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Aye Write promises bumper programme for 2020 festival

Attendees will include Booker Prize-winner Bernardine Evaristo, Anton du Beke and Prue Leith.

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Bernardine Evaristo, Anton du Beke and Prue Leith (PA)

Bernardine Evaristo, Anton du Beke and Prue Leith (PA)

Bernardine Evaristo, Anton du Beke and Prue Leith (PA)

Booker Prize-winner Bernardine Evaristo, Joanna Trollope and Maggie O’Farrell are among the authors expected to appear at a literary festival in Glasgow.

Crime writer Val McDermid, Strictly Come Dancing star Anton du Beke and Bake-Off judge Prue Leith are also due to take part in Aye Write 2020, which opens on Thursday at the Mitchell Library.

More than 260 writers will appear at more than 200 events covering areas including fiction, history, cookery, politics and current affairs.

Alasdair Gray prints exhibition
Alasdair Gray will be honoured at the festival (PA)

The festival will also feature a celebration of acclaimed artist and author Alasdair Gray, who died on December 29.

He had been due to appear at this year’s Aye Write with his biographer Rodge Glass to discuss his new book Purgatory but instead a special free event on Friday curated by Mr Glass will bring together those who knew Gray to pay tribute to the man and his work.

David McDonald, chairman 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 as Alasdair was a much-loved contributor to the festival.

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

Although mainly based at the Mitchell Library, the festival includes a range of events such as creative writing sessions and talks at venues throughout the city.

Bernardine Evaristo, who last year became the first black woman to win the Booker Prize with her work Girl, Woman, Other, will appear on Saturday.

Booker judges broke with tradition to split the prize between Evaristo and Margaret Atwood.

Aye Write is a fantastic celebration of books and literature, which also offers first-class entertainment and there’s something for everyone to enjoyBob McDevitt, Aye Write

Others on the programme include actor and singer John Partridge, Channel 4 journalist and author Jonathon Rugman, actor and comedian Greg McHugh and Ben Stewart and Oliver Knowles from Led By Donkeys.

Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, broadcaster and author James Naughtie and polling expert Professor Sir John Curtice are among those from the field of current affairs taking part in the festival, which runs until March 29.

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

“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.

“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.”

PA