Bloody Scotland: Nesbo leads cast of crime writers

IT’S only just entering its second year, but crime-writing festival Bloody Scotland already seems to have found its feet – and an eager audience.

Norwegian author and musician Jo Nesbo. Picture: Getty
Norwegian author and musician Jo Nesbo. Picture: Getty

The number of events to be held around Stirling this year has increased slightly on last year’s debut tally of 30, and with the three-day festival not due to start until tomorrow, ticket sales are already almost 25 per cent up on last year’s 4,000.

Where 2012’s event concerned itself with names from across the Scottish field, this year will also see two sold-out international events welcoming stars of the genre Jo Nesbø and Lee Child.

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“Bloody Scotland was the brainchild of Alex Gray and Lin Anderson, two Scottish crime writers who attend festivals all over the world,” says the festival’s manager Dom Hastings.

“The story goes that they were sitting drinking Prosecco in Harrogate [at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival], and wondering why there was no similar festival in Scotland. A few glasses later they had the idea to call it Bloody Scotland, because everyone would be talking about coming up to ‘bloody Scotland’.”

Hastings continues: “You can trace Scottish crime writing all the way back to Conan Doyle, through to someone like William McIlvanney, who’s often credited as being the godfather of what’s referred to as ‘Tartan Noir’, and we really do try to cover all of this. We have a panel looking at Robert Louis Stevenson, we have William McIlvanney appearing, and then a panel called Fresh Blood featuring three debut writers we’re showcasing: Malcolm MacKay, Lisa Ballantyne and Matt Bendoris.”

As well as appearances by established Scots writers including Val McDermid, Stuart MacBride, Quintin Jardine and Denise Mina, there will also be workshops and a live cookery demonstration from Caro Ramsay, crime writer and author of The Killer Cookbook.

“We want to grow internationally,” says Hastings. “We want to bring the very best international writers to Scotland and take more Scottish authors to the world.”

• The Bloody Scotland festival is in various venues, Stirling, from tomorrow until 15 September.