Torchlight processions, podcasts and a New Female Crime Writer Award at Bloody Scotland 2017

Torchlight processions, podcasts and a New Female Crime Writer Award at Bloody Scotland 2017

credit: Paul Reich

Scotland's international crime writing festival launch their September programme

This September Stirling plays host to the sixth edition of Bloody Scotland, Scotland's international crime writing festival.The festival opens in lavish style with a gala at Stirling Castle, where the winner of this year's McIlvanney Prize for the Scottish Crime Book of the Year, won last year by Chris Brookmyre, is announced. Following the gala there's a torch light procession from the castle down to the Albert Halls where Ian Rankin celebrates 30 years of Edinburgh detective John Rebus.

It's also a thirtieth anniversary for Val McDermid, whose debut novel, Report for Murder, was published in 1987. She chats about her stellar career and new book Insidious Intent, starring popular duo Tony Hill and Carol Jordanson, in 30 Years in the Business of Crime. Other established crime writers at Bloody Scotland include Lynda La Plante, Peter May, Mark Billingham, Denise Mina, Doug Johnstone, Louise Welsh, Graeme Macrae Burnet, Denzil Meyrick, Simon Kernick and Clare Mackintosh. However, the festival also supports new talent in the genre. Before all the Albert Hall events emerging writers will read their work in a series of spotlights. The spotlight before Val McDermid is used to announce the winner of the New Female Crime Writer Award, launched by Virago in association with The Pool.

Bloody Scotland is known for being an more informal book festival than its counterparts. Chris Brookmyre describes it as 'a chance for crime writers to let their hair down, if they have hair'. So as well as interviews and panels there's a strong focus on more rowdy events: including criminal cabaret Crime at the Coo (always a sell-out), a crime writer's football match, a quiz hosted by Craig Robertson and a late-night gig from the Fun Lovin' Crime Writers, a supergroup of authors/musicians.

It's not just novels that offer a dose of bloody crime, Bloody Scotland also explores crime dramas on TV: author Ann Cleeves discusses her character DI Jimmy Perez with actor Douglas Henshall, who plays him in BBC series Shetland and MJ Arlidge, a writer for Silent Witness, talks small screen with Death in Paradise creator Robert Thorogood. There is a theatrical interpretation of a crime novel, with Christopher Brookmyre's A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil staged by Horsehead Theatre, and not one but two podcasts in town. In a live recording of Debut Charles E McGarry talks about rejection and redemption on the road to publishing his debut crime novel The Ghost of Helen Addison. Also recording live is Two Crime Writers and a Microphone, where hosts Steve Cavanagh and Luca Veste welcome guests including Eva Dolan, Mark Billingham and Ian Rankin.

For those who enjoy the facts behind the fiction The Policing behind Procedurals welcomes Police Scotland's Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone QPM and Detective Duncan Sloan to quiz author Alex Gray on the research behind her latest novel Still Dark. Or for the gory details Getting Rid of the Bodies looks at the disposal of bodies with author James Oswald and forensic anthropologist Professor Sue Black.

It might be a crime festival but they've got a conscience. The festival doesn't charge any booking or transaction fees, offers a 10% discount to people living in the Stirling Council area and has free standby tickets for people who are unemployed or on low income. This year Bloody Scotland have improved disabled access and are providing a mini bus between venues for those that need it. If you need any further persuasion, social enterprise Book Donors will be leaving free books on seats at the event and Stirling Gin have joined as a sponsor for 2017.

Bloody Scotland, Various venues, Stirling, Fri 8–Sun 10 Sep.

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…

Online events

Fri 18 Sep

Free

Pitch Perfect
This has become one of the most sought after – yet simultaneously terrifying – events for aspiring crime writers. It’s their chance to pitch their novel before a panel of industry experts and perhaps grab themselves a dream publishing deal.

Free

Get on Board - Lin Anderson, Gordon Brown, Abir Mukherjee and Craig Robertson
The four crime writing members of the Bloody Scotland board will lead us into the weekend, talking about the perils and pitfalls of planning a book festival in the middle of a global pandemic, reminiscing about Bloody Scotlands past and looking forward to a fabulous weekend. They might just spill a few secrets of what goes on behind the scenes of organising and participating in this great celebration of crime fiction.

Free

The McIlvanney Prize and Debut Prize announcement
Now in its seventh year, the McIlvanney Prize for crime novel of the year has established itself as the pre-eminent and most coveted award for Scottish crime fiction.

Free

Jeffery Deaver - My Life in Crime (Writing)
Join us as we spend an hour in the company of one of the world’s leading crime writers.

Free

The Fun Lovin' Crime Writers - Behind the Scenes
These paperback writers have been murdering songs for fun since 2017, entertaining audiences from Stirling to Belfast, London to Reykjavík, Glasgow to Cheltenham. They’ve even played Glastonbury (and may have mentioned it…)

Sat 19 Sep

Free

Professor Dame Sue Black: Written in Bones
The foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone. The ankle bone’s connected to what you’ve eaten, where you’ve been and who did you wrong. The secrets of our lives are written in our bones – if you have the skill and experience to unlock them.

Free

Ann Cleeves and Peter May
Two of the UK’s leading crime writers join forces in what is sure to be a fascinating insight into their books and careers.

Free

High Concept Thrills: Steve Cavanagh, Simon Mayo and Adrian McKinty
Strap yourself in for what’s sure to be a bumpy ride into the imaginations of three of the best thriller writers in the business. Expect twists and turns, breathless excitement and nail-biting action – and that’s just the conversation.

Free

Five Continents of Crime: Lin Anderson, Oyinkan Braithwaite, Attica Locke, Shamini Flint and J.P. Pomare
Bloody Scotland goes truly global as we untangle time differences to bring you crime writers from five continents.

Free

As If Real Life Isn't Scary Enough: Linwood Barclay, Tess Gerritsen and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
As if 2020 hasn’t been frightening enough, three of the biggest names in international crime fiction are determined to scare us even further. All three of these crime writing superstars have added a terrifying new edge to their latest books.

Free

Screen to Scene: Robert Crais, Helen FitzGerald and Deon Meyer
These three bestselling authors from the USA, Australia and South Africa have used a background in screenwriting to create outstanding novels.

Free

Criminal Masterminds: Lawrence Block and Ian Rankin
Make sure you’ve eaten, feed the cat, walk the dog, pour yourself a glass or a cuppa and settle down to watch two giants of crime fiction in conversation.

Free

Crime at the Coo Online
A firm festival favourite, Crime at the Coo normally has just 40 public tickets which disappear within moments of the box office opening. However, this year’s virtual festival will allow the madness, mayhem and musical majesty of the Coo to be seen by many, many more.

Sun 20 Sep

Free

The Never-Ending Panel: A Bloody Tour of Bloody Scotland
Lin Anderson, Stuart MacBride, Neil Broadfoot, Andrew James Greig, Sandra Ireland, Hania Allen, Morgan Cry, Caro Ramsay, Sara Sheridan, JD Kirk, Mary Paulson-Ellis, James Oswald, Ambrose Parry, Craig Robertson, Jackie Baldwin, Theresa Talbot, Alan Parks, Abir Mukherjee, Alex Gray, Nicola White, Ben McPherson, Catriona McPherson, Lisa Gray, SJI Holliday and Alex Knight.

Free

Desert Island Crooks: Chris Brookmyre, Ruth Ware, Harriet Tyce and Liz Nugent
Take four leading crime writers, abandon them on a desert island with only their three favourite crime novels for company then sit back and watch the fun as the sharks circle. Yes, only books; no music, no luxury item, no Complete Works of Shakespeare, no Bible, just books, glorious books.

Free

Keep Them Safe: Lou Berney, S.A. Cosby, Sheena Kamal and Denise Mina
Together, they are four of the hottest authors on the planet right now.

Free

How to Catch a Killer: Katherine Ramsland
Katherine Ramsland knows serial killers. She knows how they think, how they act, and how to catch them.

Free

Travelling Back in Crime: Mark Billingham and John Connolly
Coincidences in crime fiction should always be treated with grave suspicion but sometimes, twists of fate just happen, and this one is a cracker. Two of the world’s leading crime writers have both got new books out in which they take their series characters back to where it all began – the late 1990s – in gripping prequels.

Free

Criminal Masterminds: Lee Child and Val McDermid
Yes. Lee Child and Val McDermid. Both of them. Together. In the one event. Don’t say we’re not good to you. This really feels like one of those rare panels where any further explanation is a bit redundant. All it really needs is their names and then for us all to sit back and wait for it to start.

Free

You the Jury
A woman is found dead in her flat, a rope around her neck. Was it suicide – as her husband suggests – or murder? What’s it really like in a Scottish murder trial? Do lawyers cry out “Objection”? Does the judge strike a gavel to maintain order? Are there dramatic witness box confessions?

Find out in this reconstruction in a real court room, based on an actual case, with real-life lawyers, court staff and scientists playing their own parts.

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