Ten years on from the first Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival the run has extended to four days, the number of events has doubled and the authors are more diverse than ever.
Ten years on from the first Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival the run has extended to four days, the number of events has doubled and the authors are more diverse than ever.

The 2022 festival, which runs from 15th-18th September, sees the return of several Bloody Scotland favourites that haven’t been seen since the pre-pandemic days of 2019.

The dramatic torchlit procession through Stirling historic old town led by the pipes and drums of the Royal Burgh of Stirling Pipe Band and Stirling and District Schools Pipe Band encourages locals who don’t normally attend literary events to get involved.

Scotland tackle England in the crime writers’ football match at the new venue of King’s Park, a free fun event which is also aimed at breaking down barriers.

An extended four day programme

There will be a return of the ever-popular Crime at the Coo cabaret featuring an array of crime writers showing off their musical talents and the much-loved Quiz this year takes the form of Vaseem Khan and Abir Mukherjee’s ‘Red Hot Night of a Million Games’ in which they steal the best bits from the game shows of yesteryear and mash them up into something truly remarkable.

Val McDermid has described Bloody Scotland as a ‘dizzying weekend of pleasure’, Jake Kerridge talking on BBC Radio 4 praised Bloody Scotland for ‘thinking outside the box’ creating ‘a sort of fringe’ and William McIlvanney spoke fondly of it being ‘so friendly, so welcoming’, and the organisers look forward to putting on that sort of inclusive, imaginative festival again to celebrate the 10th Anniversary.

Diverse selection of authors

In addition to the headliners, the festival will welcome to Stirling Sir Ian Rankin, Anthony Horowitz, Lisa Unger, Jeffrey Archer, Ann Cleeves and Frankie Boyle, with debuts at the heart of what Bloody Scotland is all about.

The very first festival featured a ‘Fresh Blood Panel’ and this year in addition to the ‘Bloody Scotland Debut Prize Panel’ there is the ‘Alex Gray’s New Crimes Panel’, plus debut authors appearing in various events throughout the programme and twenty new authors appearing ‘In the Spotlight’ on stage ahead of the established names.

The event will continue its commitment to bring the festival to the wider world and those who can’t make it to Stirling can buy digital passes for individual events or the whole weekend. Val McDermid, David Baldacci, Sara Paretsky, Donna Leon and Irvine Welsh will all join live for digital sessions.

One of Stirling's most loved events

Stirling Councillor Leader, Councillor Chris Kane said: “The fact that Bloody Scotland is now enjoying it’s 10th Anniversary is a welcome plot development for a festival that has grown into one of Stirling’s most loved events.  Bloody Scotland has brought a wide range of visitors into Stirling over the years while making sure Stirling residents are an integral part of the occasion, such as the spectacular torchlit procession that lights up our city centre.” 

Head of Literature and Publishing at Creative Scotland, Alan Bett, said: “Much has changed in the decade since Bloody Scotland launched their first festival, in terms of Scottish crime writing and literature festivals more generally.

"This 10th anniversary programme is not only the biggest, it also embraces a hybrid model that means a wider audience can engage with authors either on stage or on screen. Bloody Scotland continues to promote the highly popular genre of Scottish crime writing to the world, while also connecting Scottish readers to the work of both new and much loved authors.”

A wide array of digital offerings

Chair of Bloody Scotland, James Crawford, said: "It’s fantastic to be able to mark the 10th anniversary of the festival with a full, four-day programme of in-person events - along with a brilliant selection of digital offerings - featuring the best that crime writing has to offer.

"Bloody Scotland was established a decade ago to shine a spotlight on crime writing and to help develop a whole new generation of writers. Debut authors have always been central to this, and to the vibrant community that has grown up around the festival. Along with the excitement of seeing familiar faces comes the thrill of finding your new favourite writer. Bloody Scotland 2022 is a festival full of possibilities and discovery.”