Bloody Scotland 2022 – The McIlvanney Prize & Debut Prize Announced

bloody scotland

Sponsored by The Glencairn Glass

Bloody Scotland is  delighted to announce the winners for the McIlvanney Prize 2022 and the Bloody Scotland Debut Prize! The finalists for both prizes led a torchlit procession from Stirling Castle to the Albert Halls this evening where Arusa Qureshi revealed the winner of the Bloody Scotland Debut Prize to be Tariq Ashkanani with Welcome to Cooper (Thomas & Mercer) and Ayo Onatade revealed the winner of the McIlvanney Prize to be Alan Parks with May God Forgive (Canongate).

The McIlvanney Prize

Ayo Onatade, chair of the McIlvanney Prize judges described May God Forgive as:

‘A terrific continuation of Alan Parks police procedural “month’ series. May God Forgive is every bit as entertaining, gritty, darkly humorous and steeped in the grimy underbelly of Glasgow as the previous books. A fantastic book with an intriguing cast of characters that not only keeps to a tight timeframe, but is fast, hard, edgy and thought provoking. 1970s Glasgow has never been so thoroughly invoked. A truly gripping read.’

May God Forgive is the fifth outing for Alan Parks’ Glasgow detective Harry McCoy and sees a desperate search for two kidnapped boys. Parks was also a finalist for The McIlvanney Prize in 2021. Prior to becoming an award-winning crime writer he worked with Lloyd Cole and the Commotions and various other bands first at London Records and then at Warner Music. His debut novel, Bloody January, was published in December 2017.

The Debut Prize

 Arusa Qureshi, chair of the judges for The Bloody Scotland Debut Prize described Welcome to Cooper as:

‘Well-structured, bleak and just the right amount of disturbing. Tariq Ashkanani has crafted a terrific debut that doesn’t provide an obvious hero but instead, draws out the flaws and bad choices of its central characters. This provides a sense of discomfort that stays with you throughout but that’s where the beauty lies. I found myself going back and re-reading once I’d finished to make sure I had every detail right, which I think is the mark of a really clever and riveting story.’

Tariq Ashkanani is a solicitor based in Edinburgh and a dynamic new addition to Scotland’s crime writing roster. His assured US-set debut was the first in a two-book deal with Thomas & Mercer. His second novel Follow Me to the Edge was published in March 2022 and is also set in small town Nebraska.

The Glencairn Glass, the world’s favourite whisky glass, has again sponsored both The McIlvanney Prize and The Bloody Scotland Debut Crime Novel of the Year. The winners were presented with a trophy by Kirsty Nicholson, Design and Marketing Manager at Glencairn Crystal – who said:

“A huge congratulations to Tariq Ashkanani and Alan Parks for winning this year’s awards. It has been a privilege and a delight to once again support these prestigious awards with the Glencairn Glass – both of which are uniquely Scottish – and to celebrate the array of talented writers in the world of Scottish Crime fiction.”
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Information about the Prizes

Bloody Scotland is Scotland’s International Crime Writing Festival, providing a showcase for the best crime writing from Scotland and the world, unique in that it was set up by a group of Scottish crime writers in 2012. Full information at

The McIlvanney Prize recognises excellence in Scottish crime writing, includes a prize of £1000 and nationwide promotion in Waterstones. Previous winners are Craig Russell with Hyde in 2021, Francine Toon with Pine in 2020, Manda Scott with A Treachery of Spies in 2019 (who chose to share her prize with all the finalists), Liam McIlvanney with The Quaker in 2018, Denise Mina with The Long Drop 2017, Chris Brookmyre with Black Widow 2016, Craig Russell with The Ghosts of Altona in 2015, Peter May with Entry Island in 2014, Malcolm Mackay with How A Gunman Says Goodbye in 2013 and Charles Cumming with A Foreign Country in 2012.

The initial longlisting is handled by over 100 crime fiction readers from all over Scotland including booksellers, bloggers, librarians and festival-goers and the longlist is then handed to the high-profile team of judges to decide on the eventual winner.

The Bloody Scotland Prize for Scottish Crime Writing first awarded in 2012 was renamed The McIlvanney Prize in 2016. The Bloody Scotland Debut Prize was introduced in 2019 and won by Claire Askew who this year made the McIlvanney longlist along with Deborah Masson who won the Debut Prize in 2020.

In 2018 Bloody Scotland began a partnership with Harvill Secker to encourage new crime writers of colour. The winner of the inaugural prize was Ajay Chowdhury and in December 2021 it was won by Dettie Gould with The Light and Shade of Ellen Swithin.

Bloody Scotland in partnership with The Glencairn Glass, the world’s favourite whisky glass, recently resurrected the short story competition which took place in the first year. The latest incarnation, with media support from the Scottish Field Magazine, received entries from all over the world. Many previously unpublished. The winner was from Australia and was published in Scottish Field Magazine.

To make the festival more affordable for everyone and mark our 10th Anniversary we’re offering a limited number of tickets at £5 each for 10 of our events (see

A 10% discount is available for all events in Stirling to people residing in the Stirling Council area. (see

In addition free standby tickets will be offered to the unemployed or those on low income on the day of the event if there is good availability (see

Bloody Scotland is committed to presenting an accessible festival. All of the venues are accessible by wheelchair and BSL interpretation is available at events on request. Please Email for information  A free shuttle bus is available between shuttles for those who need it. Seating is unreserved so please advise at time of booking if you require a wheelchair space or have any specific needs and we will do our best to accommodate them.

The Bloody Scotland board is made up of crime writers Lin Anderson, Craig Robertson, Gordon Brown and Abir Mukherjee, James Crawford (chair), Muriel Robertson (finance) and Catriona Reynolds (governance).

Bloody Scotland receives vital funding from Creative Scotland, Stirling Council and Culture and Business Fund Scotland. We are also grateful to our many sponsors and supporters including The Glencairn Glass, H W Fisher, Stirling Castle, Literary Tours in Egypt, Waterstones, The Open University in Scotland and Go Forth Stirling along with a wide range of publishers.

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