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Revel in words' worth at Aye Write!

Words:

you can speak them, whisper them, shout them. If you're feeling so inclined - and I do recommend this - you can even sing them, at the top of your voice in the shower every morning. You can read them too, silently to yourself with a warming cuppa, or aloud to friends and family, allowing everyone to share in the story.

However, you treat them, though, remember this: words matter. They can make a difference, make us think, change our world. They can also bring us together, just as they do every year at the Aye Write! Glasgow Book Festival.

In its ninth year, the celebrated literary festival begins on Friday with a varied programme that includes a celebration of Nelson Mandela and a conversation event with sometimes controversial comedian Frankie Boyle.

Founded in 2005, and since 2007 an annual event on Glasgow's cultural calendar, the Aye Write! festival takes place in the Mitchell Library building from April 4 to 12.

This year, as the city also plays host to the Commonwealth Games, the book festival will also be a central part of Culture 2014.

So what can we expect from the Aye Write! festival this year? Those all-important words, certainly, but what will they be about?

There will be poignant words. It's perhaps no surprise that the festival, of which The Herald & Times is media partner, has chosen to celebrate one of Scotland's most prolific and famous writers, Iain Banks, who passed away last year.

Remembering Iain Banks, which takes place on the first day of the festival, will include exclusive readings of some of his yet-to-be-published poetry by Ken MacLeod and Ron Butlin as well as - the organisers promise - "reminiscence, recollection and more than a few jokes".

There will also be fun words as CBBC presenter Cerrie Burnell reads from her first book, Snowflakes, and award-winning Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson invites children aged five and over to come into her magical world of mythical creatures, featuring dinosaurs and a worm with superpowers.

Then there will be political words, as Labour MP and shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander offers his views on diverse subjects such as foreign policy, climate change, terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

Alasdair Gray will bring a few personal words as he discusses his poetic autobiography, Of Me and Others.

The best words? You'll have to judge that for yourself. Me? I like the funny words, the ones that make everyone belly-laugh until their jaws ache.

For more information visit www.ayewrite.com.

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