Scribblings on the Margins: Cargo brings second year of festival to Glasgow

Anyone paying even cursory attention to the Scottish literary scene at the moment knows that the most exciting publisher around is Cargo. From humble beginnings, the company has grown exponentially in influence over the past couple of years, having released some of the most vital and critically acclaimed Scottish books in a decade, including Allan Wilson’s rightly-hailed debut short story collection Wasted In Love and the landmark anthology The Year Of Open Doors. For the first time since the glory days of Rebel Inc., a publisher feels central to the cultural conversation in Scotland, or at least the countercultural conversation.

Cargo continues its unstoppable rise this coming month with the second annual Margins Book & Music Festival. The festival’s debut last year – after a planned event at Glasgow’s other literary festival, Aye Write!, fell through unceremoniously – saw the company take over the performance space of Glaswegian indie bar Stereo for a weekend of readings and musical performances at £1 per event. It was a raised middle finger to the establishment, and a resounding success, speaking to the growing appetite amongst readers for live performance alongside print content.

This year sees the festival move to the roomier Arches, with the slight rise in ticket prices reflected in the stellar line-up. Opening night alone sees music from Roddy Woomble, Withered Hand and Alasdair Roberts; a crime fiction double header with Christopher Brookmyre and Louise Welsh; and one event apiece curated by literary magazines Octavius and Gutter.

Highlights of the rest of the weekend include three generations of poets sharing the stage as Tom Leonard, Don Paterson and Billy Letford perform and discuss their work; a pairing of lauded veteran and promising newcomer with William McIlvanney and the aforementioned Allan Wilson; a potential Arab Strap reunion as Malcolm Middleton brings his latest project, Human Don’t Be Angry, to the festival with support from former bandmate Aidan Moffat and Bill Wells; and, the crowning glory, a climactic performance of Alasdair Gray’s Fleck starring a murderer’s row of literary talent.

It’s all powered by the boundless energy and enthusiasm of head honcho Mark Buckland, who, as a bespectacled 25 year old literature graduate living in Glasgow, is essentially me if I was doing something  worthwhile with my life. For more on Cargo and Margins, check out his interview on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae! (to which – full disclosure – this writer is a regular contributor).

Related Articles


Sign up to our Newsletter


* indicates required

BookMachine Ltd. will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing. Please let us know all the ways you would like to hear from us:

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices.