Bloody Scotland Reveals Stellar Line Up for 2023 Crime Writing Festival 15-17 September 2023

Bob McDevitt, Director of Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival revealed the 2023 programme in Stirling this afternoon. The iconic torchlit procession through Stirling historic old town will again announce the festival in style. As dusk settles over Stirling we will wind our way from the Castle Esplanade accompanied by a pipe band.

Scotland tackle England in our crime writers’ football match at King’s Park, a free fun event which is also aimed at including the local community. There will be a return of the ever-popular Crime at the Coo cabaret featuring an array of crime writers, a performance by the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers and new for this year we have a True Crime Writing Walking Tour investigating some of Stirling’s most notorious crimes and Crime Master, chaired by Luca Veste and C L Taylor with guests including Mark Billingham, Mark Edwards, Susi Holliday, Gytha Lodge and Abir Mukherjee.

Highlights include former BBC presenter James Naughtie and former member of MI6, Charles Cumming discussing the espionage novel in the 21st century. Bloody Scotland founder, Lin Anderson on stage with a specialist in soil forensics, a forensic pathologist and Donald Findlay KC. Val McDermid (who was recently  longlisted for the McIlvanney Prize 2023) in conversation with Abir Mukherjee.

The ‘Darkest Web’ panel, which includes CJ Tudor, Kate Simants and Gordon J Brown tackle the dark side of the internet, social media and the online rise of incels. Two women take on iconic crime books originated by men – Denise Mina is the first woman authorised to write Raymond Chandler’s detective and Karen Smirnoff has picked up the baton of Stieg Larsson’s Blomquist and Salander books.

Make Me Clean author, Tina Baker, who was herself raised in a travelling community joins a fascinating panel about the much misunderstood world of travellers. Criminal barrister and beloved TV personality, Rob Rinder discusses his debut crime novel with criminal attorney and author, Nadine Matheson. BBC Radio Scotland’s Bryan Burnett, chairs Lisa Jewell and Liz Nugent.

Two former comic writers, Grant Morrison (Batman, Wonder Woman, X Men) and Robbie Morrison (Judge Dredd, 2000 AD, former winner of the Debut Prize and now longlisted for the McIlvanney) discuss their move into crime fiction. In our panel, From the Inside Out, Dr Shahed Yousaf, who has written a harrowing, humorous and hard hitting tale of his life behind bars as a prison doctor is in conversation with James McIntyre whose memoir describes how he left prison to become Glasgow’s foremost gangland lawyer and then a TV scriptwriter.

The festival concludes with an event featuring two former winners of the McIlvanney Prize, Craig Russell who is again longlisted for the prize this year, and Liam McIlvanney whose father is the eponymous William McIlvanney who started it all.
We continue our commitment to bring the festival to the wider world and those who can’t make it to Stirling can choose to watch a curated selection of events online beginning with Nicci French at 1.30pm on Friday 15th and concluding with Craig Russell and Liam McIlvanney at 1pm on Sunday 17th. The McIlvanney Prize and Bloody Scotland Debut Prizes will also be broadcast live.
Stirling Councillor Leader, Councillor Chris Kane said:
‘The narrative of Bloody Scotland, now in its 11th year, has been keenly embraced by book lovers across Scotland, the UK and the world and has become one of Stirling’s most loved annual events.  Our historic city centre and world-class attractions have helped make Stirling a must-visit destination and Bloody Scotland adds to our vibrant cultural scene. It is more than a literary festival. It has become a fringe of friendliness, warmly anticipated by authors, visitors and locals, who create such a brilliant atmosphere every year.’

James Crawford, Chair of Bloody Scotland said:
‘Bloody Scotland is a highlight of the book festival calendar because of its wonderful and eclectic mix of household names and new authors breaking into the world of crime fiction. It is a hub of inspiration for readers and aspiring writers and is continually recognised as the place where many careers began. This makes it more than just a book festival, but a place where creativity and community can thrive. It doesn’t just showcase books and authors, but makes and shapes them too.’

Bob McDevitt, Director of Bloody Scotland said:
‘I’m currently enjoying my summer reading which consists of some of the fantastic crime novels by authors who will be attending the festival in September – we really do have a varied programme this year with brilliant debuts, intriguing historical novels, topical political thrillers, complex character studies and some top notch non-fiction. I can’t wait to introduce these authors to our audiences for what will be, I’m sure, another memorable Bloody Scotland weekend.

Alan Bett, Head of Literature and Publishing at Creative Scotland said:
‘Alongside its incredibly strong core programme of writers from across the country and beyond, Bloody Scotland promises a great range of fun and surprising events and activities for everyone – football games and cabaret included! You’re guaranteed to hear from the most recognised crime writers, at the same time as being introduced to debut work by authors who might just become your next favourite. Crime writing is one of Scotland’s most popular genres of writing and among our strongest literary exports. Bloody Scotland showcases the best.


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