MORE than 50 groups are to take part in the largest Govanhill Carnival yet as it aims to "own the streets" and celebrate the diversity of the community.

Govanhill International Festival and Carnival (GIFC) is returning with a bolder and brighter programme than ever before, for the first time opening up to groups outwith Govanhill.

For two weeks, the event will see a book festival, film festival, children's festival, street music, talks, guided walks and - its showpiece - the Govanhill Carnival.

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GIFC is organised and funded by Govanhill Baths Community Trust and Fatima Uygun, trust manager, said: "The highlight is the Govanhill Carnival. We think it's really, really important to take to the streets and own the streets for the day and showcase the diversity in the community.

"This year we've got about 50 groups taking part and hopefully they all dress up. We're a bit shy about dressing up in Scotland when it comes to festivals, but hopefully we're on the road to getting more and more people to come along.

"We've opened it up to groups outwith Govanhill that are anti-racist or pro-diversity and also the LGBT community and women's groups, so hopefully we'll have a bit more diversity among the great numbers we already have."

Running from August 2 to 14, the programme of events will see highlights such as an exhibition of the work of local artist Hannah Frank in shops; a conversation with author Darren McGarvey; and screening of BAFTA-nominated film Dying to Divorce. 

The Book Festival will see Darren, author of The Social Distance Between Us: How Remote Politics Wrecked Britain and Donna McLean, author of Small Town Girl: Love, Lies and the Undercover Police talk about their new books. 

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Fatima said: "When Govanhill Baths was open, we gave writers time and space to write in the slipper baths upstairs, so this is a thank you from him to us. 

"So we're delighted with Darren coming back and doing that for us."

Local historian Bruce Downie is also launching new book Loved and Lost 2 - an updated and expanded version of 2019's book Govanhill's Built Heritage. 

Journalist and theatre critic Mark Brown will be giving a talk on the revival of Scottish theatre over the last 50 years while Glasgow Zine Library is hosting the launch of a graphic novel looking at all of the building occupations in Scotland in the past 20 years.

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Fatima added: "This is a good diverse book festival we've got this year and I'm very proud of that."

Glasgow Artists’ Moving Images Studio (GAMIS) is hosting the film festival again this year in the Bat. Lab. - a former cinema - on Bankhall Street.

The Hannah Frank exhibition will run across the festival with 10 of the artist's prints on display in spots across Govanhill. 

GIFC started as a carnival, parade and weekend of music in 2016 but has grown into a two-week long celebration of the diversity of the area's arts and culture scene.

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Fatima added: "In the future we're looking to be more of an umbrella festival where people can come and make an artistic contribution to celebrating both Govanhill and diversity and anti-racism and diversity in the wider sense.

"It's not just about ethnicity and religion but also about the different types of lives we need and that's really something showcasing Govanhill.

"It doesn't matter where you're from, you find comfort in Govanhill, you find 'I belong here and nobody's going to judge me' and I think that's something unique to Scotland."