Bloody Scotland 2022 – The McIlvanney Prize Short List

mcilvanney prize short list 2022

Finalists for the McIlvanney Prize 2022 – in Bloody Scotland’s 10th anniversary year

Liam McIlvanney – The Heretic (HarperCollins)
Alan Parks – May God Forgive (Canongate)
Ambrose Parry – A Corruption of Blood (Canongate)
Louise Welsh – The Second Cut (Canongate)

 The McIlvanney Prize Judges

Ayo Onatade, winner of the CWA Red Herring Award and freelance crime fiction critic, Ewan Wilson, crime fiction buyer from Waterstones Glasgow and Jacky Collins, otherwise known as the podcaster, Dr Noir and programmer of Newcastle Noir. They were unanimous in their praise for all four finalists:

Liam McIlvanney – The Heretic (HarperCollins)

The masterful rendering of a richly layered plot makes you want to read this novel again as soon as you’ve finished it. It’s a warts and all tale with memorable characters and a great setting.

Alan Parks – May God Forgive (Canongate)

This expertly handled and morally ambiguous novel paints a dark and mesmerising portrait of 1970s Glasgow. The skillfully written and complex plot builds to a thrilling and highly unconventional denouement.

Ambrose Parry – A Corruption of Blood (Canongate)

A real slow burner of a novel which is a marvellous tale of murder and deception in Victorian Edinburgh. It handles some difficult subject matter with sensitivity and care and has a real feeling of authenticity.

Louise Welsh – The Second Cut (Canongate)

The raw, tight prose of this novel delivers an edgy glimpse into the underbelly of 21st century Glasgow. The novel features the welcome return of Rilke from Louise’s classic debut The Cutting room in a witty and sometimes sordid tale of a rank outsider.

Prizewinner Event at Bloody Scotland

The winner will be revealed in Stirling on Thursday 15 September. All of the shortlisted authors will be invited to a VIP reception at the Church of the Holy Rude at 7pm and to lead the torchlit procession from Stirling Castle to The Albert Halls where the winner of both the McIlvanney and the Bloody Scotland Debut Prizes will be revealed at approximately 8.30pm. They will then be interviewed on stage by BBC Radio Scotland’s Janice Forsyth.

About the Prizes

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 their 10th Anniversary Bloody Scotland are offering a limited number of tickets at £5 each for 10 of the 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.


Bloody Scotland are committed to making it an accessible festival. All of the venues are accessible by wheelchair and BSL interpretation is available at events please email.  A free shuttle bus between venues is available 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 every effort will be made to accommodate them.

The Bloody Scotland Board

The 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. They are also grateful to their many sponsors and supported 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.

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland distributing funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at

The full longlist for the McIlvanney Prize 2022 was:

A Matter of Time, Claire Askew (Hodder)
The Sound of Sirens, Ewan Gault (Leamington Books)
The Blood Tide, Neil Lancaster (Harpercollins)
From the Ashes, Deborah Masson (Transworld)
The Heretic, Liam McIlvanney (Harpercollins)
Rizzio, Denise Mina (Polygon)
May God Forgive, Alan Parks (Canongate)
A Corruption of Blood, Ambrose Parry (Canongate)
A Rattle of Bones, Douglas Skelton (Polygon)
The Second Cut, Louise Welsh (Canongate).

The shortlist for The Bloody Scotland Debut Prize for crime fiction is:

Tariq Ashkanani, Welcome to Cooper (Thomas & Mercer, Amazon).
Frankie Boyle, Meantime (John Murray).
Amanda Mitchison, The Wolf Hunters (Fledgling Press).
George Paterson, The Girl, The Crow, The Writer and The Fighter (Into Books).
Sarah Smith, Hear No Evil (Two Roads).

Arusa Qureshi, a former editor of The List, replaces Janice Forsyth as a judge for the Bloody Scotland Debut this year and she joins Kenny Tweeddale from sponsors, The Glencairn Glass, and Simon Lloyd from Waterstones.

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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