Bloody Scotland reveals 2023 line up for Stirling

The programme for the 11th Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival has been announced over three days in Stirling from 15-17 September.

A group of men and women, standing in the sunshine outside a hotel door with columns either side, hold books in the air
Many of the authors who will participate in Bloody Scotland in September were at the launch at the Golden Lion Hotel.

Venues such as the Albert Halls, Tolbooth, Trinity Church and libraries across the city will host a range of events featuring authors and guest speakers from around the world.

Bloody Scotland organisers continue their commitment to bring the festival to the wider world and those who can’t make it to Stirling can choose to watch a curated selection of events online.


The McIlvanney Prize for Scottish crime writing and the Bloody Scotland Debut Prizes will also be broadcast live on the opening night of the festival.

Stirling Council Leader, Councillor Chris Kane said:

“The narrative of Bloody Scotland, now in its 11th year, has been keenly embraced by book lovers across Scotland, the UK and the world and has become one of Stirling’s most loved annual events. 

“Our historic city centre and world-class attractions have helped make Stirling a must-visit destination and Bloody Scotland adds to our vibrant cultural scene. It is more than a literary festival. It has become a Fringe of friendliness, warmly anticipated by authors, visitors and locals, who create such a brilliant atmosphere every year.”

The iconic torchlit procession through Stirling historic old town will again announce the festival in style, while Scotland will also tackle England in the annual crime writers’ football match at King’s Park.

There will be a return of the ever-popular Crime at the Coo cabaret featuring an array of crime writers, a performance by the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers and a True Crime Writing Walking Tour will also investigate some of Stirling’s most notorious crimes.

A picture of two men, indoors, standing beside banners that read 'Bloody Scotland' and Stirling 'Alive with Character'
Stirling Council leader Chris Kane (left), joined with Bob McDevitt, Director of Bloody Scotland, for the launch at the Golden Lion Hotel.

Other highlights include former BBC presenter James Naughtie and former member of MI6, Charles Cumming discussing the espionage novel in the 21st century.

Criminal barrister and TV personality, Rob Rinder, will also be discussing his debut crime novel with criminal attorney and author, Nadine Mathieson. Bloody Scotland founder, Lin Anderson, will also host a discussion with a specialist in soil forensics, a forensic pathologist and Donald Findlay KC. Val McDermid will be in conversation with Abir Mukerjee.

The dark side of the internet, social media and the online rise of incels is tackled in the ‘Darkest Web’ panel while two former comic writers, Grant Morrison (Batman, Wonder Woman, X Men) and Robbie Morrison (Judge Dredd, 2000 AD, former winner of the Debut Prize and now longlisted for the McIlvanney) discuss their move into crime fiction.


The festival concludes with an event featuring two former winners of the McIlvanney Prize, Craig Russell who is again longlisted for the prize this year, and Liam McIlvanney whose father is the eponymous William McIlvanney who started it all.

James Crawford, Chair of Bloody Scotland said:

“Bloody Scotland is a highlight of the book festival calendar because of its wonderful and eclectic mix of household names and new authors breaking into the world of crime fiction. It is a hub of inspiration for readers and aspiring writers and is continually recognised as the place where many careers began.

"This makes it more than just a book festival, but a place where creativity and community can thrive. It doesn’t just showcase books and authors, but makes and shapes them too.”

Bob McDevitt, Director of Bloody Scotland said:

“I’m currently enjoying my summer reading which consists of some of the fantastic crime novels by authors who will be attending the festival in September – we really do have a varied programme this year with brilliant debuts, intriguing historical novels, topical political thrillers, complex character studies and some top notch non-fiction.

"I can’t wait to introduce these authors to our audiences for what will be, I’m sure, another memorable Bloody Scotland weekend.”

Alan Bett, Head of Literature and Publishing at Creative Scotland said:

“Alongside its incredibly strong core programme of writers from across the country and beyond, Bloody Scotland promises a great range of fun and surprising events and activities for everyone – football games and cabaret included! 

"You’re guaranteed to hear from the most recognised crime writers, at the same time as being introduced to debut work by authors who might just become your next favourite.  Crime writing is one of Scotland’s most popular genres of writing and among our strongest literary exports. Bloody Scotland showcases the best.”