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University literary festival closes with a bang

Some of Scotland’s finest writers and poets will be in Aberdeen this weekend to round off the University of Aberdeen’s literary extravaganza, WORD 2001.

William McIlvanney, Alasdair Gray, Liz Lochhead, Andrew O’Hagan, Tom Leonard, Bernard MacLaverty and Ali Smith are just some of the names which will be performing at venues throughout the city for the final two days of the festival.

WORD 2001 follows on the success of the University’s first festival, which was held in May 1999, and promises to be Scotland’s largest literary event outside the Edinburgh Book Festival.

Featuring more than 30 writers and artists from throughout Scotland and Ireland, the programme will have something for everyone, from readings in bookshops and libraries, film screenings and readings at Aberdeen’s new art house cinema, The Belmont, and children’s theatre.

Saturday’s programme is as follows:

All day:     Travelling Gallery      City Centre
10am:       Archive Screening and Poetry Reading   The Belmont
                 by Sheena Blackhall and John Easton
11.30am   Word and Image
                 The making of the Kelvingrove Eight with Calum Colvin and Alan spence – a digital presentation on the creation
                 of Colvin’s group project of Scottish writers, from work in progress to completed image     The Belmont
 1pm:         Lemon Tree writers’ group perform from their work  The Lemon Tree
12.30pm:   Reading by Liz Lochhead    Ottakar’s Bookshop
12.30pm:   Reading by Andrew O’Hagan    Waterstone’s, Union Street
12.30pm:   Reading by John Burnside    Waterstone’s, Langstane
2pm:          Reading by Kate Atkinson, Ali Smith and Sian Preece      Aberdeen Art Gallery
3.30pm:     Word and Image: Reading by Alasdair Gray
                 Tom Leonard and Agnes Owen    Aberdeen Art Gallery
5pm:          Reading by Bernard MacLaverty, Andrew O’Hagan and John Burnside   The Belmont
6.30pm     Cal with introduction by Bernard MacLaverty  The Belmont
7.30pm     Word and Music with Liz Lochhead, Ciaran Carson, Michael Marra and Donny O’Rourke  The Lemon Tree
10.40pm   Butcher Boy, based on the novel by Pat McCabe The Belmont

Sunday’s programme:

All day:       Travelling Gallery     University Campus
2pm:           Reading with Douglas Dunn, Robert Crawford, Medbh McGuckian and Kathleen Jamie   King’s College
3pm:           The Gruffalo, by Tall Stories Company   The Lemon Tree
4pm:           Strangers in a Strange Land? Two Centuries of the Irish in Scotland,
                   lecture by Tom Devine, Director of the Research Institute for Irish and Scottish Studies      King’s College
6pm:           Another Time, Another Place       introduction by Isobel Murray    The Belmont

The first Word festival, held in Aberdeen in 1999, was a highly successful event with hundreds of local people attending the many readings, music and word events, lectures and workshops. The Scotsman described it as ‘the largest, and most impressive literary event ever held in Aberdeen’.

This year, the festival has the very great honour of welcoming as its patrons the Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney, and Edwin Morgan, regarded by many as Scotland’s greatest living poet. Seamus Heaney, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995 ‘for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past’ officially launched WORD 2001 in February when he visited the University. Edwin Morgan was the joint winner of the 1998 Stakis Prize for Scottish Writer of the Year with his latest book of poems, Virtual and Other Realities. In 1999, his performance in Planet Wave with Tommy Smith and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra as part of the Word ’99 Festival completely packed out the Lemon Tree.

This year’s festival is supported by the Scottish Arts Council National Lottery, Aberdeen City Council, First Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire Council, the Belmont and the Lemon Tree, as well as local Aberdeen bookshops.

A full programme for WORD 2001 can be obtained by subscribing to the mailing list online at, or by telephone (01224) 272078.


Issued by Public Relations Office, External Relations, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen, telephone: 01224 272014, fax: 01224 272086.

University Press Office on telephone +44 (0)1224-273778 or email