Glasgow - A Literary City

Glasgow has a rich literary history and one that begs to be explored thoroughly during your visit to the city - read on for more about the city’s great writers, best bookshops & libraries and exciting range of literary events.

Literary Events

Mitchell Library

Glasgow’s cultural calendar is packed full of interesting literary events:

  • The AyeWrite! Book Festival takes place in Glasgow each year (March/April) and features an exciting range of local, national and international writing. The city's iconic Mitchell Library as well as other venues, host a range of ticketed author events for adults and children and a variety of free community events, making the festival a real treat for all book lovers.
  • Weegie Wednesday is held monthly at the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) in Glasgow’s City Centre.  Established in 2006, it provides an opportunity for writers, poets, publishers, booksellers, librarians, creative writing students or anyone else with an interest in books to talk about books, writing and publishing.
  • Last Monday at Rio is a poetry and spoken word evening, held monthly at The Rio Café in the city’s West End.
  • The Poetry Club at Glasgow’s SWG3 is a collaboration between Jim Lambie and the venue. It’s a unique and ever-evolving speakeasy bar designed by Lambie and hosts spoken word, small shows and parties - it has featured artists such as Patti Smith.
  • St Mungo’s Mirror Ball is a network for Glasgow poets and poetry lovers - their aim is to help develop, support and raise the profile of Glasgow poets. 


Bookshops & Libraries

Voltaire and Rousseau 
Image: Voltaire and Rousseau

The city is home to an array of brilliant bookshops including:

  • Voltaire and Rousseau is a second-hand bookshop located in Glasgow’s West End.  The shop is packed to the rafters with great books and has become a real treasure trove to students and literature fans alike.
  • Aye-Aye Books is Glasgow’s only specialist contemporary art bookshop, with everything you need to keep up to date with the latest trends in contemporary art.
  • Caledonia Books is based in Glasgow’s Kelvinbridge and specialises in second-hand and antiquarian books covering subjects ranging from Scottish art and literature to history and philosophy.
  • Tell It Slant Poetry Bookshop is a pop-up shop which specialises in all things poetry. The shop also arranges poetry and spoken word events.
  • There are over 30 libraries in Glasgow. Perhaps the most famous, the Mitchell Library, celebrated its centenary in 2011. Built in part by a donation from billionaire Scots philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, it's one of the largest public reference libraries in Europe, housing over one and a half million titles.
  • The Glasgow Women’s Library (GWL) warmly welcomes visitors from around the corner and around the world into their library and museum (finalist for Art Fund Museum of the Year Prize 2018). Celebrating the lives and achievements of women, the GWL share stories from the past through heritage walks and a treasure trove of archives, preserve the present through current exhibitions and shape the future by inspiring all who visit.


Local Writers

Carol Ann Duffy
Image: Writer Carol Ann Duffy

The city’s list of acclaimed contemporary writers of fiction, poetry and plays reads like a Who's Who of literature including:

  • Christopher Brookmyre is a graduate of the University of Glasgow and author of nineteen published novels to-date, the latest being Dead Girl Walking.
  • Carol Ann Duffy was born in the east end of Glasgow and is the first woman to obtain the title of Poet Laureate of the UK.
  • Alasdair Gray is a writer and artist from the east end of Glasgow. He is best known for his novel, Lanark, published in 1981 which he wrote over a period of 30 years and is now regarded as a classic.
  • James Kelman won Booker Prize in 1994 for his novel How Late It Was, How Late.
  • Liz Lochhead is a Glasgow School of Art Graduate and Scots Makar (the National Poet of Scotland) Liz Lochead was also Glasgow’s Poet Laureate in 2005.
  • William McIlvanney is a University of Glasgow graduate and widely regarded as the founder of Tartan Noir – a form of crime fiction.
  • Denise Mina is an award-winning writer of crime fiction including The Garnethill Trilogy.
  • Mark Millar is a writer of graphic novels and motion picture screenplays and is currently best known for his work on Marvel Comics' Ultimate X-Men, Marvel Knights Spider-Man and the Ultimates.  His comic, Kick-Ass, was also made into a feature film starring Chloë Moretz and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
  • Edwin Morgan was Glasgow’s first Poet Laureate and is widely recognised as one of the foremost Scottish poets of the 20th century.

Looking for more?

Check out some of the books & talks events happening in the city!