Bloody Scotland announces two initiatives to support new and aspiring writers



Described by William McIlvanney as one of the friendliest festivals around, Bloody Scotland, which opens in Stirling on Friday 9 September, will be supporting new writers by offering pitching sessions with leading publishers and agents and pairing established authors with ‘support’ acts just starting out on their career.

Last year, Jake Kerridge, crime fiction reviewer for The Daily Telegraph discovered current Man Booker long-listed title His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet ‘In the Spotlight’ when he visited Bloody Scotland. Kerridge described the initiative as:

‘Such a simple and effective idea that nobody seems to have thought of before. I was able to get a flavour of the work of writers new to me such as Philip Miller, Margot McCuig and the now celebrated Graeme Macrae Burnet. A lot of people I spoke to enjoyed these brief bursts from unfamiliar writers before hearing from the superstars they had travelled to see.’

Authors ‘In the Spotlight’ this year include Freight author, Les Wood paired with Chris Brookmyre & Stuart Neville and Orion author, Eva Holland paired with Val McDermid. The full list includes authors published by Scottish independents and large London conglomerates with a mix of male and female crime writers. One, A Fine House in Trinity, was longlisted for The McIlvanney Prize (winner to be announced at the opening reception) and author Lesley Kelly will be appearing ‘In the Spotlight’ immediately before Ian Rankin and Quintin Jardine take the stage. For a full list of selected authors please see below.

For authors who haven’t yet got publishers Bloody Scotland offers the Pitch Perfect session in which authors get the opportunity to travel to Stirling to present their book to leading agents and publishers. The panel, which includes agent Jenny Brown and publishers Sam Eades from Orion, Adrian Searle from Scottish Publisher of the Year, Freight, Katherine Armstrong from Zaffra Crime and Krystyna Green from Constable, will listen to a 3 minute presentation from each before deciding on a winner. The BBC will be filming the session for an Imagine documentary. For a full list of ‘pitch perfect’ authors please see below.

If you would like to talk to authors past or present about their experience ‘In the Spotlight’ or at ‘Pitch Perfect’ – in particular Graeme Macrae Burnet published by Contraband who last year was a relatively unknown author appearing as a support act for Ian Rankin and is now on the longlist for The Man Booker Prize – please contact 07767 431846

@brownlee_donald @bloodyscotland


Bloody Scotland is Scotland’s International Crime Writing Festival, unique in that it was set up by a group of Scottish crime writers – Alex Gray, Lin Anderson, G J Brown and Craig Robertson – in 2012. This year marks the 5th Anniversary. Full information at

‘In the Spotlight’ authors selected are:
Lesley Kelly – A Fine House in Trinity – Sandstone
Stephen Watt – Optograms – Wild Word Press
Sandra Ireland – Beneath the Skin – Polygon/Birlinn
Daniel Pembrey – The Harbour Master – No Exit Press
Shelley Day – The Confession of Stella Moon – Contraband
Michael Grothaus – Epiphany Jones – Orenda
Amanda Fleet – The Wrong Kind of Clouds – Matador
Les Wood – Dark Side of the Moon – Freight
Jackie Baldwin – Dead Man’s Prayer – Killer Reads
Tom O Keenan – The Father – McNidder & Grace Crime
Liz Mistry – Unquiet Souls – Bloodhound Books
Eva Holland – The Daughter’s Secret – Orion

‘Pitch Perfect’ authors selected are:
Alan Martin The Peat Dead
Alison Belsham The Tattoo Thief
Robert Parker The Bridge of Shadows
Susan Clegg Northern Pines
Stuart McLean They Shoot Corpses
Hester Ross Blood Oranges
Forest Isaac Jones The Whisper of the Bones
Danny Marshall Oupost32
Bloody Scotland is sponsored by Bookdonors which trades in used books for the benefit of people, charities and the environment. All of its sales are used to fulfil the triple social mission; to provide flexible and adaptable employment opportunities, to help protect the environment by promoting re-use and to provide additional income to a range of charities. With an inventory of over 250,000 titles, which regularly change, a wide range of books can also be purchased from its web site at

Press office contact: Fiona Brownlee 07767431846 or Tim Donald 07713 987537 ( (NOTE NEW CONTACTS – it’s an entirely new team this year with Laura Jones ( on social media. Festival Director, Dom Hastings has also left and the new director is Bob McDevitt

Social Media: If you’re not doing so already please follow us @bloodyscotland and use the hashtag #bloodyscotland as much as possible over the weekend of 9-11th so we can get it trending.

Public tickets priced at £9.50 (£8.50) for events at the Albert Halls and £7.50 (£6.50) for all others, are on sale at or at the Box Office in the Tolbooth Stirling (Tue-Sat 10am-6pm) or in the Albert Halls (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm). Free standby tickets are available to the unemployed or those on a low income, on the day of the event if there is good availability. Proof of eligibility is required and tickets are limited to one person. Visit for full details. A 10% discount is available to people residing in the Stirling Council area. You must give your address at the time of booking. Visit for details.