Victoria McNulty is Paisley Book Festival’s Writer-in-Residence
Following a successful inaugural year of the Writer-in-Residence position, led by writer, educator and musician, Imogen Stirling, Paisley Book Festival announces Victoria McNulty as their 2022 Festival Writer-in-Residence.
Victoria McNulty is a poet, performer and community arts worker from the East End of Glasgow. Her writing centres around local stories and histories, touching on social class and personal experience. Victoria’s collection Confessionals (Speculative Books) was developed into a spoken word show (Sonnet Youth) and toured nationally to critical acclaim.
She was a participant in New Reekie’s Residency at Curfew Tower, County Antrim and has performed at established arts festivals across the UK and Ireland including The Edinburgh Festival, BBC 6 Music Festival, Fèile an Phobail (Belfast) and The James Connolly Festival (Dublin).
Of the residency, McNulty said: “I’m really interested in stories. Stories of the ordinary, of everyday resistance and power. I’m excited to uncover these through the residency and support others in crafting and sharing their own”.
Work from her recent publication and feature length film Exiles (Speculative Books/ Fair Pley) has been awarded the John Byrne Award (2021) Third Quarter Prize. Victoria is the BBC Edinburgh Fringe Slam (2019) Runner Up and Sonnet Youth Slam Champion. She was awarded Writer O the Year at the Scots Language Awards (2021).
The Writer in Residence at the Paisley Book Festival presents an opportunity for a mid-career writer to engage creatively with the festival’s remit, programme and themes, and to use their skills and experience to support the work and passions of local reading and writing groups. One of the main aims of this role is to work with local communities and help us reach wider audiences. This post is funded by Creative Scotland.
Paisley Book Festival consists of more than 90 unique events running between 17-26 February 2022. As well as the Victoria McNulty’s residency, the programme is filled with workshops, author events, book launches and opportunities for both established and emerging writers to showcase their work on the international stage.
Next year has been designated Scotland’s Year of Stories and this exciting programme of live and online events showcases literature inspired by, or written in Scotland.
Jess Orr, Associate Programmer for the Paisley Book Festival said: “Bringing some of Scotland’s best writers and storytellers to Paisley for a 10 day extravaganza of events, we’re thrilled to be back this February to celebrate the stories that make us who we are, and who we’re going to be. Whether you’re a fully subscribed book-lover or haven’t picked up a book since school, check out the Paisley Book Festival programme this year and be part of the conversation. We’ve all got a story to tell, after all’.
Unique to this season’s programme, Mara Menzies and Harry Josephine Giles were appointed as guest curators to oversee strands of the programme. Giles leads on Minding Language, a series of events about poetry in these islands that unsettles the languages we use involving writers such as Shetland poet Roseanne Watt and Ted Hughes Award winner Raymond Antrobus while Menzies’ The Power of Storytelling explores the joy and the power of storytelling in our lives, and the drive to constantly find new ways to tell our stories and pass them on to future generations.
Programme highlights include master of Scottish storytelling James Robertson bringing his latest novel News of the Dead, a ghost story set in a Scottish glen.
Glasgow-based novelist Louise Welsh brings the long awaited sequel to The Cutting Room after 20 years, The Second Cut.
Denise Mina retells one of the most famous stories from Scottish history in her new book Rizzio, the tale of Private Secretary David Rizzio, who was murdered in Mary Queen of Scots’ private chambers.
Scottish Makar Kathleen Jamie reads from her latest work and shares what the first six months in the job have been like in What Maks A Makar.
C. J. Cooke chats about The Lighthouse Witches in an event chaired by host of the Witches of Scotland podcast, Zoe Venditozzi.
Booker-prize shortlisted author (His Bloody Project), Graeme Macrae Burnet brings his new novel Case Study.
Malika’s Poetry Kitchen bring poets Jacob Sam La Rose and Dorothea Smartt to present their new collection in Too Young, Too Loud, Too Different in an event chaired by editor Maisie Lawrence.
Stories of Resistance features two of South America’s top writers Diamela Eltit and Julián Fuks, and is chaired by their English translator Daniel Hahn. Both artists are published by Edinburgh-based Charco Press.
The Paisley Book Festival also partners with Chamber Music Scotland to showcase a brand new project – Songs from the Last Page – which will include a songwriting workshop and a new concert of songs inspired by the last lines of books.
Oot and Aboot in Paisley is a partnership event with Lapidus Scotland that takes inspiration from the words found in Paisley to make new creative work.
Publishing Scotland curates an event with authors Anne Pia and Mick Kitson alongside their editors to discuss the vital relationship between author and editor.
Family events include a drop-in Tiny Listening Lounge in Paisley Central Library, a book launch for Ross Mackay’s new picture book and a puppet show in Gaelic to celebrate the launch of Cora – Gaisgeach nan Gràineag with Theatre Gu Leòr. There will also be a Bookie Boogie Brunch with songs and stories for all ages.
The workshop programme includes writing inspired by Indian classical dance, pop culture, folklore, flash fiction and the hidden histories of Renfrewshire women with the Glasgow Women’s Library.
The theme this year ‘Stories Mak Us’ encourages discussions on a range of topics, from storytelling and Scots/Gaelic events, to thinking about how fiction has helped us through the pandemic. More broadly it looks at how narratives shape us in all sorts of ways – personal and political.
The Paisley Book Festival is a successful fresh, new and dynamic festival, which has reader development as its core vision. Its aim is to encourage reading, storytelling and writing while provoking an interesting exchange of thoughts and opinions, and stimulating open and honest debate.
It is a festival with creativity and innovation at the heart of its programming, seeking to showcase some of the best and most diverse voices with books being published today in Scotland and in the wider UK context.
Paisley’s inaugural book festival in 2020 took inspiration from the 200th anniversary of the Paisley Radicals reflecting on their spirit with a programme of grassroots activism, new ideas and political conversation and that’s an undercurrent still present in this new season.
Festival Producer Louise Oliver states: “We’re still Paisley Radicals at heart, so the festival’s trademark thread of edge and progressiveness will still run through the programme, but as we return in 2022, we do so with a blended approach of live and digital events, and with the hope for a better world. For the 2022 programme, we will contemplate, as writers and readers, the importance of community, telling your story, being present in the moment, connection and celebrating the importance of words and stories in shaping a world we can all be proud of”.
In 2022 the festival continues to foreground powerful new voices and engage with radical themes around acceptance, social change and transformation.
Chief Executive, Dr Victoria Hollows, said of the festival: “I am delighted we are launching the 2022 Paisley Book Festival, with the same energy and inspirational programming that made the first two years such a success. This year’s theme of Stories Mak Us, as part of Scotland’s Year of Storytelling, embodies the feeling of community that has been so prevalent throughout the pandemic. It’s fantastic to see this reflected in the wonderful line-up of writers involved in the 2022 festival, from headliners such as Louise Welsh and Denise Mina to local writers, poets and children’s authors. I am sure it will be another huge success and build Paisley Book Festival’s reputation as a festival not to be missed.”
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 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.
Bookshop.org will be the official online bookselling partner for the Festival for the second year running. Bookshop.org is an online shop with a mission to financially support local, independent bookshops. Buy your books and titles by authors in the Paisley Book Festival programme and support not only the Festival but also 375 independent bookshops at the same time.