The finalists for both prizes led a torchlit procession from Stirling Castle to the Albert Halls on 15 September 2022 where Arusa Qureshi revealed the winner of the Bloody Scotland Debut Prize to be Tariq Ashkanani with Welcome to Cooper (Thomas & Mercer) and Ayo Onatade revealed the winner of the McIlvanney Prize to be Alan Parks with May God Forgive (Canongate).
Ayo Onatade, chair of the McIlvanney Prize judges described May God Forgive as:
‘A terrific continuation of Alan Parks police procedural “month’ series. May God Forgive is every bit as entertaining, gritty, darkly humorous and steeped in the grimy underbelly of Glasgow as the previous books. A fantastic book with an intriguing cast of characters that not only keeps to a tight timeframe, but is fast, hard, edgy and thought provoking. 1970s Glasgow has never been so thoroughly invoked. A truly gripping read.’
May God Forgive is the fifth outing for Alan Parks’ Glasgow detective Harry McCoy and sees a desperate search for two kidnapped boys. Parks was also a finalist for The McIlvanney Prize in 2021. Prior to becoming an award-winning crime writer he worked with Lloyd Cole and the Commotions and various other bands first at London Records and then at Warner Music. His debut novel, Bloody January, was published in December 2017.
Arusa Qureshi, chair of the judges for The Bloody Scotland Debut Prize described Welcome to Cooper as:
‘Well-structured, bleak and just the right amount of disturbing. Tariq Ashkanani has crafted a terrific debut that doesn’t provide an obvious hero but instead, draws out the flaws and bad choices of its central characters. This provides a sense of discomfort that stays with you throughout but that’s where the beauty lies. I found myself going back and re-reading once I’d finished to make sure I had every detail right, which I think is the mark of a really clever and riveting story.’
Tariq Ashkanani is a solicitor based in Edinburgh and a dynamic new addition to Scotland’s crime writing roster. His assured US-set debut was the first in a two-book deal with Thomas & Mercer. His second novel Follow Me to the Edge was published in March 2022 and is also set in small town Nebraska.
The Glencairn Glass, the world’s favourite whisky glass, has again sponsored both The McIlvanney Prize and The Bloody Scotland Debut Crime Novel of the Year. The winners were presented with a trophy by Kirsty Nicholson, Design and Marketing Manager at Glencairn Crystal, who said:
“A huge congratulations to Tariq Ashkanani and Alan Parks for winning this year’s awards. It has been a privilege and a delight to once again support these prestigious awards with the Glencairn Glass – both of which are uniquely Scottish – and to celebrate the array of talented writers in the world of Scottish Crime fiction.”
Bloody Scotland, Scotland’s International Crime Writing Festival, takes place in Stirling from 15 to 18 September 2022.