Granite Noir – A Northern Focus

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Some of the most celebrated talent from the Nordic Noir scene will join Scotland’s own crime authors for a new Aberdeen based  crime writing festival Granite Noir.

The festival will welcome some of the brightest and best writers from the Nordic Noir genre, including Norway’s Gunnar Staalesen, Finland’s Kati Heikkapelto, Sweden’s Kristina Ohlsson and Thomas Rydahl from Denmark.

APA Chief Executive Jane Spiers said: “We’re delighted to be bringing masters of the Nordic Noir genre to Aberdeen for Granite Noir. Over three days we’ll pay homage to the wealth of talent from Scotland and Scandinavia, delving into the ‘Northern Phenomenon’ and what makes the genre so compelling.

“Our programme is designed to cater for crime novel enthusiasts right down the line to those just discovering Noir. We hope to see people approaching the festival programme with a spirit of adventure – come along to see your favourite authors in action, and stick around to discover something new and exciting.”

Events fall into seven categories: Most Wanted (headline events); In Conversation sessions; Nordic Noir; North-east Noir, Little Criminals (family events); Crimewatch (film screenings) and Granite Noir Workshops.

The Saturday events also include Pantsers Versus Planners – a frank discussion with authors Chris Brookmyre, Kati Heikkapelto, Doug Johnstone and Kate London. The subject matter? When writing a novel, is it better to plan meticulously, or fly by the seat of your pants and see where the story takes you?

Saturday evening will bring The Customs of the Country, in conversation with Bloody Scotland co-founder and director Gordon J Brown and Iceland Noir festival co-founder Quentin Bates. Hot Scandi Crime with Thomas Enger and Thomas Rydahl will put the spotlight on those Scandi Noir authors and their work, and Nordic Noir event Meet Sweden’s Queen of Crime will hone in on beloved Swedish author Kristina Ohlsson, famed for both her crime fiction and children’s books.

The final day of Granite Noir will host North East Noir, in conversation with Claire MacLeary and Clio Gray, followed by Challenging Conventions with Antii Tuomainen and Russel D McLean, two accomplished authors who aren’t afraid to break the rules. Crime with a Social Conscience will be led by writers Kati Kiekkapelto and Eva Dolan, both talented authors who are so adept at weaving controversial social issues through their thrilling mysteries that you never spot the join.

A film screening of Cold Hearts will take place at Belmont Filmhouse, with an exclusive conversation and audience Q&A held with the author of the novel that inspired the film, Gunnar Staalesen himself.

Granite Noir’s closing event, Noir at the Bar, will also take place at The Belmont Filmhouse, as an informal gathering of festival and local talent for a night of readings and hi-jinks in the bar, with an appearance by Gunnar Staalesen. The format for this event originated in Philadelphia and has sprung up around the world to become an international phenomenon. Anything could happen – guests are likely to hear new work, readings from published novels, maybe even a song or two! It’s the perfect chance to get up close and personal with some of your favourite writers in a relaxed setting.

Other events taking place as part of the festival will be a special edition of A Play, A Pie and A Pint at The Lemon Tree. Dirt Under the Carpet is a work by award-winning playwright Rona Munro, who was born in Aberdeen and has written extensively for stage, film, radio and television. Most recently, Munro wrote The James Plays. An exhibition of new photographs will be installed throughout Aberdeen as part of a collaboration between Granite Noir and Spectra festival.   It will feature images of secret and hidden parts of Aberdeen. The second will be an exhibition of old Wanted Posters from the archive in the cafe/bar at Belmont Filmhouse and in 17 on Belmont Street.

Throughout the weekend of Granite Noir there will be opportunities to take part in The Seventh Door: a free, self-guided immersive walk. A voice will lead walkers through Aberdeen with a story that travels from the docks to the Music Hall, via six doorways – portals to the past, present and future that suggest the city might not be quite as it seems. This event is part of the Music Hall’s Stepping Out project and is written by APA Associate Artists Maya Chowdry and Sarah Hymas.

Belmont Filmhouse will also host two Crimewatch screenings after the festival closer, on Monday 27th and Tuesday 28th, of Icelandic and Swedish chillers Jar City and Easy Money both adapted from Scandinavian novels.

I saved the best news for last there will even be a special edition beer available throughout the festival – Granite Noir IPA – a black IPA from Fierce Beers!

The full Granite Noir programme can be viewed here.

If you miss Noir at the Bar, Aberdeen you will have another chance to attend Edinburgh Noir at the Bar on 8 February at The Wash Bar, Edinburgh, regular Noir at the Bar events also run in Glasgow.


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