Bloody Scotland festival to explore deadly women

Crime writers Alex Gray and Christopher Brookmyre dress up as Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot to launch Bloody Scotland. Picture: Hemedia
Crime writers Alex Gray and Christopher Brookmyre dress up as Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot to launch Bloody Scotland. Picture: Hemedia
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SCOTLAND’S annual crimewriting festival is to explore whether men or women are better placed to write about murder.

The painstaking investigation to capture the man behind the World’s End murders and the real-life poisons deployed by Agatha Christie to kill off characters will also be discussed.

An all-woman panel of writers will ask if men and women write and read crime differently and what they think about ­violence at Stirling’s Bloody Scotland event in September.

The event, Killer Women – Deadlier Than The Male? – is the brainchild of a new 15-strong collective who have come ­together to raise the profile of female crime writers and run special all-women events.

Festival manager Dom Hastings said: “They approached us and said they really wanted to do an event with the festival. They will look at how women are portrayed in crime fiction and their relationship with violence. The event will tackle why women are treated badly in crime fiction and what female writers should be doing about it.”

The 125th anniversary of Agatha Christie’s birth, just days after the festival, will be celebrated with a talk by research chemist Dr Kathryn Harkup, whose book A is for Arsenic looks at her obsession with poison, and ­Icelandic author Ragnar Jonasson, who has translated 14 of Christie’s books.

The anniversary will also be marked during the three-day festival with special events looking at forensic and science detection, including appearances by authors Lin Anderson, creator of forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod, and Val McDermid, who has written her a non-­fiction book on the subjects.

Writers and comics, including Christopher Brookmyre and Hardeep Singh Kohli, will join forces to improvise the plot of a crime novel on stage, while fans will get the chance to see their literary heroes perform readings, poems, stories and songs at a late-night pub “lock-in”.

More than 5,000 crime fans attended last year’s festival, and that total is expected to be surpassed this year thanks to the impressive line-up that has been assembled.

The fourth Bloody Scotland will bring a host of the nation’s leading writers together, including Peter May, William McIlvanney, Val McDermid, Ian Rankin and Denise Mina.

Special guests offering sneak previews of their next novels include Martina Cole, the acclaimed English writer and broadcaster who has sold ten million books and had a string of her novels turned into TV dramas, and Canadian bestseller Linwood Barclay.

Other guests will include South African novelist Belinda Bauer, one of Sweden’s most celebrated crime writers, Arne Dahl.

And Ann Cleeves, the creator of the Shetland novels, will appear to discuss her next book ahead of accompanying a group of fans on a guided tour of Britain’s most northerly outpost.

Cole said: “I’m a big fan of Scotland. I’ve always had a great reception there and I love the rugged beauty of the country as the views are so different from the rolling countryside of ­England.”