Aye Write! 2017 focuses on migrant, adult reading and literacy programmes
Festival hosts an event to promote reading in Glasgow and to help refugees improve their English speaking skills
Aye Write, one of the biggest festivals in Glasgow, celebrated reading, writing and local talent.
As part of this year’s Festival, a free event called “Glasgow: a reading city” was held at the Mitchell Library to showcase various speakers’ research findings relating to promoting reading in Glasgow.
The speakers included doctoral students from the University of Glasgow, the University of Strathclyde, and the University of Stirling, in addition to workers from the Education Association Scotland, the NHS, and Scottish Union Learning. All spoke passionately about literature and the ultimate objective of making books accessible to as many people as possible.
Paul Docherty, a researcher at the University of Stirling and collaborator with Aye Write, discussed the concept behind the event, saying: “We have an incredible literary heritage, great universities and publishers here in Glasgow… We have a city welcoming migrants and refugees and it is our duty to help them discover our great literature.”
The Festival also organised an event to support migrants and refugees with limited English by showcasing their writing. Tommy Breslin, from Scottish Union Learning said: “Migration of people is nothing new, and there’s nothing to be scared of.”
Another speaker, Julie McAdam from the University of Glasgow, focused her research on refugees and asylum seeker children. She said: “We went to schools and brought books in the children’s native languages. One boy from Syria said, ‘I’m very happy to see a book in Arabic, it’s the first time I see my native language written in six years.’”
McAdam added: “You have to ask yourself, how would you feel if you couldn’t hear or see your native language anywhere?”
Other speakers discussed adult literacy and reading skills. Charlotte Boulnois, from NHS greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “We have created the Reading Ahead programme, which promotes reading, because evidence has shown that if you read you have a better work / life balance, less stress and live longer. We also have taster creative writing courses. They are very successful and this year 400 people signed up.”
Tommy Breslin, from Scottish Union learning said: “We have…Adult Achievement Awards where workers can get accreditation for non-accredited courses. We also encourage people to attend Book Week Scotland, where they can visit libraries and see what 21st century libraries have to offer.”
The Aye Write Festival will be holding two more events in April to launch authors Christopher Brookmyre and Jo Nesbo’s latest novels. For more information, visit the Festival website.