Ian Rankin, Denise Mina and Christopher Brookmyre among highlights of 2014 Bloody Scotland crime writing festival

Tony Parsons, John Gordon Sinclair, MC Beaton and Quintin Jardine also set for Stirling-based literary festival

Ian Rankin, Denise Mina and Christopher Brookmyre among highlights of 2014 Bloody Scotland crime writing festival

Denise Mina

Promising a medieval murder mystery set in Stirling Castle, a drama based on the trial of one of Scotland’s most notorious killers and details on the first Poirot novel in almost 40 years, Bloody Scotland, Scotland’s crime writing festival, returns in 2014 - like a TV detective that cannot die.

More than 50 well-known and up-and-coming writers are appearing in this year’s programme. Established Scottish writers such as Christopher Brookmyre, Peter May, Denise Mina, Alana Knight, MC Beaton and Quintin Jardine will be taking part, as well as novelists known for their achievements in other fields - such as journalist Tony Parsons, actor John Gordon Sinclair and former Aberdeen footballer Arild Stravrum.

In addition to the local talent, writers from Germany, Norway, Finland, Ireland and the US are speaking. Festival manager Dom Hastings has commented on the 'wonderful balance of top Scottish talent and some legendary crime writers from all over the world'. This year sees a particular focus on Iceland in an event where Ragnar Jonasson, Quentin Bates and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir all appear.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a literary crime festival set in Scotland without Ian Rankin. As well as closing this year’s events, he can also be seen in discussion with author and forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs.

Less than two weeks after the publication of the only Poirot novel approved by Agatha Christie’s estate, Sophie Hannah will be speaking on the challenges of writing about the world’s most famous Belgian detective.

In addition to the author talks, there are a host of other events for the crime hungry to track down. Stirling’s Sheriff Court will be the setting for the dramatisation of the trial of Peter Manual, known as the Beast of Birkenshaw, who caused a sensation with a series of murders in the 1950s and his decision to defend himself in court.

A real medieval murder mystery will be brought to life with modern day forensics in Stirling Castle, while a Dragon’s Den-style pitching event invites members of the public to attempt to sell their work to leading publishing figures.

In the year of the independence referendum, there will be a Scotland v. England crime writers’ football match as part of the programme.

Hastings summarises the approach in programming the upcoming festival best: “We’re all set for a wide-reaching, glamorous and slightly gory celebration of one of Scotland’s true passions – crime fiction!”

Bloody Scotland, various venues, Stirling, Fri 19-Sun 21 Sep.

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