Since the start of the Paisley Book Festival, literature and music have gone hand-in-hand and this year is no different. From journeys through landscapes to a fiery evening of cabaret; and moments of radical joy to delving into female choice, this year’s festival is a wonderful celebration of the power of literature and music.

The 2024 Literature and Music programme at the recently refurbished Paisley Town Hall is on a Pay What You Can basis: £3/£5/£8/£10 and includes:

Friday 26 April, 6.15pm – 7.15pm 

In a New Light” Merryn Glover and Hamish Napier 

Elemental, fierce and full of wonder, the Cairngorm Mountains are the high and rocky heart of Scotland. The festival is delighted to host author Merryn Glover, who has lived in mountainous landscapes across the world and whose recent book, The Hidden Fires, follows in the footsteps of Scottish writer Nan Shepherd through her beloved landscape of the Cairngorms. Merryn will be joined by Scottish musician Hamish Napier for a magical journey through this landscape via music, images and words.

Friday 26 April, 9.00 pm – 10.30pm

Burning wi Burns: a cabaret of Bards 

A fiery evening of cabaret and spoken word performances with special guests including the award-winning Scottish-Algerian poet, Janette Ayachi, who will be performing poetry from her new collection, Quick Fire, Slow Burning, which explores fire both as an element and as a sensuous and bodily fuel. Rabbie Burnt, a drag king brought up on the banks of the River Doon, will be delving into the various facets of Burns’ masculinity in a queer consideration of his work, and the bard as a drag trope. Gather at the embers of the fire for a night of poetry, play, and provocations.

Featuring performances from Janette Ayachi, Rabbie Burnt – Saint Abbs, The Dashing White Sergeant – Dom Perignon and a DJ set from Andre Universe.

Saturday 27 April, 6.15pm – 7.15pm

Moments of Radical Joy: Cecilia Knapp and Simone Seales 

An hour of music and poetry with Glasgow-based intersectional cellist Simone Seales alongside former Young Person’s Laureate Cecilia Knapp. Classically trained musician, Simone is interested in how we experience emotions in different ways and Cecilia’s recent books, Peach Pig and Little Boxes, both consider themes of grief, sacrifice, and navigating a difficult world whilst looking for hope and possibility. In this event, they will read, play and perform their work.

Sunday 28 April, 6.15pm – 7.15pm

Under: a performance by Imogen Stirling and Susan Bear 

Playwright and poet Imogen Stirling (Paisley Book Festival’s first writer-in-residence) and producer and multi-instrumentalist Susan Bear present a brand new fusion of poetry, theatre and live drum and bass, which was originally commissioned by Push The Boat Out Festival and the National Theatre of Scotland. Contemporising the Greek myth of Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, this performance delves into female choice, sexual autonomy and ownership with unbridled, sensuous joy.

Sunday 28 April, 8pm – 9pm

Anoraq + Special Guests – an evening of live literature and music

Anoraq are the hosts of Inside Voices, a monthly night of poetry and music at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow. In our festival finale event, they are joined by special musical guests Arun Sood & Hank Tree, as well as performing from their forthcoming album, Peripheral Lament, for an evening of live literature and music. The evening’s featured poets will be Mexican-Scottish poet and translator Juana Adcock, Austrian-Nigerian writer and joint winner of the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award, Titilayo Farukuoye, and Scottish poet, musician and occasional artist Nicky Melville.

To view the full Paisley Book Festival programme visit here.