Bloody Scotland has announced its line up of crime-writing suspects and is staging its gala opening of the annual crime festival this year in Stirling Castle. The event takes place 8 to 10 September, and the winner of the McIlvanney Prize 2017 for the Scottish Crime Book of the Year will be revealed.
Now in its sixth year, a highlight of Bloody Scotland will be the torchlit procession leading crime-lovers down to the Albert Halls for a champagne reception, followed by 30 years of John Rebus, presented by Ian Rankin. On Saturday 9 September, Val McDermid celebrates the anniversary of her first crime novel, Report for Murder, which was published in 1987 just like the first Rebus book.
Dozens of authors
A great mix of Tartan Noir and international authors are to appear including Lynda La Plante, Mark Billingham, Denise Mina, Graeme Macrae Burnet, Clare Mackintosh and last year’s McIlvanney Prize winner, Chris Brookmyre. There will even be an appearance by Vince Cable, who is following his career in politics with one in crime fiction, and the deputy chief constable of Scotland, Iain Livingstone. Shetland author Ann Cleeves will be interviewing the star of the TV series, Douglas Henshall.
Tickets for most of the talks, panels and interviews cost £8-£10, and outside of that there will be plenty of mad antics to enjoy. The stakes will be high during Mark Billingham and Val McDermid’s notoriously hard crime quiz, but even more so at the fiercely contested Scotland v England crime writers’ football match for the Bloody Cup. The ball was set rolling in 2014 when Scotland inflicted a 13–1 humiliation on the Auld Enemy, followed by a shock draw the following year. England scraped a fortuitous victory in 2016, leaving Scotland still ahead on goal difference.
Music and entertainment
There’s a late-night gig from the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a live podcast and a hilarious play penned by Alanna Knight. The sell-out Crime at the Coo, features the burlesque female crime act The Slice Girls and an open mic of comedy and music (last year’s highlight was Val McDermid singing Maxwell’s Silver Hammer).
A feature of the festival sees debut authors showcased and bravehearts can pitch to agents and publishers.
Bloody Scotland is one of the friendliest and fun crime festivals with a great vibe, but you need stamina to survive. Expect to hang out later than you intended with authors and new crime fiction-loving friends in the Golden Lion.
Chris Brookmyre, winner of the McIllvanney Prize 2016, said: “Bloody Scotland draws crime writers from all over the UK and indeed all over the world, and it does so because it delivers something they crave even more than each other’s company and a generous supply of drink. It delivers an enthusiastic and appreciative audience, which continues to grow year on year. One of the reasons for this is that Bloody Scotland is a very relaxed and informal affair, blurring the barriers between writers and readers, between festival and convention.”
Note – Left to right the main image James Oswald, Douglas Skelton, Gordon GJ Brown, Alex Gray, Craig Roberson, Mark Leggatt, Neil Broadfoot, Chris Brookmyre, Lin Anderson, Craig Russell, Tom Kenny (Bookdonors) and Doug Johnstone.