Torchlight processions, podcasts and a New Female Crime Writer Award at Bloody Scotland 2017
- Rowena McIntosh
- 1 June 2017
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.