THE GLENCAIRN GLASS CRIME SHORT STORY COMPETITION WINNERS ANNOUNCED
The Glencairn Glass – the world’s favourite whisky glass produced by Scottish
glassware company Glencairn Crystal – has revealed the winner and runner-up of its
Scottish themed crime short story competition.
Having supported and celebrated Scottish crime writing talent with its ongoing
sponsorship of the prestigious McIlvanney and Bloody Scotland Debut crime-writing
literary awards since 2020, the Glencairn Glass first launched its very own crime short
story competition two years ago. Since its inception, the competition has attracted a
huge number of gripping entries from both novice and experienced crime writers all
over the world.
The theme for this year’s competition – in partnership with Scottish Field Magazine and
the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival – is “A crime story set in Scotland”. Over 100
stories were entered into the competition – each one comprising of no more than
The winner and runner-up were selected by a panel of three judges including Tariq
Ashkanani, whose debut novel Welcome to Cooper won last year’s Bloody Scotland
Debut Award 2022, and Sharon Bairden, an established book reviewer and author of
psychological thrillers; Sins of the Father and You Need Me. The third judge was
Glencairn Crystal’s marketing director and experienced crime writer Gordon Brown.
The judges can now reveal the winner and runner-up as follows:
Winner: The Dummy Railway by Frances Crawford.
A captivating tale of a disturbing discovery through the eyes of a young Scottish girl.
Frances is a passionate advocate of lifelong learning. In 2022, she graduated at the
age of 60 with an MLitt (First) in Creative Writing from Glasgow University. Having
published a number of short stories with disabled protagonists she is particularly
interested in characters traditionally overlooked in fiction. Frances lives in Glasgow
with her family,
Frances said; “I was inspired to enter the Glencairn Glass Crime Short Story
Competition because it is open to writers at all stages of their journey, from published
authors to novices. It is an honour to win such a prestigious prize and I am absolutely
chuffed! The theme, ‘A crime story set in Scotland,’ inspired my Glasgow setting, and
having a child who finds a murder victim as the narrator, I hoped to show the way
violent crime has far-reaching consequences.”
Runner-up: The Last Tram to Gorbals Cross by Allan Gaw.
Set in a Glasgow police station in 1928, the police try to unravel a series of gruesome
Allan Gaw is a pathologist by training but now writes full-time. He writes short stories,
novel length historic crime fiction and poetry. He recently won the UK Classical
Association Creative Writing Competition, the International Alpine Fellowship Writing
Prize and the International Globe Soup 7 day Writing Challenge. Allan lives and works
Allan said: “I am delighted to be placed in such a prestigious writing competition.
The Glencairn Glass Short Story Competition was a great opportunity to write in my
favourite genre — historic crime with just a touch of madness”.
Competition judge, Tariq Ashkanani, commented: “The quality of this year’s stories
was incredibly high which made choosing two winners even more difficult. Both The
Dummy Railway and The Last Tram to Gorbals Cross stood out from the rest. The
Dummy Railway was a particular highlight. From its opening line to its final reveal, it
tells a dark tale using wonderful language and sharply-written dialogue. A fantastic
story and well-deserved winner!”.
Commenting on The Dummy Railway, judge Sharon Bairden said: “brutally raw
authenticity – it ticked all my boxes and gave me all the feels”. In relation to The Last
Tram to Gorbals Cross she commented: “it packs a massive punch into 2000 words.”
Glencairn’s marketing director Gordon Brown said: “’Now in its second year, the
standard of entries for the Glencairn Glass Short Story Competition has been
wonderful. With so many good stories to choose from, the judging process has been
tough and I’d like to take the opportunity to say a huge thanks to everyone who
The first prize winner, Frances Crawford, receives £1000, and runner-up, Allan Gaw
receives £500. Both writers will also receive a set of six bespoke engraved Glencairn
Glasses. The winning story will be published in the May issue of Scottish Field Magazine
(on shelf Friday 7th April). Both stories will also be published from 11th April on Scottish
Field Magazine’s website; www.scottishfield.co.uk and the Glencairn Glass website:
Last year’s inaugural competition was won by Brid Cummings, a fiction writer and
occupational therapist, based in South Australia. Her winning story – Halmeoni’s
Wisdom – was a dark tale of human trafficking, illegal trade and a desire for freedom.
Finally, for further information about this year’s McIlvanney and Bloody Scotland
Debut crime-writing prizes, as well as the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival taking
place in Stirling, Scotland, from the 15th to 17th September 2023. More information at: