Booker Prize winner Evaristo on the bill for Aye Write festival

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BOOKER Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo and authors Maggie O’Farrell and Joanna Trollope are among those set to appear at a major literary festival in Glasgow.

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

More than 260 writers will appear at more than 200 events covering everything from fiction, history and cookery to politics and current affairs. The festival will also feature a celebration of acclaimed artist and author Alasdair Gray, who died last month.

From the field of politics, MPs David Lammy, Rachel Reeves and Kenny MacAskill, and senior Tory Sir Oliver Letwin, are among those on the programme.

Evaristo, the first black woman to win the Booker Prize with her work Girl, Woman, Other, will appear on March 14.

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

Aye Write programmer Bob McDevitt said: “Programming the festival is always a daunting task so I am very proud so many writers and public figures have agreed to be part of Aye Write this year.

“The tribute to the life and work of Alasdair Gray, who we had the pleasure of welcoming to Aye Write just last year, will be an especially poignant occasion.”

Gray, who died on December 29, had been due to appear at this year’s Aye Write with his biographer Rodge Glass, to discuss his new book Purgatory.

Instead, a special free event curated by Glass will bring together those who knew Gray to pay tribute to the man and his work.

Bernard MacLaverty, Alan Spence, Janice Galloway, Sorcha Dallas, Louise Welsh and Alan Bissett are among those who will take part in the event on March 13.

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 Aye Write.

Our very own journalist Kirsteen Paterson will also be at the event, chairing several discussions, including one involving Ben Stewart and Oliver Knowles from Led By Donkeys.

Other people on the programme include actor and singer John Partridge, Channel 4 journalist and author Jonathon Rugman and actor and comedian Greg McHugh.

The Books That Made Me and Aye Write Introduces return as topics in 2020, with feminism, the Barrowland Ballroom, politics, society, weight loss, Windrush, social media and Scotland’s landscape among the other subjects up for discussion.

This year a new theme, It Should Be OK to Disagree, will debate issues around politics and sex. There are also events for children on the Wee Write Family Day on March 7.

Tickets for the festival, which will run between March 12 and March 29, are on sale at


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