Stop what you’re doing right now and read this! #pressrelease #lineupannounced @BloodyScotland

I was delighted to be a Bloody Scotland reader again this year and look forward to the official announcements for the McIlvanney Prize 2023! Here’s more details about the programme launch!


The Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival returns to the historic city of Stirling on 22 June with local celebrity, BBC Radio Scotland presenter, Nicola Meighan interviewing Ambrose Parry aka bestselling crime writer Chris Brookmyre and consultant anaesthetist turned medical historian turned ‘powerful new voice in crime fiction’ Marisa Haetzman live on stage in The Golden Lion Ballroom. They will be launching their new historical crime novel, Voices of the Dead, which will be published by Canongate later this month.

Stirling Council Leader, Chris Kane, will say a few words then Festival Director, Bob McDevitt, will reveal the 2023 programme at The Golden Lion Hotel at noon on 22 June immediately prior to the Ambrose Parry event. Tickets are deliberately priced at only £5 to encourage a local audience who might normally not attend the festival to give it a go. Anyone unemployed or on a low income can attend for free.

Other guests at the programme launch will be the shortlisted authors for the Bloody Scotland Debut Prize and the longlisters for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Fiction who will be revealed live on BBC Radio Scotland Afternoon Show on 15 June.

Following questions regarding the prize criteria last year the rules and judging process have been amended to encourage as much diversity as possible. The biggest change has been the rule regarding how Scottish you have to be with authors no longer being required to be resident in Scotland for 7 years before being allowed to enter the prize and authors who can prove a long and enduring connection with Scotland (for example parents) automatically allowed to enter.

In previous years the longlist has been determined by a panel of readers. This year the reader scores have been referred to an academy led by crime reviewer Ayo Onatade, Waterstones category manager for crime fiction Gaby Lee and journalist and author, Craig Sisterson. Their team includes crime reviewers / influencers Gordon McGhie, Zoe Venditozzi, Mary Picken and Suze Clarke-Morris; librarians Jonathan Kaney (Stirling), Steven Gough (Orkney) and Pearl Morrison (Aberdeenshire), booksellers Steve Poulter (Waterstones Bluewater), Marjorie Marshall (The Bookmark, Grantown), Cecile (Portoboello Bookshop), Sarah (The Book Nook Stewarton), Ewan Wilson (Waterstones Glasgow) and the winner of last year’s Bloody Scotland Debut Prize, Tariq Ashkanani.

The shortlist for the Bloody Scotland Debut Prize will be revealed on 15 June and the shortlist for the McIlvanney Prize for Crime Fiction will be revealed at the end of August.

The opening reception which offers an opportunity to rub shoulders with famous crime writers will be at 6.30 – 7.45pm in the Church of the Holy Rude. Authors shortlisted for each of the prizes will lead the torchlit procession from Stirling Castle to the Albert Halls where the winners will be revealed and interviewed on stage.