Bloody Scotland unveils the gruesome details of its 2019 programme

Bloody Scotland unveils the gruesome details of its 2019 programme

Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Denise Mina at the 2017 torchlight procession

Expect a killer ceilidh, murderous theatre and grisly tales galore this September in Stirling

The organisers of Scotland's international celebration of crime writing, Bloody Scotland, have revealed their dastardly plans for the festival's 2019 edition, which is set to take place in Stirling from 20–22 September. With several beloved traditions set to return, such as the opening torchlight procession; the crowning of the McIlvanney Prize for the Scottish Crime Novel of the Year; and of course, the ever-contentious Scotland v England Crime Writers' Football Match, this year promises to be another crime-ridden weekender of murderous fun.

A roster of big names on the scene are set to make an appearance, including American thriller writer David Baldacci, who will be leading this year's torchlight procession; Scottish luminaries Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith and Denise Mina; Alex Gray and Lin Anderson in conversation with BBC Radio Scotland's Janice Forsyth; Louise Welsh; Mark Billingham; partnerships in life and writing, Ambrose Parry and Nicci French; Icelandic crime queen Yrsa Sigurðardóttir; and Pointless' Richard Osman, whose debut novel The Thursday Murder Club recently cinched a seven-figure deal with publishers Viking.

This year's line-up of panel discussions are also poised to spark compelling debate. In A Mirror to Society, Paul Burston, Sarah Hilary and William Shaw discuss how their works delve into pressing contemporary issues, such as class and online relationships, while the dark depths of marriage and murder are plumbed in Till Death Do Us Part with Louise Candlish, Helen Fitzgerald and Catherine Steadman. Geography is another prevalent theme, as seen in The Emerald Guile, which celebrates the growing strength of the Irish crime genre, as well as The India Connection, which features writers Ajay Chowdury, Abir Mukherjee and Trisha Sakhlecha.

In addition to the usual high-minded conversations, Bloody Scotland is also known for going beyond its literary remit and hosting a range of fringe events, which this year will include the annual quiz, more Saturday night shenanigans with Crime at the Coo, as well as the chance to try your own hand at the crime pen at a series of writing masterclasses. A new addition to the events programme is the Killer Ceilidh, which will see participants stripping the willow to the rollicking sounds of the Smoking Barrel Ceilidh band. If you fancy your dark deeds in a different medium, a selection of classic crime films will be screened throughout the festival, including 2007's Reichenbach Falls alongside an introduction by Ian Rankin. Or head on down to the Sheriff Court, sit on a jury and decide a man's fate in an interactive staging of Douglas Skelton's play You the Jury, which is based on a real murder trial.

And so, with so much in store at Bloody Scotland this year, be sure to get your alibi sorted for the second-to-last weekend of September and join in on the fictional thrills.

Bloody Scotland, various venues: Stirling, Fri 20–Sun 22 Sep, bloodyscotland.com

Bloody Scotland

An innovative festival drawing on Scotland's love of the literary macabre and celebrating crime writing by bringing together leading Scottish and international writers, showcasing debut voices and encouraging new writers. As well as interviews and panels there is a torchlight procession, criminal cabaret, a crime writer's…

Various venues: Stirling

Fri 18 Sep 2020

Times vary

Sat 19 Sep 2020

Times vary

Sun 20 Sep 2020

Times vary

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