Bloody Scotland, Stirling, 8 – 10 September, 2017

bloody coland

Download the Brochure (PDF)

Gala Opening, McIlvanney Prize and Torchlight Procession

Stirling Castle, Great Hall.

Bloody Scotland 2017 opens in the magnificent splendour of the Great Hall of Stirling Castle with a truly unique event that offers you the chance to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in crime fiction. Your golden ticket (£20) allows you to enjoy a glass or two of fizz in historic surroundings while the launch of Bloody Scotland anthology of new short stories in conjunction with Historic Environment Scotland takes place. The winner of the prestigious McIlvanney Prize for Scottish crime book of the year will also be announced. Following the announcement you can then collect, if you so wish, your flaming torch on the castle esplanade and take your place in a once-in-a-lifetime procession of authors and readers, winding its way through Stirling’s old town to the Albert Halls for the Rebus event.

ian rankin

Ian Rankin: 30 Years of Rebus

This year’s festival kicks off with a celebration of Scottish crime writing’s greatest detective, John Rebus, in the company of his creator, Ian Rankin. It is 30 years since Ian’s famous Edinburgh copper came to life on the pages of Knots & Crosses and he has thrilled his readers ever since. Ian will be in conversation with fellow bestselling crime writer Mark Billingham, walking the beat from St Leonard’s police station to the Oxford Bar and back again.

Other Events Include:


Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Masterclass

Friday 8 September, 2017 from 9:15 am – 4:45 pm

Sharpen your pen, hone your writing skills and be inspired by a full day of crime-writing advice and tips with our Crime Writing Masterclass with authors: Sophie Hannah, Doug Johnstone and C.L. Taylor.


The 2017 keynote will be delivered by Sophie Hannah. Hannah is an internationally bestselling crime fiction writer, whose novels have been translated into 34 languages and published in 51 countries. Her psychological thriller The Carrier won the Specsavers National Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year in 2013. In 2014 and 2016, Sophie published The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket, the first new Hercule Poirot mysteries since Agatha Christie’s death, both of which were national and international bestsellers. Sophie’s new standalone novel Did You See Melody? will be published just before Bloody Scotland.


This hands-on, interactive workshop will equip aspiring writers with all the tools they need to effectively edit their own work, from structural changes to the nuts and bolts of line-by-line prose. Doug Johnstone, author of eight award-winning and bestselling psychological thrillers, including Crash Land (2016), will lead you through exercises and examples to sharpen up your work in progress and hone your editorial eye.


From gripping openings and midpoint twists to cliffhangers and character flaws, three times Sunday Times bestseller C.L. Taylor will share everything she’s learned about how to write a thriller readers won’t be able to put down. The workshop will include a series of exercises that participants can apply to their own works in progress. C.L. Taylor’s books in 2017 include The Escape, and her first young adult thriller, The Treatment. The day also includes a panel on current crime market trends featuring Krystyna Green, Publishing Director at Constable, Sara Hunt, owner of Saraband Publishing and literary agent Allan Guthrie, chaired by Professor Claire Squires, Professor of Publishing Studies at the University of Stirling.


A free ticket to opening event Ian Rankin: 30 Years of Rebus and 10% discount on all other Bloody Scotland 2017 tickets. Price includes lunch and refreshments. Places are limited, book early to avoid disappointment.

The Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Masterclass is held in partnership with the University of Stirling’s Creative Writing team, and the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication.


Val McDermid: 30 Years in the Business of Crime

Saturday 9 September from 12:15 pm – 1:15 pm

In 1987, Scotland’s very own Val McDermid rocketed onto the crime fiction scene with her first novel, Report For Murder. In the years since, she has established herself as one of the world’s leading crime writers, selling over 10 million books and scooping countless awards. The Queen of Crime will reminisce about her stellar career as well as talking about her enthralling new book Insidious Intent which sees the return of the much-loved Tony Hill and Carol Jordan.

peter may

Peter May

Saturday 9 September from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Welcome back is one of Bloody Scotland’s favourite sons. Peter has had a phenomenally successful few years since his Lewis trilogy rocketed him to the top of book charts across the world.

Cast Iron is the latest in his Enzo Macleod series. A young woman’s body is dumped in a French lake and fourteen years later, during a summer heatwave, a drought exposes her remains.

Chaired by Lin Anderson.

Bloody Scotland Football Match: Scotland v England

Saturday 9 September from 2:00 pm3:00 pm


The crime writers of Scotland and England will take to the football field once more to compete for The Bloody Cup in what is a perennial festival favourite.

The ball was set rolling in 2014 when Scotland inflicted a 13–1 humiliation on the Auld Enemy, followed by a shock draw the following year. England scraped a fortuitous victory in 2016, leaving Scotland still ahead on goal difference…

Final line-ups will include Ian Rankin, Christopher Brookmyre, Craig Robertson and Doug Johnstone for Scotland, while England will feature Mark Billingham, Simon Kernick, Luca Veste, and Howard Linskey.

Special thanks to Cowane’s Hospital Maintenance Trust ( for use of their grounds.

49 St John Street, Stirling FK8 1ED

karen rose

Karen Rose

Saturday 9 September from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

International bestseller Karen Rose was born and raised in the Washington DC suburbs of Maryland and was a high school chemistry and physics teacher before becoming a writer.

She is the author of nineteen novels, the latest of which, Monster in the Closet, is the fifth in her acclaimed Baltimore series. It features private investigator Clay Maynard on the trail of a killer who wants to silence the child who witnessed his brutal crime.

Sponsored by Headline.

Louise Welsh Courtesy of Steve Lindridge

Louise Welsh
Courtesy of Steve Lindridge

Building Plots: Bloody Scotland – Louise Welsh, Doug Johnstone and E.S. Thomson

Sunday 10 September from 12:45 pm – 1:45 pm

Twelve of Scotland’s best crime writers have produced an anthology of short stories inspired by the country’s most iconic sites and structures. Compiled by Historic Environment Scotland, these include the Forth Rail Bridge, Maeshowe on Orkney, Bothwell Castle and St Peter’s Seminary at Cardross.

Three of the anthology’s authors, Louise Welsh, Doug Johnstone and E.S. Thomson, will talk about their chosen location and the connections that exist between Scotland’s people and places.

Find out more »



Celtic Connection: Denise Mina and Liz Nugent

Sunday 10 September from 12:45 pm – end-1:45 pm

Join two gifted storytellers at the very top of their game as they explore connections both Celtic and criminal.

The latest from Scotland’s Denise Mina, The Long Drop, is an extraordinary and unsettling account of the meeting between murderer Peter Manuel and the father of the family he has slaughtered. Both of Irish author Liz Nugent’s first two novels, Unravelling Oliver and Lying in Wait, have been number one bestsellers.


Dave Arcari, Album launch, Broadcast, Glasgow 1 September, 2017
Conference for Young Women, Hilton Grosvenor Hotel, 19 August, 2017

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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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