Stirling in Scotland is a pretty long way from where I live, but this fabulous new crime writing festival was well worth taking the seven hour train journey from my home to the Stirling Highland Hotel and immersing myself in the activities of Bloody Scotland 2013 for a few days. This was the second year of this new but fabulously organised crime writing festival, and my first visit to both it and Stirling.
And what a treat I was in for.
The festival began on Friday 13th September with three wonderful sessions held in the magnificent Albert Halls. Firstly, Quintin Jardine opened the festival sharing tales from the dark side with festival co-founders Lin Anderson and Alex Gray.
The second event followed, with Val McDermid, interviewed by Christine Hamilton, in a session entitled ‘Can You Sleep at Night?’ and sponsored by The Open University in Scotland. During the interview Val McDermid shared how she still feels ambitious, that she still strives to write better books, and she enjoys reading books that make her think about her craft, mentioning Margaret Atwood and Kate Atkinson as two of those writers that she enjoys to read.
Mark Billingham and Chris Brookmyre closed the evening’s events with the most hilarious, sweary and laugh-till-you-cry session. Through their quick-paced banter and sparky anecdotes they gave the audience a glimpse into the world of a crime writer – their working habits, their (other) festival horror stories and the interesting reader emails they get, from the complements and the complaints through to the downright scary! The memory of Mark Billingham reading from his novel as Chris Brookmyre performed modern dance across the stage behind him will stay with me for a long time to come!
Then it was back up the hill to the gorgeous Stirling Highland Hotel, to catch up with friends in the bar and plan which sessions to attend the next day …
[hop on over to www.bloodyscotland.com to check out the early bird offers for Bloody Scotland 2014]
- Scottish News: Bloody Scotland a ‘huge success’ (acadvertiser.co.uk)
- World famous authors descend on Stirling for crime writing festival Bloody Scotland (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- Bloody Scotland Q and A Session With Lin Anderson – Mark Billingham And Alex Gray (theresbeenamurder.wordpress.com)