Writer Kiera Docherty has won the Bloody Scotland Short Story Competition after her story Relay came out on top in a public online vote. The competition had 157 entries from countries around the world including Trinidad, New Zealand and the United States.

Dom Hastings: Festival Manager at Bloody Scotland said: “Bloody Scotland seeks to support the next generation of crime writing talent and the great interest in this competition shows that there is a thriving demand for crime writing as well as a feverish appetite for reading short stories in the crime genre.”

Kiera will receive one of the largest prizes available in a short story competition of this kind, £1000, a festival pass and a bottle of Deanston malt whisky.

Over 1000 votes were cast by readers online, and Kiera’s story Relay came out as the clear winner.

Kiera said:” I am delighted and grateful to have won the Bloody Scotland short story competition. I was over the moon to be shortlisted, and the standard of writing was so high that I certainly did not expect to be the overall winner. It is a great honour.”

The two runners-up in the competition, Pat Black and Graeme King will also receive tickets to the festival.

Runner-up Pat Black said; “It was a great honour to be shortlisted for so prestigious an award, at an event which is fast becoming one of the best literary festivals around. I was thrilled to be placed second – hearty congratulations to a worthy winner and the other shortlisted authors. Same time next year..?

Runner-up Graeme King said; “Entering this year’s competition was a fantastic experience. The topic ‘escape’ set my mind racing and when I learned my story An Attentive Host had been shortlisted I was overjoyed. Congratulations to Kiera and Pat and to everyone who took part. Here’s to an amazing Bloody Scotland 2014.”

The winning stories will be published as a free ebook available online soon on the Bloody Scotland website.