Media Release: University’s ‘Bloody Scotland’ masterclasses will inspire, says leading crime fiction writer

Ann Cleeves

AWARD-winning writer Ann Cleeves says the University of Stirling’s masterclasses in crime fiction on 14 September will be a great opportunity for budding writers to gain inspiration.

Tickets are selling fast for the event which has been designed to help aspiring crime-writers develop their talent, technique and professional knowledge. The event is part of Scotland’s first international crime writing festival Bloody Scotland – sponsored by leading international accountancy firm Mazars – held in venues across Stirling from 14-16 September.

Ann Cleeves will talk about the craft of crime writing during her keynote speech at the University event. She said: “Everyone will have a great time meeting up with other authors at the workshops. Having a day to focus on writing will trigger new ideas and give an impetus to the work.”

Participants will have the chance to take part in workshops on shaping a dramatic story line, creating atmospheric settings and developing convincing characters. They will also be able to gain expert advice from a panel of agents and publishers including Rachel Rayner, commissioning editor of Transworld; Maxine Hitchcock, editorial director at Simon & Schuster; Allan Guthrie, literary agent at Jenny Brown Associates, publisher at Blasted Heath and author; and Claire Squires, director, Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication.

Dr Paula Morris, lecturer in Creative Writing at the University and award-winning novelist, said: “Whether you’re trying your hand at crime fiction for the first time or already working on a novel, our practical classes – taught by the university’s creative writing staff – will help you hone your skills and get insights into the fast-changing marketplace.

“Aspiring writers often have great premises for novels but need some help refining their technique – working on the art and craft of their fiction. The masterclasses are designed to help sharpen skills in storytelling, with a particular focus on character, setting and narrative shaping. This is a great opportunity for writers to sample the kind of intensive, practical creative writing class usually only available to students on postgraduate degree courses.”

Allan Guthrie says literary agents are always on the look out for the next big thing. He added: “From Ian Rankin to Val McDermid, Christopher Brookmyre to Stuart MacBride, Scotland has punched above its weight when delivering number one best-selling crime writers. Crime and thriller remains a buoyant genre in the market both in physical books and increasingly in ebook and there seems to be no end to the public appetite for new authors.”

Tickets for the University of Stirling Bloody Scotland masterclasses are priced £75/£65 concessions, available from The cost includes refreshments and lunch.

Bestselling authors featuring as part of the Bloody Scotland festival include Chris Brookmyre, Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and William McIlvanney. A mix of workshops, meet the author sessions, seminars, debates and readings make up the three day programme.


Notes to editor:

Ann Cleeves

Ann’s short film for Border TV, Catching Birds, won a Royal Television Society Award and she has twice been short listed for a CWA Dagger Award – for short story The Plater, and the Dagger in the Library award.

Ann was the first winner of the prestigious Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award of the Crime Writers’ Association for Raven Black, the first volume of her Shetland Quartet. Raven Black was shortlisted for the Martin Beck award for best translated crime novel in Sweden in 2007. Her books have been translated into 20 languages and her latest book is The Glass Room, a new Vera Stanhope novel; two series of Vera, the ITV adaptation starring Brenda Blethyn and David Leon, have been broadcast in the UK, and sold worldwide.

University of Stirling

The Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication celebrates its 30th year in 2012. It has a global reputation for its postgraduate degrees in publishing, its research activities, and its industry links, with alumni including the Chief Executive of Publishing Scotland, the director of Faber Factory, and the Group Sales Director for Taylor & Francis. Its current research projects include the AHRC-funded The Book Unbound, which explores publishing in the digital environment.

Creative Writing at the University of Stirling offers workshop-based undergraduate classes and newly launched MLitt (poetry/fiction/creative nonfiction) and PhD programmes, taught by award-winning writers Kathleen Jamie and Paula Morris. Recent events include readings and masterclasses by Andrew O’Hagen, DBC Pierre and Bill Manhire.

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Contact: Katy Whitelaw