Best-selling crime writer Alex Gray created the Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival with fellow author, Lin Anderson, in order to celebrate the best of crime writing and to support aspiring crime writers.
As the Festival celebrates 8 years Alex reveals her debut selections for this years New Crimes panel and reflects on the success stories which have emerged from it.
These include Abir Mukherjee (‘lovely to see the trajectory of Abir’s writing career since then’), Felicia Yap (‘blend of futuristic novel and contemporary crime made it quite unique’) and Olga Wotjas (‘crime and humour are hard to combine but I laughed out loud several times’).
On Saturday 21 September four new crime writers will be taking the stage in Stirling all of which she praises for ‘how well the stories stuck in my mind and, more importantly, the superb quality of writing’:
Freefallby US author, Jessica Barry (Harvill Secker) was just one of those thrillers that creates a lasting impression long after finishing the story, a crime debut by a writer previously known for romantic fiction. Quite a leap!
Close to the Edge by Toby Faber (Muswell Press) was a story I thought I would not like, given that much of the setting is in the tunnels of the London Underground and I am horribly claustrophobic. Yet it kept me reading and I loved the setting and characters in equal measure.
Past Life by Dominic Nolan(Headline) combines Police Procedural with a harrowing account of one woman’s amnesia, not a tale for the faint-hearted and never falling into the trap of a predictable outcome but a book that grabs you and refuses to let go till the very end.
The Rumour by Lesley Kara (Bantam Press) takes what might be considered a small thing, a mere rumour, and build it into a thrilling story. The Rumour might be compared to the recent BBC drama, The Victim, but its resemblance is pure coincidence, just showing the zeitgeist prevailing right now.
None of the above books are eligible for the new McIlvanney Prize for debut fiction – which requires authors to be born in Scotland live in Scotland or set their books there – so there is still all to play for.
Entries for the prize close at 5pm on Friday 26 April. PDFs of the book (published between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019) should be sent by email to Director, Bob McDevitt with McIlvanney Prize Entry 2019 plus the book title in the header. The winner will be selected from the highest scoring titles in the first round and judged by the board of Bloody Scotland, including crime writers Lin Anderson, Craig Robertson, Gordon Brown and Abir Mukherjee.
A new Scottish debut panel will precede Alex Gray’s New Crimes event so the morning of Saturday 21 September at Bloody Scotland is the place to be for discovering new crime fiction.The Scottish debut line up will be revealed after the programme launch on 3 June (in Stirling) and 4 June (in London).
This year’s Bloody Scotland Festival will take place from 20-22 September 2019. Full information at www.bloodyscotland.com