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Newcastle Noir

On today’s takeover, Jacky Collins, organiser of Newcastle Noir, tells us about the literary festival that’s bringing international crime writing to the North East for a third year.

Newcastle Noir is a literary festival celebrating the best in contemporary crime writing. The festival, rooted in the North East of England, brings together writers from the region, across Britain, as well as from further afield. Based at Newcastle’s Literary and Philosophical Society (the Lit and Phil to its friends), Britain’s largest independent library outside London, the festival is hosted the first Bank Holiday weekend in May (28-30 April) in an amazing venue.

This annual gathering of crime fiction authors and readers offers events geared to a wide audience including panel discussions, readings, talks and crime writing workshops.

Humble beginnings and anonymous donations

Our festival has grown out of very humble yet distinguished beginnings. In May 2014, three Icelandic crime fiction authors – Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, Ragnar Jonasson and Quentin Bates – generously agreed to come and talk about their work at The Congregational Art Gallery and Café in Rothbury, Northumberland.

That same Bank Holiday weekend, these authors were joined by six more wonderfully supportive UK crime writers – Mari Hannah, Melanie McGrath, Aly Monroe, Zoe Sharp, John Lawton and Samantha Norman – and The Times’ literary critic Barry Forshaw, to celebrate ‘Crime Saturday’ at the Lit and  Phil. During the course of the afternoon the audience was asked if this festival should become an annual event and if so, what should it be called – Newcastle Noir it was! And, as they say, the rest is history…

Subsequently, thanks to the generous support of a grant from the Northern Rock Foundation and an anonymous donation from a French screw making company, we were able to ensure that the festival grew considerably for 2015, with over 30 panellists and moderators, making the first official Newcastle Noir a truly memorable occasion.

The programme of events

Since the outset, we’ve been especially eager to welcome writers from further afield so as to give avid crime readers from the region the opportunity to hear and meet these authors without having to travel great distances. Last year we continued to grow (43 panellists and moderators) and were honoured to welcome Ann Cleeves, who launched NN2016 to a packed house, and our special guests Val McDermid and Sophie Hannah.

We have continued to maintain our links with authors from the Nordic nations with appearances from Gunnar Staalesen, Antti Tuomainen, Kati Hiekkapelto and Lilja Sigurðardóttir. We also initiated the NN Quiz to round off the weekend, where there was fierce competition between authors and festival goers alike. It was so popular that we’ll be finishing off proceedings this year with another battle of criminal minds!

Newcastle Noir was set up with a view promoting top-class crime writing in the region, and as a celebration of this intriguing and increasingly diverse genre. Accordingly, buying a weekend ticket ensures entrance to all panels and the chance to hear all the authors appearing over the weekend. We also include authors in the line-up who were as yet unknown to the general UK crime-reading public, but who are clearly going to become well-known for their writing.

We look forward to extending a tremendously warm Geordie welcome to all those attending Newcastle Noir this year. This year’s line-up includes Mari Hannah, Howard Lynskey, Luca Veste, Lin Anderson and Thomas Enger, and to launch the event on the Friday evening we have the critically acclaimed Denise Mina!

Get involved

So, not only are we mad for crime fiction here in the Toon, but we’re also extremely passionate about making this event accessible to as many people as possible. Our aim is to keep prices as affordable as we can – you’ll find that a weekend spent at Newcastle Noir will be great value for money. Without a doubt, this festival is arguably the best ticket in town for crime writing enthusiasts.

Weekend tickets (£50/£30) for NN2017 are already on sale here.

Day tickets (£25/£15) and panel tickets (£5/£3) will be available at the end of February from the Lit and Phil website.

The line-up for NN2017 is already full, so we’ve started taking names for next year’s festival. If any authors/publishers/agents wish to get in contact, they should email us at: newcastlenoir@gmail.com

For more details about this year’s festival or to catch up on previous events,visit us here.

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