday, Glasgow’s own Louise Welsh talks about her most recent psychological thriller, The Girl on the Stairs, before joining forces with Willy Maley, Zoe Strachan and Alan Taylor for Muriel Spark – a Girl of Slender Mearns, celebrating the life and work of a Scottish literary canon great.
On April 14, it’s the turn of author and artist Alasdair Gray, who celebrates last year’s release of Every Short Story from 1951 to 2012 – a new, illustrated edition including ten new tales on top of the writer’s previous 64.
Comic book fans and aspiring writers will appreciate a Q&A with Coatbridge boy turned Hollywood writer Mark Millar, who returns to Glasgow on April 15 to talk Kick Ass 2 (due to hit cinemas in July).
And appearing the same day is cult favourite Howard Marks, author of bestselling autobiography Mr Nice. Marks has since turned his attentions to crime fiction, and his second, The Score, is out this month.
This year’s festival ends on a sad note, as celebrated author Iain Banks has withdrawn from the billing after announcing news of a terminal illness.
Still, Aye Write! remains a celebration of writing in Scotland and further afield – and, this year especially, should serve as a reminder of the importance of an author like Banks to the country’s cultural landscape.
Aye Write! runs April 12-20 at the Mitchell Library. For full listings and ticket info, visit www.ayewrite.com.