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First Minister confirmed as guest chair at Paisley Book Fest

on 13 February 2023 1

With only a few days to go until the return of the Paisley Book Festival, Scotland’s First Minister has been confirmed as the Chair of a special event which discusses the friendship formed by a Jewish refugee who fled Nazi Germany, and award-winning journalist and author, Chitra Ramaswamy.

The event, which takes place on 17 February, will see Nicola Sturgeon MSP and Chitra discuss her book, Homelands, which tells the story of the decade-long friendship between Chitra and 98-year-old German Jewish refugee Henry Wuga, who came to the UK on a Kindertransport in the spring of 1939 and settled in Glasgow.

Homelands traverses a century of history, exploring Chitra and Henry’s friendship and interweaving their family histories. It is a story of migration, antisemitism, racism, family, belonging, grief, resilience and – above all – heart.

Commenting on the event, which takes place on 17 February, Chitra said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be chaired by the First Minister, and look forward to discussing some of the ideas raised in Homelands which I know also hold meaning for her – such as the importance of cross-cultural and intergenerational relationships, the lessons we can and must learn from history, and what it means to belong in a modern Scotland.”

You can get more information and book tickets to the event here.

The festival, produced and delivered by OneRen, runs over four days from 16-19 February, 2023 and features events with the Hebridean Baker, Darren McGarvey (read our interview), Jackie Kay and Michael Pedersen, and Denise Mina and Tariq Ashkanani among others. In a first for Paisley Book Festival, the majority of events will allow those attending to pay what they can, in recognition of the cost-of-living crisis.

For more information and to see the full line up of the 2023 Paisley Book Festival, visit the website.

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