The cancellation of the Aye Write festival in Glasgow has caused uproar in Scotland's literary community, with calls for the decision to be reversed.

It was announced on Thursday that Creative Scotland had turned down an application for a £77,500 grant, meaning the programme had to be cancelled just weeks before it was due to start.

The arts funding body has been under increasing pressure to explain why they handed more than £100,000 of taxpayers’ cash to a "hardcore" performance work.

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.

Read More: 

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.

First Minister Humza Yousaf was quizzed on that decision not to grant funding to Aye Write at First Minister's Questions, saying he would look at the “potential support” his administration could provide to the “cultural icon.”

That has sparked hope that the decision to cancel Aye Write could be reversed, but Scotland's authors insist the situation should never have arised in the first place.

Kerry Hudson, author of Lowborn: Growing Up, Getting Away and Returning to Britain's Poorest Towns and Thirst told The Herald: "It should 100% be reversed. It’s one of the most popular Scottish festivals and a really inclusive one that showcases all that Scotland has to offer.

The Herald:

“It really feels like such a vital part of the whole cultural landscape.

"I really hope they find some funding for it but it should never have gotten to the point where they were denied it six weeks before the programme was due to start.

"The reason people are particularly shocked about Aye Write is that it’s Scotland’s biggest showcase festival for Glasgow and Scottish literature.

“I’ve been going to it for 10 years now and it’s the same for many other writers – we’ve really had our whole careers while going to it and meeting audiences and readers.

“It’s a real loss, especially for newer writers from Scotland or writers who might not have the same exposure without it.

"You could ask any Scottish author and they’d say the same: it’s been fundamental."

Damian Barr, whose works include Maggie & Me and You Will Be Safe Here said: "Aye Write is where I did my very first reading for my very first book and I’ll never forget it.

“I’ve appeared there loads over the years as a writer and I’ve gone along to events as a reader. I cannot believe that Glasgow’s flagship book festival has been cancelled with weeks to go.

“I was scheduled to do an event about making the play version of Maggie & Me, and it’s just been cancelled along with all the other events.

The Herald:

"This is part of a wider series of cuts to the industry, we’re seeing prizes and festivals closing. It’s a UK-wide problem and a real kick in the teeth for Scotland’s cultural sector.

"The sums of money we’re talking about are insignificant in the grand scheme of things compared to the scale of the damage that losing Aye Write will cause.

"Any reversal of this decision would be welcome but what all festivals need is long-term stability, secure funding so they can plan events, sell tickets, sell books.

“It would be great if this decision was reversed but it shouldn’t have been made in the first place.

“There shouldn’t be such pressure on the bodies that fund culture and the arts in the first place."

Posting on social media, Darren McGarvey predicted that the decision would be swiftly reversed as he praised the festival.

He wrote: "For what you get culturally, and the level of experience organisers bring, plus the calibre of talent it attracts - no-brainer. One of the best book festivals to deal with hands down."

John Niven said: "It's good that incredible events like Aye Write are getting cancelled due to lack of funding and Tory MPs are banging on about bringing back chip shops and hot cross buns."

Chris Brookmyre said: "Really disappointed that AyeWrite has been cancelled due to a lack of public funding.

"It has been one of the biggest fixtures on Scotland's cultural calendar for well over a decade, and it always meant a lot to me to take part in my hometown book festival."