Glasgow author claims prestigious McIlvanney Prize

Crime writer Alan Parks has claimed the prestigious McIlvanney Prize for a novel set in Glasgow that judges described as a “truly gripping” read.

Parks won the honour for May God Forgive – the fifth book in his Glasgow-set series about detective Harry McCoy.

It is the latest success for the author, whose debut novel Bloody January published in December 2017 was shortlisted for the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, while February’s Son was nominated for an Edgar Award.

May God Forgive tracks the desperate search for two kidnapped boys.

Glasgow author Alan Parks. Picture: Kevin J Thomson

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Parks claimed the award after also being selected as a finalist for the McIlvanney Prize in 2021. Prior to becoming an award-winning crime writer, he worked with Lloyd Cole and the Commotions and various other bands first at London Records and then at Warner Music.


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The McIlvanney Prize recognises excellence in Scottish crime writing, includes a prize of £1000 and nationwide promotion in Waterstones.

Ayo Onatade, chair of the McIlvanney Prize, said the panel of judges had described May God Forgive as “a terrific continuation of Alan Parks police procedural ‘month’ series”.

She said: “May God Forgive is every bit as entertaining, gritty, darkly humorous and steeped in the grimy underbelly of Glasgow as the previous books. A fantastic book with an intriguing cast of characters that not only keeps to a tight timeframe, but is fast, hard, edgy and thought provoking – 1970s Glasgow has never been so thoroughly invoked. A truly gripping read.”

Novelist Liam McIlvanney had been among those in the running for the crime writing prize named in memory of his father.

Ambrose Parry and Louise Welsh also made the shortlist for the McIlvanney Prize 2022.

Edinburgh solicitor Tariq Ashkanani was separately crowned as the winner of the Bloody Scotland Debut Prize for Welcome to Cooper – a US-set novel that was the first in a two-book deal with Thomas & Mercer.


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