Chris Brookmyre wins the McIlvanney Prize 2016



The late, great William McIlvanney described Bloody Scotland, which opens this evening, as the most ‘friendly’ and ‘supportive’ festival he had ever been to.

Bloody Scotland 2016 is dedicated in his honour and tonight his brother Hugh McIlvanney OBE reveals that the winner of the inaugural Mclvanney Prize (previously Scottish Crime Book of the Year) is Black Widow by Chris Brookmyre.

The judges – journalist, Lee Randall, award-winning librarian, Stewart Bain and former editor of The Scotsman and The Times Scotland, Magnus Linklater – described Black Widow as:

like watching Olympic diving – just when you think the plot can’t twist again, it takes a new turn. Even the twists have twists. With a theme of cyber-abuse, this shows an author taking a long running series to new heights.’

Brookmyre first came to prominence in 1996 with his debut Quite Ugly One Morning which went on to be televised with James Nesbitt of Cold Feet fame in the role of Jack Parlabane. It won the Critics’ First Blood Award for Best Crime Novel of the Year and 20 years later Black Widow has not only won The McIlvanney Prize but is shortlisted for the prestigious CWA Gold Dagger Award to be announced on 11 October.

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon tweeted in February that her husband had bought Black Widow for her as a Valentine’s present and she stayed up until 2am to finish it.

The McIlvanney Prize recognises excellence in Scottish crime writing, includes an award of £1000 and nationwide promotion in Waterstones.

The longlist which was chosen by an independent panel of readers included huge names like Ian Rankin, James Oswald and Stuart MacBride and was whittled down to a list of four finalists for the judges to consider. Brookmyre beats Val McDermid (Little, Brown), Doug Johnstone (Faber) and E S Thomson (Constable) to win The McIlvanney Prize this evening.

As a fellow Glaswegian Willie McIlvanney would probably be very happy with the result.


If you would like to interview Chris Brookmyre or talk to the judges about their decision please contact 07767 431 846.

Chris Brookmyre will be appearing at Bloody Scotland with Mark Billingham at 8.30pm this evening, with Stuart Neville at 5.30pm on Saturday 10th and in the Bloody Scotland Crime Writers Football Match from 2-3pm at Cowane’s Hospital in Stirling on Saturday 10th.
@brownlee_donald @bloodyscotland




All four finalists were presented with a full set of William McIlvanney novels by his brother Hugh.

Hugh McIlvanney, once described as ‘the greatest sportswriter in the English-speaking world’ will be returning to Stirling on 30 September when he will be appearing at The Albert Halls at 7.30pm in conversation with Graham Spiers. Tickets available on 01786 473544

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

Previous winners of the Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award are 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.

Pictures of Chris Brookmyre and the four finalists can be used free of charge with credit to Eoin Carey and found in the following Dropbox:

The Dropbox includes jackets of each of the titles and a logo for Bloody Scotland

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