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Following on from the success of its inaugural Festival, Paisley Book Festival is delighted to add a new strand to its 2021 Festival.

Thanks to funding from Creative Scotland’s Sustaining Creative Development Fund, the Festival is inviting submissions from an experienced writer for its new Digital Writer-in-Residence scheme. It is looking for a published writer who will work with local communities and help the Festival reach wider audiences.

This residency is open to all forms of writing including prose, poetry, playwriting, writing for children, and genre writing, as long as it is inspired and influenced by Paisley and the 2021 Book Festival theme, Radical New Futures. Writers must have a proven track record of publications (at least one book/collection published) as well as a history of community engagement and of delivering writing workshops.

Keira Brown, Producer, Paisley Book Festival said: “We are so thankful for the support from Creative Scotland to allow us the opportunity to introduce this new programme, which is not only a great opportunity for a writer but one which the local community will reap benefits from also. Connecting to Paisley and its people, as well as our book festival theme Radical New Futures, which addresses this idea of new narratives emerging from this pandemic, this will be a fantastic addition to the Book Festival.”

The first-ever Paisley Book Festival took place in February 2020, with a diverse programme of events exploring contemporary ideas around radicalism.

Headline names included Jackie Kay, John Byrne, Kirsty Wark, Janice Galloway, and the Fun Lovin ’Crime Writers. Acclaimed writers from across the UK engaged local audiences in a love of reading and writing, and took part in a variety of events, from discussion panels, masterclasses, and workshops to storytelling performances. The Festival exceeded all expectations with many events selling out.

The Writer-in-Residence will be contracted on a part-time basis for ten weeks from November 2020 – March 2021 and would be expected to be present at the Book Festival to host or chair events, which have been curated by them as part of their residency.

For further information contact: Wendy Niblock PR | wendyjniblock@btinternet.com | 07961 814834

It’s the faded Victorian jewel in Paisley town centre’s crown and now a £22million makeover is set to bring Paisley Town Hall into the 21st century.

The once thriving social hub will treat Buddies to one final ceilidh tonight (Friday 28 December) before shutting its doors until 2021.

The Town Hall has become the social heart of Paisley since opening in January 1882, hosting meetings, tea dances, social gatherings, conferences, events, festivals and concerts.

The historic venue gave Paolo Nutini his big break, hosted some of Gerry Rafferty’s earliest shows and provided the setting for Cuttin’ A Rug, John Byrne’s follow-up to The Slab Boys.

Construction on the iconic building, which was originally designed by Belfast architect W H Lynn, began in 1879 after George A. Clark, a member of Paisley’s famous thread family, left £20,000 for its creation in his will. A statue commemorating Clark and his contribution to Paisley now stands outside the historic venue.

The £22million refurbishment will transform the facility, creating a social hub, conference and events venue fit for the 21st Century.

The redesign will be led by award-winning architects Holmes Miller, who worked on the redevelopment of Old Trafford and reshaped Hampden for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “The building is going to have something for everyone when it reopens in 2021, it’s going to be used for culture, conferences, events and the community and will be a truly memorable live music venue on the Scottish touring circuit.

Gauze Street, showing Town hall, work being carried out at top of Dunn Square. Original source – black & white 7½” x 5¾” photograph

“This transformation will have a great impact on Paisley and the whole of Renfrewshire. We want to make sure that there are lots of reasons to come to this building because there are lots of activities going on.

View from elevated position looking south east, showing Town Hall, River Cart, Cart Walk, Forbes Place, with Anchor Mills in the background. Original source – black & white 10″ x 8″ photograph.

“There’s a lot happening in Paisley. We want to bring business and visitors here and create a hub for our community, this transformation will do that.”

The redesign will also help local businesses, bringing more people from outside Paisley to the town for events and conferences and creating chances for them to thrive.

The Town Hall is expected to attract 100,000 visitors a year when it reopens.

Bob Grant, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Town Hall redesign and £100million investment in Paisley’s cultural and heritage venues will create jobs and support local businesses by bringing new potential customers to the town.

“In the last year Paisley has seen an increase both to the local economy and visitor numbers and we look forward to positive impact for the business community once these projects are complete.”

The project is part of a £100million investment by Renfrewshire Council and its partners in Paisley’s cultural and heritage venues that will turn the town into a tourist destination, creating jobs and benefiting the whole of Renfrewshire.

Other buildings that will benefit from the investment include Paisley Museum, which is undergoing a £42million four-year makeover, and Paisley Library, which will move into High Street in 2021.

Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “The Town Hall will close its doors today to undergo a £22million makeover. When it reopens in 2021 it will have been transformed into a flagship performance venue that will bring bigger shows to Paisley.

“These are very exciting times for Paisley and Renfrewshire. The Town Hall transformation is part of a £100million investment in Paisley’s cultural venues that will turn the town into a tourist destination, creating jobs and benefiting the whole of Renfrewshire.

“These are challenging times for high streets up and down the country but we’re making a bold move, investing in our town centre and creating opportunities to let our communities and local businesses thrive.

“The Town Hall is a jewel in Paisley’s town centre. This makeover will bring the historic venue into the 21st Century.”