The Glencairn Glass crime short story competition is back

The world’s favourite whisky glass - the Glencairn Glass - is once again delving into the dark
side of crime fiction with the launch of its popular annual crime short story competition.
This year it launches on 27th October, once again in partnership with the Bloody Scotland
International Crime Writing Festival and Scottish Field Magazine, offering the winning writer a
prize of £1,000 and their story published in Scottish Field and online.
Over the last two years the competition has attracted hundreds of entries from both
experienced and novice crime writers internationally. Writers from around the world are invited
to compose their stories, in less than 2000 words, on the theme: “A crime set in Scotland” – the
competition closes on 31st December 2023.
In addition to the £1,000 prize, the winner will also see their story published in Scottish Field
Magazine in the spring. The runner up will receive a cash prize of £500. Both stories will be
published online on the Scottish Field website, as well as on the Glencairn Glass website
The Glencairn Glass is no stranger to the ‘dram-atic’ world of Scottish crime fiction. The Scottish
family business Glencairn Crystal has celebrated and supported the Bloody Scotland Crime
Writing Festival since 2020 with its Glencairn Glass sponsorship of the McIlvanney Prize for the
Scottish Crime Book of the Year and the Bloody Scotland Debut Crime Novel of the Year
awards. Earlier this year a new three-year deal was agreed to secure the company’s
commitment and sponsorship until the end of 2025.

This year’s Glencairn Glass short story competition judging panel includes Callum McSorley, a
Glasgow based writer whose debut novel Squeaky Clean won this year’s Bloody Scotland
McIlvanney Prize for the Scottish Crime Book of the Year. He is joined by Kate Foster the
Edinburgh based national newspaper journalist and author, whose debut novel The Maiden
won this year’s Bloody Scotland’s Debut Prize and has become a Times and Waterstones
bestseller and Gordon Brown, author and a founding director of the Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival.

All short story entries must be submitted at
. The competition closes at midnight on Sunday 31st December 2023. The winner

and runner up will be announced in March 2023.


Sponsored by The Glencairn Glass

We're delighted to announce the 2023 winners of The McIlvanney Prize and The Bloody Scotland Debut Prize. The finalists for both prizes led the iconic torchlit procession from Stirling Castle through the historic old town this evening accompanied by the pipes and drums of the Stirling and District Schools Pipe Band. On stage at The Albert Halls Kenny Tweeddale, from sponsors The Glencairn Glass, presented the winner of The Bloody Scotland Scottish Crime Debut of the Year to Kate Foster for The Maiden (Mantle) and The McIlvanney Prize Scottish Crime Book of the Year to another debut author, Callum McSorley for Squeaky Clean (Pushkin Press).

The judges for The McIlvanney Prize were unanimous in their praise for Squeaky Clean which beat off competition from previous McIlvanney Prize winners Craig Russell and Denise Mina and previous Bloody Scotland Debut winner, Robbie Morrison, to be named Scottish Crime Book of the Year.

Bryan Burnett from BBC Radio Scotland said:
‘A wonderfully rich and funny new voice in Scottish crime. McSorley has created characters you invest in and a plot that keeps you hooked right from the start. Although it’s dark and gruesome it’s full of laugh out loud lines that still bring you pleasure long after you’ve finished the book. A novel I couldn’t wait to recommend to friends. ‘Glasgow’s least popular detective’ is about to hit the big time.’ 

Jason Allardyce, former editor of Sunday Times Scotland described it as:

‘A fresh new voice brings a Brookmyre-esque beauty that sparkles like a motor straight out the car wash. Full of unforgettable, three-dimensional characters and laugh out loud moments in every chapter to offset the violence among the valets.’

Angie Crawford Category Manager for Waterstones called it:

‘A thoroughly astonishing brutally brilliant novel written with wit and verve and laced with a very black humour that betrays a vulnerability and gets right under the skin. Callum McSorley’s writing is fresh and exciting, I can’t wait to read more.’
Squeaky Clean (Pushkin) features DI Ally McCoist the least popular detective in the Glasgow police who has been demoted. It’s a contemporary thriller packed with black humour and hints of Breaking Bad. Like Tim in the book, Callum McSorley worked at a carwash to make money while he was a student which has informed some of the colourful characters.  He is from East Kilbride (as is the original footballing Ally McCoist) and graduated from the University of Strathclyde in 2013. His stories have appeared in Gutter magazine and New Writing Scotland.

The judges for the Bloody Scotland Debut Prize selected The Maiden by Kate Foster (Mantle) as the best Debut of the Year.

Pauline McLean from BBC Scotland said:

The Maiden is a finely crafted, multi layered story. I didn’t want it to end, and certainly not in the way I knew it did, being based on a true-life case. A rare and poignant female perspective in a decidedly male world, told with passion and humour. Much more than a crime novel, and apt that its own development began at Bloody Scotland in 2020.’

 Kenny Tweeddale, New Product Development Manager from The Glencairn Glass said:

I thought The Maiden was a terrific bodice ripping tale that kept you guessing till the end.  The fictional story was built around factual characters and a historical incident from the chequered past of Auld Reekie. Bouncing between two strong female characters it demonstrates how women had to strive to survive in a male orientated world.’

Journalist and Editor Arusa Qureshi said:

‘The Maiden is a fascinating and immersive debut, that places you in an imagined yet historically familiar time and space. Stories about women in history are so often lost or forgotten so it’s refreshing to read something based on a true case that is skilfully constructed and utterly gripping, with a woman’s voice front and centre.’

Kate Foster has come full circle at Bloody Scotland. She first appeared on the virtual stage at Pitch Perfect during lockdown in 2020. She won the pitching panel with an outline of The Maiden and went on to get an agent and publisher. The Maiden (Mantle) is set in the 17th Century and is a reimagining of true historical events in which Lady Christian Nimmo is charged with the murder of her lover - and uncle - James Forrester. Kate Foster is a journalist and lives in Edinburgh.

Kirsty Nicholson, Design and Marketing Manager at Glencairn Crystal, said:

‘We’re raising a celebratory dram in our Glencairn Glass to salute Callum McSorley and Kate Foster for winning this year’s awards. A massive congratulations to them both on their success. We’re very proud of our Scottish heritage and it has been a huge honour to sponsor the awards over the past few years that showcase the diverse array of talent that currently exists in the world of Scottish crime fiction.’

Huge congratulations to both of our winners.

McIlvanney Prize finalists announced

Congratulations to Callum McSorley, Robbie Morrison, Denise Mina, and Craig Russell, who have been announced as finalists for the 2023 McIlvanney Prize.

The finalists, and authors shortlisted for the Bloody Scotland Debut Prize, will lead a torchlit procession from Stirling Castle to the Albert Halls on Friday 15th Sept & winners of both prizes will be revealed. Sponsored by The Glencairn Glass.

Book now

2023 'Pitchers' announced

We’re thrilled to announce our 2023 Pitch Perfect cohort! Congratulations to:

Top row L to R

Lucy Andrew, Natalie Jayne Clark, Louise Granger, Marco Rinaldi.

Bottom L to R

Lexie Angelo, Shane McGinley, Cath Ferguson, Anne Gilchrist.

Jenny Brown will once again be in the chair and our judges this year are Alex Saunders (Senior Commissioning Editor for Crime/Thrillers/Historical Fiction at Pan Macmillan), Oliver Munson (Director of Literary Agency A M Heath) and Katie Ellis-Brown (Deputy Publishing Director for Crime, Thriller and Crossover Fiction at Harvill Secker). 

2023 'Spotlighters' Announced

We're delighted to announce our Crime in the Spotlight line up for 2023!

Bloody Scotland offers a platform to shine a spotlight on new crime writing talent during the festival, and our Spotlighters will be giving a short reading/presentation before the our Albert Halls audiences, as well as book signing alongside these authors:

Fri 15th September

Axl  Malton - Alex Gray & James Oswald

Danielle Devlin - Lin Anderson & Guests
FE Birch - Val McDermid & Abir Mukherjee

Sat 16th September

Adam Oyebanji - Charles Cumming & James Naughtie

G J Williams  - Denise Mina & Karen Smirnoff
Nicholas Binge - Steve Cavanagh and TM Logan
J K Nottingham - Rob Rinder & Nadine Matheson

Liza North - Liz Nugent & Lisa Jewell

Bridget Walsh - Mark Billingham & Antti Tuomainen
Amanda Cassidy - Mick Herron & Chris Brookmyre

Sun 17th September

Greg Buchanan - Liam Thomas & Neil Lancaster

Sarah Clayton - Craig Russell & Liam McIlvanney

L to R top row:      
Liza North, Axl  Malton, Amanda Cassidy, Greg Buchanan, Sarah Clayton, FE Birch
L to R bottom row:
Bridget Walsh, Nicholas Binge, Danielle Devlin, Adam Oyebanji, G J Williams, J K Nottingham

Pitch Perfect 2023 open for submissions now!

Do you have a great crime novel in you, just bursting to get out? Maybe you have a blockbuster of an idea but don’t know where to start getting it into print. This is the event for you. Our iconic Pitch Perfect session has been the opening chapter for several bestselling crime writers and now it’s your chance. All you have to do is stand up before a room of your peers and a panel of publishing experts, and make your pitch. This year’s panel consists of Phoebe Morgan (Publisher, Crime and Thriller at Hodder & Stoughton), Oliver Munson (Director of Literary Agency A M Heath) and Katie Ellis-Brown (Deputy Publishing Director for Crime, Thriller and Crossover Fiction at Harvill Secker) – chaired (expertly) by Jenny Brown. Apply here -

Crime in the Spotlight 2023 opens for submissions

Tariq Ashkanani appearing as a 'Spotlighter' at the festival in 2021

As we do every year, Bloody Scotland wants to offer a platform to shine a spotlight on new crime writing talent during the festival. This year we are inviting new and emerging published crime writers to apply for a slot to read out a short sample of their work before one of our Albert Halls sessions in Stirling in September. This year, you’re eligible to apply for Crime in the Spotlight if you:

* Have never appeared on the programme at Bloody Scotland before

* Are early in your crime writing career (such as on your first or second published book, but no more)

You will be asked to prepare a short reading or presentation and you will be given a slot in front of one of our big audiences. You will also be invited to sign books alongside the author(s) appearing in that slot.

The Closing date for applications is the 4th August 2023.

You can apply for a slot here -

McIlvanney Prize Longlist and Debut Prize Shortlist announced

Sponsored by The Glencairn Glass.

The Bloody Scotland Debut Prize was launched in 2019 and has gone from strength to strength.
Three of the five shortlisted debut authors also make the longlist for this year’s McIlvanney Prize.
The 2023 Bloody Scotland Debut Prize will be judged by BBC Scotland’s Arts correspondent, Pauline
McLean, New Product Development Manager from sponsors Glencairn Crystal, Kenny Tweedale and
Journalist and Editor, Arusa Qureshi.
The full shortlist for the 2023 Bloody Scotland Debut Prize is:
Heather Critchlow with Unsolved (Canelo) – a cold case mystery about two women who disappeared
35 years ago which was inspired by a true crime podcast. Heather Critchlow grew up in rural
Aberdeenshire. She lives in St Albans.
Heather Darwent with The Things We Do To Our Friends (Penguin) - a suspense debut about a toxic
friendship in 1 st year at Edinburgh University. Originally from Yorkshire, Heather Darwent, now lives
outside Edinburgh.
Kate Foster with The Maiden (Mantle) – set in the 17 th Century is a reimagining of true historical
events in which Lady Christian Nimmo is charged with the murder of her lover James Forrester. Kate
Foster won Pitch Perfect at Bloody Scotland in 2020 with her outline for the book. She lives in
Callum McSorley with Squeaky Clean (Pushkin) featuring DI Ally McCoist the least popular detective
in the Glasgow police. A thriller filled with pitch-black humour. Callum McSorley graduated from the
University of Strathclyde in 2013 and since then his stories have appeared in Gutter magazine and
New Writing Scotland.
Fulton Ross with The Unforgiven Dead (Inkshares) about a Highland Constable who is reluctant to
embrace his gift of second sight. Inspired by Gaelic folk tales it is a fresh take on gothic crime noir.
Fulton Ross is from the Highlands, went to Glasgow University and now lives in Northern Ireland.

The McIlvanney Prize longlist is:
D V Bishop – Ritual of Fire (Pan Macmillan)
Heather Darwent – The Things We Do To Our Friends * (Penguin)
Kate Foster – The Maiden * (Pan Macmillan)
Mark Leggatt – Penitent (Fledgling Press)
S G Maclean – The Bookseller of Inverness (Quercus)
Callum McSorley – Squeaky Clean * (Pushkin)
Val McDermid – 1989 (Little,Brown)
Denise Mina – The Second Murderer (Vintage)
Robbie Morrison – Cast A Cold Eye (Macmillan)
Ian Rankin – A Heart Full of Headstones (Orion)
Craig Russell – The Devil’s Playground (Little,Brown)
Douglas Skelton – An Honourable Thief (Canelo)
Alongside two of the biggest names in Scottish crime fiction (Val and Ian) the list features two
previous winners (Craig and Denise), a previous winner of the Bloody Scotland Debut Prize (Robbie
Morrison) and three debut* authors.
This year the McIlvanney Prize will be judged by BBC Scotland presenter, Bryan Burnett; former
editor of The Sunday Times Scotland, Jason Allardyce and Category Manager for Waterstones, Angie
The McIlvanney longlist and the Bloody Scotland shortlist will be promoted in bookshops throughout
Scotland in the period between the announcement and the presentation on Friday 15 September. The
presentation of both prizes will take place after the torchlight procession through Stirling in order that
all shortlisted authors can take their place at the front. The procession will conclude with a formal
event at The Albert Halls where the two winners will be revealed and interviewed live on stage.


The tickets for the 2023 festival are on sale now.
Book your tickets here:


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
2000 words.
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
near Glasgow.
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; 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: