Booker Prize winner Douglas Stuart to headline Paisley Book Festival
- Deborah Chu
- 26 November 2020
The author of Shuggie Bain will be joined by Andrew O'Hagan and Graeme Armstrong for the festival's second edition
Paisley Book Festival has announced the first string of headliners for their sophomore edition, which will be taking place online from Thu 18–Sat 27 Feb. Fresh off the back of his recent Booker Prize win, Scottish-American author Douglas Stuart will be taking part in one of the festival's headline events, alongside writers Andrew O'Hagan and Graeme Armstrong and chaired by Kirstin Innes.
Considered one of the most prestigious literary awards in the English language, Stuart was awarded the Booker Prize for his debut novel Shuggie Bain, which centres upon a young boy and his mother's struggles in 1980s Glasgow. His win makes him the second Scottish author to win the award, after James Kelman's How Late it Was, How Late in 1994.
Joining Stuart is Scottish author Andrew O'Hagan, who recently released his sixth novel Mayflies, which has been hailed as a bittersweet portrait of male friendship and ageing, as well as Graeme Armstrong, whose autobiographical debut The Young Team explores adolescence, sexuality and drug culture in the post-industrial landscape of North Lanarkshire. All three novels showcased at this headlining event delve into issues around masculinity and class, and will be sure to incite much thoughtful discussion. Another well-known figure on the Scottish literary scene, event chair Kirstin Innes also made waves this year with the publication of her second novel Scabby Queen, which has won praise from the likes of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, herself an avid reader.
The theme of Paisley Book Festival's second edition, 'Radical New Futures', will propose ideas around what kind of post-COVID world we'd like to live in – what new narratives we can write for our lives, as well as the importance of resilience and imagination in getting us through these bleak times. With more and more people turning to books during the pandemic – whether they're seeking out the pleasures of escapism, or to stimulate the mind – Paisley Book Festival promises to help audiences transcend our social isolation, even for just a brief while, and connect over the importance of the written word.
'Reading has been a great source of comfort, especially as we are living in challenging times,' says Keira Brown, the Co-Producer of Paisley Book Festival. 'It has provided so many people with an escape route from reality, which has been evidenced through increased borrowing figures in Renfrewshire Libraries over the last eight months. Due to Covid guidelines, we have transitioned the 2021 Festival to an online format, which we will use to our full capacity. Working with our steering committee from Renfrewshire Leisure's Arts and Libraries teams, my co-producer, Jess Orr, and I are planning a rich and exciting book festival programme, as well as introducing our first Writer-in-Residence.
We can't wait to share more of the enriching and lively conversations and workshops that are planned with you.'
Paisley Book Festival's full programme will be announced in January 2021. For more information, visit paisleybookfest.com.