Stirling Council Provost Christine Simpson has hailed another record-breaking Bloody Scotland.
Provost Bloody Scotland

The annual crime writing festival is celebrating a 17 per cent  increase in ticket sales from 2017 for this weekend’s event.

Audience numbers reached 9,985 – up from 8474 tickets sold in 2017.

The Provost helped launch this year’s Bloody Scotland when she spoke at Friday night’s Gala Opening at the Church of the Holy Rude near Stirling Castle.

The Gala Opening saw crime writer Liam McIlvanney crowned winner of the prestigious McIlvanney Prize, which is named in his father’s honour.

Provost Simpson said: “You don’t need to be Inspector Rebus to work out that Bloody Scotland is one of Stirling’s most loved events.

“This year’s Bloody Scotland was the most international festival yet with authors travelling to Stirling from New Zealand, Australia, America, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Iceland, Italy and Spain.

“I was delighted to be present at the Gala Opening on Friday night which saw Liam McIlvanney winning the prestigious McIlvanney Prize, named after his illustrious father.

“It was wonderful to welcome high-profile first timers to Bloody Scotland including TV star Ashley Jensen, Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh and popular BBC foreign correspondent Frank Gardner.

“Bloody Scotland is like all the best works of crime fiction – full of exciting plots, intriguing strangers and all manner of thrilling twists and turns.

“The only disappointment was that Scotland lost to England for only the second time in the annual football match, although hopefully the team will already be plotting revenge for 2019.”

Other highlights of this year’s festival included:

• Top writers Liam McIlvanney, Val McDermid and Denise Mina leading a torchlit procession for over 500 people

• A musical performance by The Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, featuring authors Chris Brookmyre and Val McDermid

• England beating Scotland 6-3 in the writers’ football match

Bloody Scotland helped boost the profile of Stirling as author Ann Cleeves raved about it on Graham Norton’s Radio 2 show and BBC Radio 4 broadcast live from the city.

BBC1’s Reporting Scotland carried bulletins about the Bloody Scotland launch on Friday and Central FM DJ Liam McCann interviewed author Neil Broadfoot about his book No Man’s Land, which features a murder in Stirling.

Festival Director Bob McDevitt said: “As the curtain comes down on yet another record-breaking Bloody Scotland, I'd like to thank all the team at Stirling Council for their continued support and enthusiasm.

“The sun shone and the stars came out. I’ve once again been overwhelmed by the tremendous good humour and bonhomie exuded by crime writers and readers.

“We brought nations together, discussed different genres, drank some gin, sung a few songs and even before the festival was over people were booking hotels and looking forward to next year.

“We engaged with local schools, libraries, hotels and restaurants this year and - after a much-needed rest - we look forward to working to increase that activity for 2019.”

Pictured: Provost Christine Simpson with McIlvanney Prize winner Liam McIlvanney and 2017 winner Denise Mina