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.