Newcastle Noir 2016


Victoria-WatsonVictoria Watson is a copy-editor, proofreader and Creative Writing tutor.

She runs three weekly writing groups in Newcastle and North Tyneside as well as one-off events. Members of her writing groups have had their work published in Thrills ‘n’ Chills (Wild Wolf Publishing, 2014) and Blood from the Quill (Wild Wolf Publishing, 2016).

You can visit Victoria’s website for more information on her business, Elementary V Watson at

Today she’s talking to about this year’s Newcastle Noir.


As a Geordie writer, I should have been at Newcastle Noir from its inception but I’m embarrassed to admit that I was slow on the uptake. However, after my experience this year, it’s safe to say that I will be one of Newcastle Noir’s regular attendees from now on.

Following an opening evening with Ann Cleaves in conversation at the historic Lit and Phil, the panel-packed two days went by in a heady blur of fangirling, friendship and fun. As a voracious reader, it was an absolute joy to see a range of panels in my hometown. It was great to hear writers like Mari Hannah, Sophie Hannah and Val McDermid talk on a range of topics, including football, politics and child rearing. However, the biggest joy for me was being introduced to authors that I haven’t read before. The Icelandic/Nordic panel on Saturday morning brought authors Sólveig Pálsdóttir, Lilja Sigurđardóttir, Yrsa Sigurđardóttir and Antti Tuomainen to the Lit and Phil. Although two of these engaging authors are yet to be translated into English, I hope to read their work very soon.


Photo credit Ewa Sherman

Highlights for me were the Supernatural panel featuring the ever-charming Alexandra Sokoloff, the erudite AK Benedict, newcomer Lucy Cameron and Oscar de Muriel, whose work sounds very intriguing. The Thriller panel was utterly fascinating thanks to the panel of Craig Robertson, Yusuf Toporov, Michael Grothaus and Paul Hardisty. The New Blood panel featuring Graham Smith, AA Dhand, Col Bury and Alison Baillie-Taylor was also massively inspiring.

I found the interview between Élmer Mendoza and Mauricio Montiel Figueiras very interesting as it was conducted through a translator.


A Plethora of Crime writers…

One of the many joys of Newcastle Noir is that the majority of panel members are around for much of the weekend and are really happy to chat. Newcastle Noir has attracted some massive names but it’s still an intimate, friendly festival. Special mention must go to the organisers of the event, namely Jacky Collins, Ariane Bogain and Kay Easson of the Lit and Phil. I’d also like to thank the volunteers – all of whom were tremendously welcoming.

Newcastle Noir is really special. Not only does it include spin-off events including writing tours and workshops but it draws an impressive array of literary stars to the Toon. On a weekend where the town was full of raucous hen and stag parties, Newcastle Noir proved that there is so much more to our city than Geordie Shore-style antics. From what I hear, plans are already afoot for Newcastle Noir 2017, get it in your diary!