Newcastle Noir in Springtime!

NN word cloudAnother year has passed…and this blog is two years old!  The Nordic Noir trend seems to be in its middle ages, new TV shows being made as we patiently wait, filling our time with tv shows from other places with similar elements –  dvds, box sets and books a plenty, not all new but some newly translated. We even had the marvelous Sophie Grabol over last summer for a stint at the Edinburgh International Festival in the third of the James plays.

We started the year with a small Nordic Noir New Year celebration followed by a Nordic Noir Burns Supper.  It would seem that as a group of like minded friends we can work the Nordic and Montalbano theme into any social occasion! Montalbano is easy, nice food and something that evokes sunshine.  The Nordic is a bit more challenging but the social commentary element is ever present!

Sheila reading Tam O Shanter at the Nordic Noir Burns Supper

Sheila reading Tam O Shanter at the Nordic Noir Burns Supper

Nordicana 3 is happening surprisingly early and at very short notice in June this year and fans of Nordic Noir also have Shetland Noir and Bloody Scotland to look forward to later in the year.  Newcastle Noir has just finished.

The event in Newcastle was really friendly, informative and interesting. It grew  out of a one day event held there last year, the audience expressed an interest in repeating the experience so this year year a two day event was held.  There was a large choice of panels and workshops to attend, a guided walk and a great selection of books to buy provided by Forum Books from Corbridge in Northumberland.

The Lit & Phil library, venue for Newcastle Noir 2015

The Lit & Phil library, venue for Newcastle Noir 2015

The panel on Crime in Translation was very informative.  Present were Dominique Manotti and her translator from French to English Ros Schwartz.  Dominique Manotti is a professor of 19th century economic history. Her latest book is called Escape and explores the dark places in Euorpean political history.  Ros Schwartz is a translator and specialist in cross-cultural corporate communications.  Also present were Ragnar Jonasson and his translator from Icelandic to English,   Quentin Bates. Ragnar Jonasson’s first novel to be published in English is the recently released Snowblind. His work has already been translated into German and he himself has translated from English to Icelandic the work of Agatha Christie.   Quentin Bates as well as translating from Icelandic to English is also a crime writer.  There was a lot of great discussion particularly about translating nuance, slang and cursing and the mechanics of working together.

From Page to Screen to Page panel

From Page to Screen to Page panel

The Page to Screen to Page panel was very interesting.  Erin Kelly spoke about the novelisation of Broadchurch.  Cilla and Rolf Borjlind may be known to fans of Nordic noir as screenwriters on Arne Dahl, The Bridge and the Martin Beck series.  They have also written their own crime series in Sweden called The Grave and The Murders.  They informed us that in Sweden it is quite common for writers to work together in pairs and that they use the wall in their writing space to map out stories,plots and other information they work with while they write.  Christopher Brookmyer’s dry sense of humour is always a treat.  He told us that he is delighted that one of his novels will be released this summer as a computer game.  It will be a female , first person shooter game based on his Bedlam book with main character Heather Quinn voiced by an actress who was in Burnistoun who lends Heather some authentic Scottish colourful language. You can find out more about the game here.

During the the panel  on Northern Landscapes there was a lot of laughter from Luca Veste, Howard Linskey, Nick Quantril, David Mark and Craig Robertson.   Not untypical when you get  five northern men together and always a good sign at a crime festival!  Craig has recently set one of his books , The Last Refuge, in the Faroe Islands. If that is a place you want to explore through reading then it might be a good place to start.   The festival organisers had negotiated a discount at a local eatery which was nearby and the library, built in 1825, where the event was held was amazing. A beautiful old building with friendly staff and a strong community in its members.

Earlier in Spring there was a  conference in Edinburgh of the Nordic Research Network that we attended. Quite a few papers were given about various aspects of Nordic Noir such as ‘The Role of Women in Scottish and Scandinavian Crime Fiction’ by Lorna Hill.


Lorna Hill presenting her paper at the Nordic Research Network conference 2015

Miriam has spoken to some members of the Facebook group over the last while about being a fan of Nordic Noir and may call upon the group for some more opinions soon to feed into her research. If you are interested in being interviewed please let her know.  The visual ethnography  she made at Iceland Noir has been shown at a Publishing Showcase at Stirling University and will be presented at an academic conference around the theme of memory at the end of May.



  1. andylawrence71 · · Reply

    Reblogged this on euro but not trash and commented:
    Members of Stirling’s Nordic Noir group were at the Newcastle Noir festival and they have written an excellent report on the weekend’s talks.

  2. Great round up, Miriam. I enjoyed Newcastle and am really looking forward to Shetland.

  3. Thanks for your comments and reblogs!

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