Aye Write festival saved after donation from late EuroMillions winner’s charity

A smaller scale version of a book festival is to go ahead after an unexpected donation from a charitable foundation set up by a late EuroMillions winner.

Organisers of Glasgow’s Aye Write festival last month cancelled this year’s event after arts body Creative Scotland turned down its bid for cash, sparking an outcry from leading literary figures and politicians.

However the Colin Weir Charitable Foundation, set up by late EuroMillions winner Colin Weir, has now donated £65,000 to enable the festival to stage a series of pop-up events and a scaled down version of Wee Write this year.

Authors Lionel Shriver and David Nicholls and actors Alan Cumming and Forbes Masson will be among those appearing, while Scotland’s former first minister Nicola Sturgeon will be in conversation with crime writer Val McDermid.

Bailie Annette Christie, chairwoman of Glasgow Life, which organises the event, said: “Aye Write is a much-loved festival, which is apparent from the outpouring of support over the past few weeks.

“The generous donation from the Colin Weir Charitable Foundation means it can continue to have a positive impact on Glaswegians and people throughout Scotland.”

The Booker Prize-winning author Douglas Stuart and Ms Sturgeon were among those who voiced their dismay when news of the festival’s cancellation emerged in March.

Rather than a full festival over several consecutive days, a series of pop-up Aye Write events will take place during 2024 and in the new year.

Wee Write, the festival for children and young people, will go ahead this autumn.

Alan Cumming
Alan Cumming is on the festival line-up (Lucy North/PA)

Last year’s festival saw one of the first outings for Ms Sturgeon since her shock resignation as first minister, where she spoke with comedian Janey Godley.

A spokesman for the Colin Weir Charitable Foundation, said: “We are pleased to be able to support Aye Write to put on a programme of great events in 2024.

“It was unthinkable that Aye Write should be silenced until next year. Happily, the donation means that won’t be the case.”

Glasgow Life said it is continuing to develop a multi-year funding application to Creative Scotland for future editions of the festivals.

It said that if this is successful, Aye Write will return in full in 2025, 2026 and 2027.

Tickets for the festival are on sale from 10am on Wednesday at the Aye Write website, https://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/arts-music-and-culture/aye-write-glasgows-book-festival