This year’s Paisley Book Festival has come to a close after attracting record numbers to enjoy some of the best of Scotland the UK’s literary talent.
The fourth iteration of the event enjoyed a record 1800 attendances across 38 events over four days, while the accompanying schools’ programme also has 38 events, attracting more than 1,000 pupils across 33 of Renfrewshire’s primary, secondary and ASN schools.
The festival, produced and delivered by OneRen, took place from 16-19 February, 2023 and featured events with the Hebridean Baker, Darren McGarvey, Jackie Kay and Michael Pedersen, and Denise Mina and Tariq Ashkanani among others.
The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP chaired a special session with journalist and author, Chitra Ramaswamy, to discuss the latter’s book Homelands and the importance of friendship and familiar bonds. It was the first event Ms Sturgeon had attended since announcing her decision to step down as First Minister. The avowed book lover, said: “I love attending book festivals, I have had the privilege of speaking to a number of authors at book festivals over the years and I should say I am looking forward to attending more book festivals in the future.”
In a first for Paisley Book Festival, the majority of events allowed those attending to pay what they can, in recognition of the cost-of-living crisis.
PBF programmers, Heather McDaid, an award-winning independent publisher, and Sha Nazir, a multi-skilled artist, writer and producer, brought together more than 50 authors, poets and event hosts to wow audiences in the town.
Sha said: “We’re delighted with the response to the Paisley Book Festival, with record-breaking ticket sales and, more importantly, such a warm response from our audiences. I want to thank all of the authors and contributors who brought our festival to life.”
Louise Oliver, OneRen’s festival producer, added: “This has been the biggest and best Paisley Book Festival we produced and I want to thank everyone involved, not least our incredible group of volunteers and staff who have made it happen.
“There’s nothing quite like a good book and it’s even better when you get the chance to meet and discuss the themes with the authors behind them and at OneRen, we’ve made sure our festival is accessible to all, with our innovative pay what you can approach to ticket sales.”
The festival was based in the University of the West of Scotland’s Student Union as a main venue, as well as Paisley Central Library.
The Paisley Book Festival is supported by Future Paisley, the wide-ranging programme of events, activity and investment using Paisley’s unique and internationally-significant cultural stories to transform its future. It is funded by Renfrewshire Council and Creative Scotland and delivered by OneRen. OneRen is the local charitable trust in Renfrewshire providing culture, leisure and sporting opportunities to help people enjoy active and healthy lives.