In the Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling, a packed crowd eagerly awaited the announcement of the winner of the Scottish Crime Book of the Year. Chair of the Judges, Craig Sisterton announced the winner as a huge round of applause broke out.
Liam McIlvanney’s The Quaker is set in Glasgow in 1969. In the grip of the worst winter for years, the city is brought to its knees by a killer whose name fills the streets with fear: the Quaker.
In 2016 the prize was renamed in memory of Liam’s father, William McIlvanney, who is often referred to as the Godfather of Tartan Noir and who once described Bloody Scotland on the BBC as ‘so friendly, so supportive I was honestly overwhelmed.’
The judges of the McIlvanney Prize this year were Craig Sisterson, Alison Flood, and comedian, Susan Calman who said of the winner:
‘The Quaker was, for me, the stand out book from the longlist. It’s one of those novels that as soon as I finished it, I looked forward to reading it again. Not only did I love the evocative recreation of Glasgow but the characters created were refreshing and surprising. It was such a pleasure to read.’
Denise Mina, winner of the McIlvanney Prize last year, handed over the engraved decanter and a cheque for £1000. The award recognises excellence in Scottish crime writing and includes nationwide promotion in Waterstones. It is presented annually at the Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival in Stirling.
Following the ceremony guests formed a torchlight procession (with Bloody Scotland branded umbrellas at the ready) through the streets of Stirling led by Val McDermid, Denise Mina and Liam McIlvanney – winner of the McIlvanney Prize 2018.
The 2018 winner was kept under wraps until the ceremony itself. The other finalists included Lin Anderson with Follow the Dead (Macmillan); Chris Brookmyre with Places in the Darkness (Orbit) and Charles Cumming with The Man Between (Harper Collins).
Previous winners of the Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award are Denise Mina with The Long Drop 2017, Chris Brookmyre with Black Widow 2016, Craig Russell with The Ghosts of Altona in 2015, Peter May with Entry Island in 2014, Malcolm Mackay with How A Gunman Says Goodbye in 2013 and Charles Cumming with A Foreign Country in 2012.