Press release: Bloody Scotland – McIlvanney Prize Finalists Announced @BloodyScotland


With just over a week to go, it is safe to say I am very excited about heading up to Stirling next week for Bloody Scotland. I am equally as excited to be able to bring to you this press release from the team at Bloody Scotland announcing the ‘fantastic five’ – the five finalists in the running for the McIlvanney Prize for 2017.


Winner to be presented at Opening Reception of Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival at Stirling Castle on Friday 8 September

A panel of judges including comedian and crime fan Susan Calman, writer Craig Sisterson and Programmer of Granite Noir, Lee Randall, today reveal the five finalists for The McIlvanney Prize from a twelve strong longlist featuring some of the best names in Scottish crime fiction.


The finalists include two of the best-known women in Scottish crime – Val McDermid and Denise Mina; a former winner of the prize, Craig Russell; one of the founders of Bloody Scotland, Craig Robertson and a relative unknown, Jay Stringer.

The winner of the Scottish Crime Book of the Year will be awarded The McIlvanney Prize in memory of William McIlvanney at the opening reception at Stirling Castle on Friday 8 September (6.30-8.30pm) and followed by a torchlight procession – open to the public – led by Ian Rankin on his way down to his event celebrating 30 years of Rebus. The award recognises excellence in Scottish crime writing, includes a prize of £1000 and nationwide promotion in Waterstones.

The judges explained why each book made the final five:
Val McDermid – Out of Bounds (Little, Brown)

‘The Queen of Scottish crime adds yet more jewels to her crown with Out of Bounds and shows us why she’s writing at the very top of her game…Karen Pirie is one of the most engaging and charismatic of all the fictional Scottish Detectives’

Denise Mina – The Long Drop (Random House)

‘This elegantly written novel confirms Denise Mina’s stature among the great Scottish crime writers…The Long Drop transports you to the pubs, grubby back alleys and courtrooms at the heart of this unsavoury chapter of Scottish history’

Craig Russell – The Quiet Death of Thomas Quaid (Quercus)

‘The Quiet Death of Thomas Quaid is an assured riff on a classic noir caper which reveals Glasgow in all its gritty and compelling glory…The writing is as stylish as Lennox’s bespoke suits’

Craig Robertson – Murderabilia (Simon & Schuster) 

‘An intriguing premise in a contemporary setting which tiptoes along the darker edges of crime fiction with an unusual detective at its heart…Murderabilia is a terrific addition to this inventive series’

Jay Stringer – How to Kill Friends and Implicate People (Thomas & Mercer)

‘This unexpected and explosive novel proves that Jay Stringer has reached the major league of Scottish crime fiction…The prose in How to Kill Friends and Implicate People crackles like a roaring campfire and you find yourself rooting for the unlikeliest of heroes’


Lee Randall, chair of the judges said:

‘It’s always an honour to judge the prize and this year I especially enjoyed encountering writers whose work was new to me’

Susan Calman said:

‘As a long term reader of Scottish crime books it has been a dream come true to judge this year’s McIlvanney Prize’

Craig Sisterson said:

‘Reading the books for the prize has been a pleasure and a privilege, and has convinced me that Tartan Noir is a sparkling gem on the global crime-writing stage’
Previous winners are 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 2017 winner will be kept under wraps until the ceremony itself.

View the full events programme here.

What an amazing shortlist. I have tickets for the opening ceremony this year and I cannot wait. Whoever wins, this is going to be a cracking night of bookish celebration. good luck to all five.


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