The Mitchell Library was such a welcome sight. I haven’t been there since 2018. After 2 years enforced absence, AyeWrite! is back with a bang, with 200 live events, running over 3 weekends, in addition to a digital offering for those who can’t make it in person. I hope this ambition is a permanent fixture, because it made the programme so much more interesting (in previous years I have found it somewhat parochial). Plus I had plenty of excuses to pop into Glasgow for the day. I must say, though, attendance at some of my events was shocking (<20). So this expansion is not something I’m taking as a given, particularly as the festival is council-run. I do hope the switch from March to May stays though. Spring as opposed to winter weather makes venturing forth much more pleasant, though I still got a bit of a soaking on Friday.

The shelves in the Waterstones festival bookshop are organised by date, by event. So it’s really easy to see what’s happening and when. I had originally booked for two events on the first weekend. Thanks to this bookshelf layout, however, I bought another 5 tickets … and the same amount of books. That, Waterstones, is a job well-done.

Adding these new purchases (asterisked below) to the “Ayewriters” already on my shelves results in the following bookstack. Will I have read them all before next year’s festival?

My AyeWrite 2022 bookshelf

From bottom up:

The Perfect Crime: edited by Vaseem Khan and Maxim Jakubowski* A highly recommended digital event, available until 27.03.2022. Interviews with 4 authors in this short story anthology with no repeated questions.

Rose Nicholson – Andrew Greig Scottish historical fiction. Review here.

No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy – Mark Hodkinson * Memoir from a fellow BABLEr (Buying books beyond life expectancy). Author is a working-class Lancashire lad, who was a bit surprised to meet a working-class Lancashire lass in a Glasgow signing queue.

The Dance Tree – Kiran Millwood Hargrave * Event cancelled ☹️, though the refunded ticket did give me the means to buy the exclusive sprayed-edged, signed edition from Waterstones in Sauciehall Street. Not available at the festival itself.

I, Mona Lisa – Natasha Solomons Told from the POV of the painting, not the historical person. Intriguing.

The Queen’s Lender – Jean Findlay * Historical fiction set 30 year’s after Andrew Greig’s Rose Nicolson.

The Responsibility of Love – David J Simons A novel written by someone who wasn’t appearing at the festival. So how did this come to be on the festival bookshop shelves? The author was scheduled to chair another cancelled event, which made his book eligible for the festival bookshop. I’m not quibbling, as I adored An Exquisite Sense of What is Beautiful.

River Clyde – Simone Buchholz German crime fiction, set in Glasgow. See the sights here