The competition is just murder at Bloody Scotland

The McIlvanney Prize – Bloody Scotland’s annual prize awarded to the best Scottish Crime book of the year – is now open for entries.

It provides Scottish crime writing with recognition and aims to raise the profile and prestige of the genre as a whole. Scottish roots are a must for competition applications: authors must either be born or raised in Scotland, have lived there for six years or more or their books are substantially set there. Only fiction is eligible.

The prize was renamed in memory of William McIlvanney, often described as the Godfather of Tartan Noir, in 2016.

Eligible novels must have been first published in the UK between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019. Full details at

New this year we have a debut prize which 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 Mukerjee.

The McIlvanney Prize itself will be judged by Alison Flood, books reporter for The Guardian and a former news reporter for The Bookseller; James Crawford, chair of Publishing Scotland and presenter of BBC series, Scotland from the Sky and Stuart Cosgrove, writer and broadcaster who was formerly a senior executive at Channel 4.

The longlist is expected to comprise up to 12 books which will be announced after the organisers meeting in June 2019 at which point finished copies will be sent to each of the three judges.

The winner of The McIlvanney Prize will receive a cheque for £1000 and a new prize of £500 will be awarded for the Scottish Crime Debut of the Year

Bloody Scotland is Scotland’s International Crime Writing Festival, unique in that it was set up by a group of Scottish crime writers – Alex Gray and Lin Anderson, later joined by Gordon Brown and Craig Robertson – in 2012. Abir Mukerjee replaced Alex Gray when she stepped down from the board in 2018. This year the Festival will take place from 20-22 September 2019. Full information at

The 2018 programme will be launched on Monday 3 June in Stirling and Tuesday 4 June in London.

Previous winners of the Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award are Liam McIlvanney with The Quaker in 2018, Denise Mina with The Long Drop in 2017, Chris Brookmyre with Black Widow in 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.

The initial longlisting is handled by over 70 crime fiction readers and booksellers from all over Scotland overseen by an organising committee and the longlist is then handed to the panel of judges to decide on the eventual winner.

Longlisted titles are promoted in bookshops throughout Scotland in the period between the announcement at the end of August and the presentation on 20 September 2019.

Entries (PDFs of the book sent by email to Director, Bob McDevitt with McIlvanney Prize Entry 2019 plus the book title in the header) should be submitted by 5pm on Friday 26 April 2019.