Irvine Welsh to close Bloody Scotland literary festival

Irvine Welsh will close this year's Bloody Scotland crime writing festival.
Irvine Welsh will close this year's Bloody Scotland crime writing festival.
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Irvine Welsh will close this year’s Bloody Scotland crime writing festival with a talk on his latest novel.

The Trainspotting author, 59, will discuss Dead Men’s Trousers, which reunites the main characters from his most famous works and sees the demise of one of the best known.

Welsh is among a host of household names who will take part in Scotland’s seventh annual international crime writing festival in Stirling in September.

Others include Val Mcdermid, Chris Brookmyre and Denise Mina, who was named the first female winner of the prestigious McIIvanney prize for Scottish crime book of the year at last year’s event.

Bob McDevitt, Director of Bloody Scotland, said: “We are closing the festival with a truly global Scottish superstar in Irvine Welsh.

“Some would say that Irvine is not, traditionally, a ‘crime writer’ but there is plenty of drug dealing, bent coppers, GBH and robbery to justify the tag.

“His books have plenty of grit, and crime. His new novel, Dead Men’s Trousers, is very much a return to the Trainspotting cast, and one of them doesn’t make it to the end.”

The programme for this year’s festival was launched in Stirling by Alexander McCall Smith, best known for his hugely successful No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novels.

The Edinburgh-based novelist, 69, is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the series, which is set in Botswana and features Mma Precious Ramotswe.

McCall Smith, who will be in Botswana when the festival itself takes place, said: “I have always wanted to appear at Bloody Scotland and am glad we have managed to make it work.

“Literary festivals have become a fixed feature of our cultural lives. Bloody Scotland was started comparatively recently but has already established itself as one of the most popular.

“It is very important for a festival, if it really wants to make its presence felt, to have some particular selling point – and there has proved to be a big appetite for crime.

“I’m delighted to be a part of it because I don’t really see myself as a crime writer – compared with my friend and neighbour Ian Rankin, who is the real McCoy.

“My No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series deals with crime although my books never involve any serious crimes. But it’s a broad church and there is a place for all of it.”

Bloody Scotland each year attracts some of the biggest names in crime fiction to Stirling and this year’s festival is expected to be the biggest yet, with an international line-up from 14 countries.

The gala opening will take place on 21 September, when the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year will be presented.

Mina and McDermid will then lead a torchlit procession through the city, followed by a performance from the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers – a group of crime writer musicians including Doug Johnstone, Mark Billingham, Brookmyre and McDermid.