It is all very exciting. There is a brand new crime writing festival launching in the Granite City this February. We get to go North instead of South to indulge in our crime fiction fandom. Here we go with a general introduction to the festival, more on the Nordic elements in another blog post to follow soon.
Aberdeen will play host to a gripping new book festival with special guests including renowned crime writers Denise Mina and Christopher Brookmyre – and the North-east’s very own crime fiction stalwart Stuart MacBride. The inaugural Granite Noir, from February 24 – 26, will delve into the ‘Northern Phenomenon’, paying homage to the wealth of talent from Scotland and Scandinavia.
In addition to conversations with MacBride, Mina, Brookmyre and others, Granite Noir will welcome Nordic Noir authors who are travelling from every corner of Scandinavia to talk to audiences about their novels and their working methods. Other events will include a free audio walk, film screenings, workshops for adults and kids that delve into the city’s rich archives, and conversations about everything from the nature of evil, to the pleasures – and perils – of spending 40 years with the same character.
The festival is organised by Aberdeen Performing Arts, Belmont Filmhouse and Aberdeen City Council’s Library and Archive, with support from Aberdeen City Council. It is programmed by Lee Randall, formerly of The Scotsman, now a freelance writer and interviewer who regularly appears at book festivals throughout the UK. She was also one of this year’s judges for Bloody Scotland McIlvenney Prize.
Lee said: “Granite Noir is a new addition to the city’s cultural calendar, exploring the enduring appeal of stories that plunge us into the heart of darkness. We’ll train our magnifying glass on location, asking how writers from Scotland and Scandinavia are shaped by the opposing forces of penetrating darkness and white nights, by extremes of weather and the sea’s relentless rhythms.
“We’ll also be looking into what makes Noir so compelling. Is it the chance to play criminal without paying the consequences? The fun of puzzle solving? Or the reliable pleasure of surrendering to a good story well told?”
APA Chief Executive Jane Spiers added: “We’re thrilled to be launching this new festival in the city and we’re particularly proud to be heralding Scottish talent, as well as welcoming some masters of Nordic Noir. Sales of Nordic Noir books are soaring and the genre has also become incredibly popular on television, with programmes such as The Bridge, Wallander and The Killing gaining mass followings.
Inspiration for the festival also comes from the Silver City’s fascinating history, with events drawing on Aberdeen’s rich archive, including exhibits featuring treasure from police archives and a chance to help ‘solve’ an historic crime.
Other events will include a Dark Doric writing workshop and two workshops designed for children who love to draw or write. Research chemist and Agatha Christie fan Dr Kathryn Harkup – who recently hosted A is for Arsenic during Aberdeen’s TechFest – will talk about the famous author’s favourite poisons while guests dine on dainty delicacies – high tea has never been so dangerous!
There will be also be a specially commissioned audio walk created by Music Hall Associate Artists Maya Chowdry and Sarah Hymas. The festival is working in partnership with SPECTRA to create a photography and writing collaboration inspired by the secret parts of Aberdeen, which will become part of both festivals.
The full programme and guest line-up can be found here