Humza Yousaf has hinted that the Scottish Government could come up with a rescue plan for Aye Write after a Creative Scotland funding snub forced the Glasgow book festival to cancel this year's event.

The First Minister said he would look at the “potential support” his administration could provide to the “cultural icon.”

His official spokesman later told journalists that the SNP leader still had confidence in the arts funding body, despite the cash row and a recent high-profile controversy over the funding of a sexually explicit arts project.

READ MORE: Aye Write book festival cancelled after rejected funding bid

On Thursday, the Scotsman revealed that an application for a £77,500 grant from the arts quango was rejected, forcing GlasgowLife to pull the plug on this year's event.

A spokesperson told the paper: “Our 2024 funding application to Creative Scotland was not successful so Aye Write and Wee Write will not be able to take place as festivals this year. We appreciate this will cause considerable disappointment.”

Tory MSP for Glasgow, Annie Wells raised the issue in Holyrood.

She told MSPs: “Aye Write book festival, which has been running in Glasgow for nearly 20 years, has been cancelled this year, just weeks before it was due to return after its funding bid was rejected by Creative Scotland.

“And this coming just weeks after it was revealed that the quango initially awarded an explicit film £85,000.”

She asked the First Minister to “clarify Creative Scotland's prioritisation process and cultural funding decisions” and to detail “what steps the Scottish Government are taking to safeguard the diversity and vibrancy of Glasgow's cultural landscape.”

Mr Yousaf said Aye Write was a “fantastic festival.”

He added: “Anybody that has had the pleasure of being able to attend its event in the past knows the value that it brings not just to the city, but indeed I would suggest to the country as a whole.

“Of course, Annie Wells would be aware that these decisions are for Creative Scotland to make and make them independently of Scottish Government ministers.

“Nonetheless, of course, having been alerted to the news, I will look at what potential support the Scottish Government can provide because Annie Wells is right, Aye Write is a fantastic festival and I would say it's something of a cultural icon, an institution within our festival and cultural landscape.

“So I will examine the issue and of course be happy to keep the member updated.”

READ MORE: MSPs to probe taxpayer funded 'secret cave sex party' film

When asked if Mr Yousaf still had confidence in Creative Scotland, the First Minister’s Official Spokesman, said “Yes.”

He said the First Minister’s offer to look at potential support “doesn't indicate any lack of confidence in Creative Scotland” but that Mr Yousad wanted to just “look at that specific issue to see what if anything, government may be able to do.”

A Creative Scotland spokesperson said Aye Write should consider applying elsewhere for funding.

They said: “We recognise the significance of Aye Write to audiences and the literature sector and understand that this is disappointing news.

“The National Lottery open fund for organisations remains available to Aye Write to apply for further funding, and we welcome future applications.

"As demand for these funds continues to increase, Creative Scotland also continues to advocate for more resources to support culture and creativity across Scotland.”

Rein by Leonie Rae Gasson, aimed to “push the boundaries of what it means to create and show dyke sex on screen," and promised an "erotic journey through a distinctly Scottish landscape” with the cast participating in real, explicit, sex.

The project was awarded £23,219 in lottery funding through Creative Scotland in August 2022 for research and development and then £84,555 through the agency’s Open Funding round in January.

Earlier this month, following public outcry, the arts funding body withdrew support and they would be “seeking recovery of funding paid.”

Last year's Aye Write featured around 175 authors appearing in more than 120 events across 10 days. One of the most popular draws was former first minster Nicola Sturgeon being interviewed by Janey Godley.

Taking to Twitter on Thursday morning, the ex-SNP leader said it was "really bad news."

“I know money is tight but very much hope that a way is found to get @AyeWrite back on track.

“Books, culture generally, are so vital to our wellbeing – and never more so than in the troubled times we live in today.

“Book festivals are opportunities to celebrate the wonder of literature and those who create it. We mustn’t lose that.”