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Debut women writers with North links bag Bloody Scotland's top crime writing awards


By Margaret Chrystall

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THE winner of the McIlvanney Prize 2020 for best crime novel of the year is Francine Toon with Pine.

The writer was brought up partly in Sutherland, spent time living in Dornoch and has set her winning novel in a Moray Firth village.

Francine Toon wins McIlvanney Prize.
Francine Toon wins McIlvanney Prize.

The win was announced at this year’s virtual Bloody Scotland crime writing conference earlier this evening (Friday) in Stirling.

Judges for the prestigious McIlvanney Prize for best crime novel of the year were Karen Robinson (Times Crime Club) and James Crawford (author, TV presenter and chair of Publishing Scotland) were chaired by writer and broadcaster Stuart Cosgrove.

Debut novel Pine won McIlvanney Prize and was also on Debut award list.
Debut novel Pine won McIlvanney Prize and was also on Debut award list.

James Crawford described the winning book as ‘an extraordinary novel which stood out because the of the sheer quality of the writing and the dark brooding atmosphere of the remote rural Scottish village in which it is set.

‘The book merges the supernatural with real crime in a very memorable way and brings an exciting new talent to Scottish crime writing.’

The finalists of the prestigious prize included established names Ambrose Parry and Doug Johnstone (both of whom were finalists last year) alongside relative newcomer Andrew James Greig.

Debut author Francine Toon had also featured on the Bloody Scotland Debut shortlist.

Debut Prize winner Deborah Masson from Aberdeen.
Debut Prize winner Deborah Masson from Aberdeen.

The winner of the Bloody Scotland Debut Prize was also announced at the opening of the Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival tonight as Aberdeen-based writer Deborah Masson with Hold Your Tongue, also set in Aberdeen.

The prize was judged by Lin Anderson, author and co-founder of Bloody Scotland, Ewan Wilson from Waterstones and Kenny Tweedale from sponsors the Glencairn Glass.

Bloody Scotland announced its winners on opening night of virtual weekend of events.
Bloody Scotland announced its winners on opening night of virtual weekend of events.

The judges described Hold Your Tongue as ‘a well written, fast paced and gritty thriller with a strong female protagonist, who will stop at nothing to find the killer’.

Both winners are debuts. Both are published by Transworld, who coincidentally also published last year’s winner Manda Scott. It is the first year that the Glencairn Glass.

The crime writing festival Bloody Scotland events tonight, on Saturday and Sunday are free to watch here: bloodyscotland.com/watch


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