Open the Door 2021: Programme Launch

OPEN THE DOOR: SCOTLAND’S WOMEN WRITERS FESTIVAL

Thursday 20th – Saturday 22nd May 2021

We are delighted to announce the 2021 Open the Door programme, the literary festival that puts women to the fore. Inspired by Glasgow’s long history of bold, creative women, the theme this year is writers who are artists and artists who are writers, and GWL will be celebrating how they weave these two practices together.

From workshops to nurture your own creativity, to convivial conversations to inspire and illuminate, the Festival will open the doors into the worlds of reading, writing and art. Featuring contemporary writers and artists including Amanda ThomsonKate Charlesworth and Sabba Khan, and spotlighting the work of historic writers and artists Wendy Wood, Edith Simon and Zarina Hashmi, the afternoon and evening events take place in a unique and accessible online setting that reimagines the more formal audience and speaker setting of traditional literary festivals.  

Inclusivity, accessibility and a warm welcome are, as always at the heart of all GWL events. Each festival event will be live captioned, with some BSL interpreted also. We know that online events can be daunting for some, so we have put together a blog which outlines what to expect, the booking process and how we create a friendly space online. The blog aims to help open the door to those who may otherwise be put off by the online format and can be found here.

Find out more about Open the Door 2021 here.


We are so proud that since 2017 we have been able to add Open the Door to the array of literature festivals on offer across Scotland. From the outset we wanted to make our annual festival fresh, inviting, and critically, ‘open the door’ to new readers, new writers and to a wealth of women’s works locally and internationally whose recovery is overdue. The festival has grown and developed each year in innovative and creative ways ensuring that we go way beyond the formula of ‘writer plus interviewer equals book sales’. We want to do all we can to promote publishing, writers and their work but we are also committed to making sure that everyone possible is invited to the party and that we provide a treasure chest of inspiring avenues to continue reading and writing beyond the festival. This year, with the support of our partnership Open University we are offering a host of amazing opportunities to be transported, get involved, be guided to new reading and feel the power of women writing. Having staged our first digital Open the Door in 2018, this will be our third online festival (we staged two Real Life ones in our beautiful home in Bridgeton in 2017 and 2019) and are anticipating our biggest audiences yet.”

Adele Patrick, creative Development Manager, Glasgow Women’s Library

“Open the Door is a vibrant and necessary part of the literary scene in Scotland, and the Creative Writing Programme at University of Glasgow is thrilled to be partnering with GWL on an event this year! The digital festival will allow a wider audience than ever before to engage with books and ideas in a fun, friendly and feminist way!”

Dr Zoë Strachan, School of Critical Studies, University of Glasgow

All events are free to attend, many are open to all, whilst some are Women* only. 

* All Women Only events & opportunities at GWL are inclusive of Trans & Intersex women, as well as non-binary & gender fluid people who are comfortable in a space that centres the experience of women.

Open the Door 2021 is supported by the Open University in Scotland and the British Council

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