Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival first launched Pitch Perfect in 2012.

The winner was Joseph Knox whose book went on to be a Sunday Times bestseller. In 2016 the winner was Alison Belsham who travelled all the way from London to participate and found herself an agent and a publisher:‘I stumbled across a post on Facebook about a pitching event at a crime-writing festival in Scotland. I’d never heard of Bloody Scotland or the Pitch Perfect event. I hadn’t written a crime novel and I wasn’t Scottish. In theory, I should have scrolled right on past. But two little words caught my eye: ‘professional feedback’… Jenny Brown chaired the Pitch Perfect panel and offered to represent me the same week.’

Pitch Perfect at Bloody Scotland. Image by Paul Reich

Everyone who has won the prize has been picked up by an agent and most have had books published, as have many of the other Pitch Perfect participants. This year the Festival would like to encourage aspiring authors from diverse backgrounds to apply. If book festivals are to become more diverse we need more diverse crime writers in the first place. Pitch Perfect is a great place to start.

Pitch Perfect is Sponsored by The Open University in Scotland


Previous winners of Pitch Perfect are:
2012 Joseph Knox
2013 Alex Cox
2014 Margaret Stewart
2015 Matt Wesolowski
2016 Alison Belsham
2017 Mark Wightman
2018 C O Vollmer (David Bishop)
2019 Suzy Aspley
2020 Kate Foster
2021 Kris Haddow

In the interest of inclusivity a number of the pitchers will have the option to pitch on-line. Chaired by literary agent, Jenny Brown, the 2022 panel includes Toby Jones, editorial director at Headline, Katherine Armstrong, deputy publishing director at Simon & Schuster and Robbie Guillory, agent at Underline Literary Agency. They will listen to eight aspiring authors pitching their ideas for a crime novel, offer constructive feedback and select a winner.

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. Full information at

The festival takes place in various venues (including The Albert Halls, The Tollbooth and the social hub of the festival, The Golden Lion Hotel) in the historic town of Stirling from 15-18 September 2022.

The Bloody Scotland Prize for Scottish Crime Writing first awarded in 2012 was renamed The McIlvanney Prize in 2016. The Bloody Scotland Debut Prize was introduced in 2019 and won by Claire Askew who this year made the McIlvanney longlist along with Deborah Masson who won the Debut Prize in 2020.

In 2018 Bloody Scotland began a partnership with Harvill Secker to encourage new crime writers of colour. The winner of the inaugural prize was Ajay Chowdhury and in December 2021 it was won by Dettie Gould with The Light and Shade of Ellen Swithin.

Bloody Scotland in partnership with The Glencairn Glass, the world’s favourite whisky glass, recently resurrected the short story competition which took place in the first year. The latest incarnation, with media support from the Scottish Field Magazine, received entries from all over the world. Many previously unpublished. The winner was from Australia and was published in Scottish Field Magazine.

The Pitch Perfect session is sponsored by the Open University in Scotland. To make the festival more affordable for everyone and mark our 10 th Anniversary we’re offering a limited number of tickets at £5 each for 10 of our events (see

A 10% discount is available for all events in Stirling to people residing in the Stirling Council area. (see

In addition free standby tickets will be offered to the unemployed or those on low income on the day of the event if there is good availability (see

We are committed to making Bloody Scotland an accessible festival. All of the venues are accessible by wheelchair and BSL interpretation is available at events on request. Email A free shuttle bus between venues is available for those who need it. Seating is unreserved so please advise at time of booking if you require a wheelchair space or have any specific needs and we will do our best to accommodate them.

The Bloody Scotland board is made up of crime writers Lin Anderson, Craig Robertson, Gordon Brown and Abir Mukherjee, James Crawford (chair), Muriel Robertson (finance) and Catriona Reynolds (governance). PR, Marketing & Sponsorship is handled by Fiona Brownlee and Tim Donald of Brownlee Donald Associates. Social Media and the website is handled by Dawn Geddes.

Bloody Scotland receives vital funding from Creative Scotland, Stirling Council and Culture and Business Fund Scotland. We are also grateful to our many sponsors and supported including The Glencairn Glass, H W Fisher, Stirling Castle, Literary Tours in Egypt, Waterstones, The Open University in Scotland and Go Forth Stirling along with a wide range of publishers.

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland distributing funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at . Follow us on Twitter Facebook  and  Instagram.  Learn more about the value of art and creativity in Scotland and join in at