Live Events and Festivals

Live Events and Festivals

WayWORD Festival 19-24th September 2023

WayWORD is a youth-led literary arts festival brought to you by the WORD Centre for Creative Writing, featuring Kathleen Jamie, Nadine Aisha Jassat, Claire Keegan, Sean Wai Keung, Liam McIlvanney, Kathleen Murray, Andrés N. Ordorica, Michael Pedersen, Alycia Pirmohamed, Chitra Ramaswamy, Arun Sood, Alan Spence, May Sumbwanyambe, and more!

WayWORD Festival 20-25th September 2022

WayWORD is a youth and student-led literary arts festival brought to you by students and staff of the WORD Centre for Creative Writing, featuring Alan Spence, Christopher Brookmyer, Bee Asha Singh, Esther Woolfson, Douglas Stuart, Raymond Antrobus, Sarah Thomas, Monica Ali, Naush Sabah, C.J. Cooke, Padraig Regan, Jenny Colgan, Gareth Williams and Michael Pedersen. Click the link to browse the events and watch recordings of some of the events. 

WayWORD Festival 19-26 September 2021

WayWORD returned in 2021 with a line up featuring Leila Aboulela, Graeme Armstrong, Harry Josephine Giles, Kirstin Innes, A.L. Kennedy, Val McDermid, Zakiya McKenzie, Ely Percy, Karine Polwart, Alan Warner, Irvine Welsh, and Alex Wheatle. Click here to watch recordings of some of our favourite events.

WayWORD Festival 23-27 September 2020

WayWORD was founded in 2020. Our first year line up featured Lemn Sissay, Eimear McBride, Jenni Fagan, Alan Warner and many more... 

WORD at PodFest 2020

While we could not attend live events and festivals this year, we brought the May Festival to you in a series of podcasts to listen to anywhere! Check out the WORD events below! 

Episode 2 - In Conversation with Chris Young 

Episode 4 - In Conversation with Jane Alexander

Episode 8 - In Conversation with Henry McLeish


Live events, readings, performances - the joy of sitting together in a room to hear a story being told - lies at the core of the WORD Centre's purpose and inception. The WORD Centre begins as the WORD Literary Festival in 1999, with Artistic Director Professor Alan Spence. Featuring established as well as up-and-coming Scottish, Irish and international writers, from Bernard MacLaverty to Ali Smith, from A L Kennedy to Alistair Gray, from Margaret Atwood to Liz Lochead and Jackie Kay, the three-day festival grew to be the biggest literary festival of the North East, and second in Scotland only to the Edinburgh Book Festival. The festival grew to include musical and artistic performances, Gaelic and Polish events, championing diversity, inclusivity and accessibility alongside the literary focus. 

Over the years, since it became part of the University's May Festival when it began in 2014, WORD events have grown and developed to include community enhancement, grassroots writers and cross/arts collaborations. 

In 2019, a group of students from the University of Aberdeen set to bring to you WayWORD, a student-led festival that brings together traditional WORD audiences with the concerns of young writers and students. More information coming SOON!