Yes, it’s that time of year again, I really can’t believe it has come around so quickly, but tomorrow I shall be heading up north for what is now the ninth time to attend the 2015 Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival.
I have some amazing activities lined up, a few dinners and party invites to take up, and I’m looking forward to catching up with the many friends I have there that I only get to see when the festival comes around.
I’m looking forward to going even more than usual this year however. Wearing my Crimesquad.com hat I will be interviewing Hakan Nesser & Arnaldur Indridason for articles to be posted over there so I’m ridiculously squeeing, and at the same time I’m terribly nervous. When the interviews go up I’ll add some links, or alternatively if you haven’t already, make sure you add CrimeSquad.com to your favourites. It’s a fantastic site I love being a part of, and since it’s recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, there is an absolute wealth of reviews to be discovered in its archives.
Now I’m off for some last minute packing and prep. Do stop me and and say hello if you are up at the festival this year, you’ll more than likely find me in the bar…..
This is what the festival have to say about the competition…..
The Great Agatha Christie Inspires our Short Story Competition
This year marks 125 years since Agatha Christie was born, known world-wide as one of the most well-loved crime writers of all time, one who had a penchant for poison and created unforgettably charismatic sleuths.
We wanted to celebrate her legacy with our short story competition this year- we’re inviting stories inspired by Christie and her writing.
First prize is £1000 and a festival pass to Bloody Scotland 2015.
Submissions of up to 3,000 words of unpublished work are invited from new and unpublished writers from all over the world, but entries must be written in English. Writers are welcome to submit as many stories as they wish, but there is an entry fee of £10 for each story submitted. The deadline for submissions is midnight on Monday 27th July 2015.
A shortlist of five to six stories will be selected by a judging panel comprising of University of Stirling postgraduate students, authors, booksellers and publishers, which will then be made available for an online public vote on Saturday 1st August 2015. This public vote will end on Friday 21st August. Winners will be announced during the Bloody Scotland Festival 2015, 11th – 13th September in Stirling, Scotland
Terms and Conditions & Details of how to enter can be found here
May is always a busy month for crime fiction fans, and 2015 is no exception, with not one, not two, but THREE festivals for crime fans to pick and choose between. Kicking of the month in fantastic style is Newcastle Noir, returning for its second year, the festival has expanded from one to two days in length, and has this week announced this cracking programme of events.
Saturday 2nd May
10-12noon| Writing Workshop with Christiana Gregoriou, Bea Davenport and Barbara Nadel.
11am-12pm Classic Crime Readings with Kay Hepplewhite
11am-1pm Murderous Newcastle Walking Tour with Pat Lowery, Newcastle City Guide. Begins at the Castle Keep, ends at the Lit & Phil. .
12.30-1.30pm Panel discussion: Northern Landscapes with authors Howard Linskey, Nick Quantrill and David Mark Craig Robertson, chaired by Luca Veste
2.30-3.30pm Panel discussion: Writers in Prison with Mari Hannah, Russ Litten and Alexandra Sokoloff, chaired by Louise Ridley
4.30-5.30pm Panel discussion: Award winning crime-writers Martyn Waites and Mark Billingham in conversation
6.30-7.30pm Panel discussion: From page to screen to page with Cilla and Rolf Börjlind, Erin Kelly and Christopher Brookmyre
8.30pm-9.30pm Panel discussion: Gangsters & Gangs with Philip J. Howard, David McCaffery and Steve Wraith, chaired by Charlotte Bilby
Sunday 3rd May 10-12noon Writing Workshop with Christiana Gregoriou, William Ryan, Bea Davenport and Barbara Nadel.
11am-1pm Murderous Newcastle Walking Tour with Pat Lowery, Newcastle City Guide. Begins at the Castle Keep, ends at the Lit & Phil.
11.30am-12.30pm Panel discussion: Crime in Translation with Dominique Mannotti, Roz Schwartz and Ragnar Jónasson, chaired by Jacky Collins
1.30-2.30pm Victorian Villanies with Gail-Nina Anderson
3.30-4.30pm Panel discussion: Legal Eagles with Peter Murphy, Steve Cavanagh and Clare Donoghue, chaired by Ayo Onatade
5.30-6.30pm Panel discussion: Crime Authors/Creative writers with William Ryan, Bea Davenport and Barbara Nadel, chaired by M. J. MacGrath
7.30-8.30pm Panel discussion: New Blood with Eva Dolan, Kati Hiekkapelto and Susan Wilkins, chaired by Sarah Ward
Newcastle Noir is based at Newcastle’s Literary & Philosophical Society (The Lit & Phil) Britain’s largest independent library outside London, and celebrates the best in crime fiction.
Thanks to Iceland Noir for the heads up on what looks like a fabulous one day crime fiction festival coming to the south-east in March. Further information can now be found here:- dealnoir.wordpress.com
If you happen to be in the south-east (of England, that is, not the south-east of Iceland) in March, then check out Deal Noir, a small but beautifully crafted one-day crime fiction event taking place on the 28th of March in the coastal town of Deal, overlooking the Goodwin Sands.
It has been organised by those criminal stalwarts Susan Moody and Mike Linane, and the line-up for the day looks undeniably tasty.
Iceland Noir takes a break in 2015, and moves over to Shetland for the year.
Shetland Arts and Promote Shetland are delighted to announce that Shetland Noir, in association with Iceland Noir, will take place at Mareel from Friday 13 November until Sunday 15 November 2015.
The Crime Fiction Festival will be the first of its kind ever to be held in Shetland and the headliners will be: Denise Mina, Stuart MacBride and Alex Gray from Scotland, and Arne Dahl, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Hakan Nesser, representing the Nordic countries. Further writers will be announced in 2015.
The festival will be centred in Mareel, and a festival ticket, on sale now via Shetland Box Office, will ensure access to all of the panel events, and to a choice of fringe activities which will include specialist bus tours and other activities, to be announced in 2015. Further information about Shetland Noir, in association with Iceland Noir, is available on the festival website www.shetlandnoir.com and festival tickets can be purchased from Shetland Box Office in Mareel & Islesburgh, over the phone on 01595 745 555, and online at mareel.org and shetlandboxoffice.org.
Reykjavik in November is dark. That’s probably the first thing you notice. I’m used to getting up before it’s properly light, but usually the dawn starts to spread as I take the dogs out, check the livestock and get my breakfast. Here the blackness is total as the alarm goes off, still pitch over coffee and bacon, and treacherous on the walk from Hotel Holt to the Nordic House across a bog of noisy ducks and sulphurous smells.
And yet somehow I don’t mind. I’m here for the second Iceland Noir, the newest kid on the crime fiction festival block and fast becoming one of my favourites. The festival has grown, now filling two days with panels and signings rather than just one. It’s still organised by the tireless Quentin Bates, Ragnar Jónasson and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, aided this year by Lilja Sigurðardóttir. And what a great show they put on for us.
As might be expected from a crime fiction festival set in Iceland, the influence of Nordic writers and writing featured in many panels. Topics included Nordic Influences, Works in Translation and my favourite (perhaps biased here) Is Scotland Nordic? (answer – no). All the panels were well attended and the discussions lively. I would liked to have attended them all – something that would have been possible as they are run one after the other and with enough time in between to have a quick coffee (and pop outside for that rare glimpse of daylight). Alas, technology had other ideas and I missed several re-recording a lunchtime interview after the German journalist’s mini disc recorder decided it didn’t like what I was saying.Photo by murderiseverywhere.blogspot.co.uk
Perhaps the best thing about Iceland Noir though is not the panels but the time between them, when everyone mingles outside the hall, chatting about books, Reykjavik, the endless darkness and a hundred hundred other things. English is the default language, which I find rather humbling. Plenty of Brits make the journey over the North Atlantic – this year’s UK writers included (in no particular order) Peter James, Zoe Sharp, Michael Ridpath, David Hewson, Craig Robertson, Louise Millar, Sarah Ward, Mari Hannah, Susan Moody, and William Ryan – but there was notable home grown talent from Ragnar and the two Sigurðardóttirs, Solveig Palsdottir, Viktor Arnor Ingolfsson and many more whose names stretch my ability to find strange letters on the keyboard. This year saw Swedish author Johan Theorin make the journey, along with Finland’s Antti Tuomainen and Norway’s Vidar Sundstol, and ex-pat American David Swatling came over from Amsterdam with his fascinating tale Calvin’s Head. Truly Iceland is a meeting place of nations.
In addition to the panels, there were a couple of crime writing workshops hosted by William Ryan, and a Reykjavik Crimewalk, guided by Úlfhildur Dagsdóttir, which sadly I missed but everyone seemed to enjoy. Saturday evening everyone piled into an exclusive restaurant housed in an old theatre building for the festival dinner, topped off by a topical crime quiz in which, inevitably, the winning team cheated. It was all very good-natured though, as seems to be the way when a bunch of crime fiction authors and readers get together.
And so the festival closed. Or at least it would have done had not Yrsa Sigurðardóttir organised a coach trip on the Sunday, out to the Snaesfellnes peninsula to visit the places that had inspired her novel ‘My Soul to Take’. The weather (and light) seemed against us as we set off, but magically the clouds rose and the sun came out as we reached the village of Arnastapi. A quick leg-stretch and cliff-top walk, then on to Hellnar. The cloud was still too low to see the glacier, so instead we were taken to a series of volcanic caves straight out of Jules Verne’s epic Journey to the Centre of the Earth. If only we could have come out at Stromboli and not into a chilly arctic wind.
Iceland Noir has grown from its initial start last year, but retains its cosiness and relaxed atmosphere. Sadly it won’t be on in 2015, relinquishing its date in an ever more filled calendar for Shetland Noir. It will be back in 2016 though, and so will I. Even in the darkness Iceland is still a wonderful place.
With a whopping 50+ events (be prepared to make some tough decisions over what you attend) scheduled over the four days, it’s an action packed four days with plenty of time for author interaction.
It’s where I will be from Friday morning, until Sunday lunchtime. If you are heading there come look me up, if I’m not in a panel you’ll most probably find me in the bar. I’ll be the one in the hat. Come say hello.
Coming hot on the heels of CrimeFest and making sure you’ll be in the mood for Crime Story, it’s shaping up to be an A-May-zing May, with a second new Crime festival being announced in the last week, making for three weekends packed with all your crime fiction favourites.
Being launched as part of the larger Brighton Festival which runs from the 3rd to the 25th May, the Dark & Stormy Festival runs over three days from the 23rd to the 25th, and aims to bring you the best of all things crime related.
Dark & Stormy is a brand new UK crime festival, serving up a wicked selection of book, film, music & theatre events. We launch in May 2014, in partnership with Brighton Festival, Brighton Fringe, and Dukes at Komedia, to celebrate and promote this massively popular genre, bringing its fans, creators and stars together for one criminally good and unforgettable weekend.
Our aim is to appeal, not only to the legions of readers who keep crime writers at the top of the international bestseller lists, but also to the huge audiences who flock to watch The Killing and Breaking Bad on TV, Kick Ass and James Bond at the cinema, Max Payne and Grand Theft Auto on their PlayStations, and The Perfect Murder and Emil and the Detectives in the West End.
Sounds like another fantastic opportunity to celebrate crime fiction. So, grab your diaries and blot out this and the following weekends because there’s an unbelievable amount of criminal activity to be shared in.