Bloody Scotland 2019 Programme Launch – Golden Lion Hotel, Stirling @BloodyScotland @Brownlee_Donald

Photo: Paul Reich

Today it was my great pleasure to head over the border into Stirling to attend the official launch of the Bloody Scotland Festival 2019. This is quite probably the highlight of my festival year and this year’s line up is as epic as they come. With a fabulous blend of Crime-fact and Crime Fiction, I think there is going to be something for everyone. Don’t believe me, here’s the official word from the festival organisers.


including David Baldacci, Denise Mina, Ian Rankin, Shari Lapena and debut author, straight from Pointless, Richard Osman

Photo: Paul Reich


‘It’s a dizzying weekend of pleasure.’ Val McDermid, 2019

Bloody Scotland revealed its 2019 programme today followed by a one-off performance by Val McDermid who will be in New Zealand during the festival itself this year. The London launch will be in Scotland House at 6.30pm tomorrow evening, hosted by bestselling author and Bloody Scotland director Abir Mukherjee.

Bloody Scotland has been praised for going beyond the usual remit of a literary festival to create a fringe featuring football, a torchlit procession, a cabaret, a podcast, a quiz and this year will also include a ‘Killer Ceilidh’; a procession of Harley Davidson riders; a play at the Sheriff Court which will allow the audience to vote on the verdict of a real murder trial and a screening of classic crime films from The 39 Steps to Reichenbach Falls, introduced by Ian Rankin.  We hope it gives the authors a unique experience and makes the weekend more appealing to those who might not normally go to a book festival. There continues to be a discount for local residents, tickets for the unemployed and we continue to improve disabled access with a mini bus between venues for those that need it.

Photo: Paul Reich

The gala opening on Friday 20 September will once again feature the announcement of the winner of the McIlvanney Prize for the Scottish Crime Novel of the Year and will also reveal the first winner of the new prize for Scottish crime fiction debut.  The winners will join one of the world’s leading thriller writers, David Baldacci, at the head of the annual torchlight procession down to the Albert Halls. 

Highlights include Ian Rankin; Alexander McCall Smith; Alex Gray and Lin Anderson, interviewed by the BBC’s Janice Forsyth; Denise Mina and Louise Welsh; two married couple writing partnerships, Nicci French and Ambrose Parry; Icelandic queen of crime Yrsa Sigurdardottir; Stuart MacBride; Mark Billingham and, straight from Pointless, Richard Osman who has just signed a much publicised seven-figure deal for his first crime novel The Thursday Murder Club to be published by Viking next year. No sooner had he signed the deal than we’d moved things around to get him in the programme.

Non-fiction highlights include Alice Vinten (police constable in the Met) appearing with Mim Skinner (insight into the experiences of women in prison); former prison governor Dr David Wilson (soon to be on TV) and forensic scientist Professor Angela Gallop (whose book details her high profile work on cases such as Damilola Taylor, Stephen Lawrence and Rachel Nickell).

Panels that are likely to spark some debate include Till Death Do Us Part talking about novels based around highly dysfunctional marriages and the festival holds up a Mirror to Society with novels which address contemporary issues like online stalking and knife crime.

First time visitors to the festival this year include the Canadian best-seller Shari Lapena who will be appearing with Caroline Kepnes, author of the massive Netflix hit You; Lisa Jewell (well known for her contemporary fiction now getting rave reviews for her thrillers); Guardian journalist Jonathan Freedland (writing under the pseudonym of Sam Bourne); Boston-based lawyer David Hosp (aka Jack Flynn); Charlotte Philby (the granddaughter of the infamous double-agent Kim Philby); Lynne Truss (author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves) and Catherine Steadman (Mabel Lane Fox in Downton Abbey).

Bloody Scotland remains an open and welcoming international festival despite all the chaos at Westminster – this year welcoming authors from Spain, France, Iceland, Norway and Ireland as well as the US, Canada, Australia, India and Mexico.

To purchase your tickets, head on over to the Bloody Scotland website here:

About Bloody Scotland

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. The festival uses a number of atmospheric, historic venues in Stirling’s Old Town setting it apart from other literary festivals. Full information at

‘The secret of Bloody Scotland’s success is that everyone’s a winner. There are rewards for readers and writers alike. For the audience, there’s everything from panel discussions to the most incoherent football match in the country, from the spectacle of a torchlit procession through the streets of Stirling to convivial conversations that go on long into the night. And for writers, there are showcases for emerging authors, opportunities to perform before a generous and well-informed audience, and the thrill of the McIlvanney Prize. It’s a dizzying weekend of pleasure. Nobody leaves Bloody Scotland without their head birling like a peerie.’
Val McDermid

“Scottish crime writing is one of our strongest literary exports, popular and respected across the globe. Bloody Scotland brings a broad range of its readers and writers from Scotland and beyond to Stirling each year, to celebrate the genre over a range of innovative events, including the announcement of the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. Creative Scotland is delighted to support a festival programme that not only features the celebrated and established voices of crime writing, but balances them with the emerging talent who are soon to become recognised names on bookshop shelves.”
 Alan Bett, Literature Officer at Creative Scotland 
“Bloody Scotland has grown into one of Stirling’s most loved events and presents a terrific mix of our best loved and brand-new writers. It has become a key fixture in our ever-growing events calendar and the 2019 festival will again offer a truly international cast of characters, with authors travelling to Stirling from North America, Central America, Asia and Europe. The programme offers something for everyone, going beyond the usual remit of a literary festival. There is always a tremendous reaction from audiences and we have worked closely with Bloody Scotland organisers to bring a real sense of the festival to all of Stirling.”
Cllr Chris Kane, Convenor of Stirling Council’s Community Planning and Regeneration Committee
“Go Forth Stirling are thrilled to be working with Bloody Scotland. We are proud that Bloody Scotland has its home in Stirling; the festival has become one of the highlights of the city’s summer calendar. We’re looking forward to working with city centre traders to welcome visitors to the 2019 festival and enable them to make the most of their stay in our amazing city, inspiring people to explore a little of our history and heritage and to experience some of our excellent retail and dining.”
Mags Fenner, Go Forth Stirling

The launch was followed by a fabulous panel featuring Val McDermid and Alan McCredie talking about their new book, My Scotland. A thoroughly enjoyable hour and it looks as though the book, which features all the locations around Scotland that inspired the settings for val McDermid’s fiction, has some absolutely stunning photos as well as highly entertaining narrative. You can buy yourself a copy of the book here.

4 thoughts on “Bloody Scotland 2019 Programme Launch – Golden Lion Hotel, Stirling @BloodyScotland @Brownlee_Donald

    1. Quite possibly WordPress as Mandie just had exactly the same issues. I have terrible wifi here so I was half thinking it went a bit wonky while I was publishing lol

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