Noir in the North

There’s more to November 2016 than Iceland Noir… The Crime Studies Network, with the Centre for Studies in Memory and Literature at the University of Iceland and with the University of Newcastle, will host Noir in the North in Reykjavik in November 2016. This conference is held in conjunction with the Iceland Noir Crime Fiction Festival (17-19 November).
val-mcdermid-homeKeynote speakers are Val McDermid, who is also one of Iceland Noir 2016’s stars, our very own Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, Bruce Robbins of Columbia University and Mary Evans of the London School of Economics. Conference organisers are Stacy Gillis of the University of Newcastle and Gunnþórunn Guðmundsdóttir of the University of Iceland.yrsasumm_1684542c

This is going to be something very special and we’re delighted that the Crime Studies Network has timed this landmark conference to coincide with Iceland Noir.

Scroll down for the full info, or email if you’re interested in attending or presenting a paper

Noir in the North

16-17 November 2016

University of Iceland

The Killing, Wallander, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Miss Smilla’s Sense of Snow – Nordic Noir has been a dominant part of global detective fiction, film and television in the past two decades. But what are the parameters of this genre, both historically and geographically? What is noirish and what is northern about Nordic Noir? This conference invites proposals which either investigate the specifics of noir in a particular text or which interrogate more broadly the notion of Nordic Noir.

Can Nordic Noir be used to identify, for example, some aspects of the work of other Nordic authors, such as Halldór Laxness, Isak Dinesen or Vilhem Moberg? What is the relationship between earlier Scandinavian crime fiction, such as that by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, and Nordic Noir? How does work like the Shetland novels by Ann Cleeves fit within the parameters of Nordic Noir?  What part has translation played in the history and global circulation of Nordic Noir?

More broadly, the conference will address the following questions: How does Nordic Noir challenge the traditional critical histories of noir? What new genealogies of noir can complicate the Anglo-American dominance of noir? Are there geographical limitations to noir and how does it function transnationally? Where does the north begin for noir? What are the peripheral boundaries in the East and West? Does noir complicate traditional literary histories modeled on geographical boundaries? What specific images of the north are associated with Nordic Noir? How do sex and gender operate in Nordic Noir? What is Nordic noir’s relationship with particular national pasts, identities, or collective and cultural memory? What connections are there, for example, between Nordic Noir and Continental existentialism, European Romanticisms, or fin-de-siècle literatures?

This major international conference will consolidate work to date on Nordic Noir and seek to deepen our understanding of the genre, both in relation to traditional histories, but also in drawing on new theoretical and geographical understandings.

The Crime Studies Network, in collaboration with the Centre for Studies in Memory and Literature at the University of Iceland and with the University of Newcastle, will host Noir in the North in Reykjavik in November 2016. This conference is held in conjunction with the Iceland Noir Crime Fiction Festival (17-19 November).

Individual proposals for 20-minute papers/3 x 20 minute paper panels are invited.  We welcome proposals on novels, films, television series, graphic novels and other forms.  Send a short title, a 250-word proposal, and a 100-word biographical note to by 15 November 2015. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by 15 January 2016.


Crimefest 2015

One of the highlights of the year for the criminally inclined is almost here. Crimefest taken place in the lovely city of Bristol next month, 14th-17th May, and this year’s line-up is one of the finest so far.

The full programme for this year’s festival is here, but here are a few highlights…

THURSDAY 14 MAY, 15:50 – 16:40

Nordic Noir Panel: Crime At The Borders Of The Arctic

Taking part are  Clare Carson, Kati Hiekkapelto, Craig Robertson and Gunnar Staalesen, with participating moderator Quentin Bates.

17.00 – 17.50

Subgenres – Why Do You Write What You Write?

Taking part are Jørn Lier Horst, Emma Kavanagh, Helen Smith and Simon Toyne with participating moderator Ruth Dudley Edwards.

FRIDAY, 15 MAY, 09:00 – 09:50

Debut Authors: An Infusion Of Fresh Blood

Taking part are Clare Carson, Oscar de Muriel, Kate Hamer, Kati Hiekkapelto and Ragnar Jónasson, with Jake Kerridge in charge.

10:10 – 11:00

Identity And Viewpoint: Writing ‘The Other’

Taking part are Quentin Bates, Kate Ellis, M.R. Hall and Aly Monroe with participating moderator Alison Joseph.

11:20 – 12:10

Detective Duos

With Ruth Dudley Edwards, Hans Olav Lahlum, Luca Veste and Emily Winslow with participating moderator Caro Ramsay.

14:50 – 15:40

How Realistic Is Crime Fiction?

Taking part are Andrew Pepper, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, Kevin Wignall and Emily Winslow with participating moderator Steve Mosby.

17:10 – 18:00

The Euro Noir panel is moderated by Professor Barry Førshaw, with Roberto Costantini, Jørn Lier Horst, Michael Ridpath and Gunnar Staalesen taking part.

SATURDAY, 16 MAY, 11:20 – 12:10

Mean Streets And Small Towns: Crime In City Or Countryside

Taking part are Paul Finch, S.J.I. Holliday, Ragnar Jónasson and Jake Woodhouse with participating moderator Craig Robertson.

11:20 – 12:10

Thrillers: Brains Or Brawn, Who Kicks Best Ass. The hard cases taking part are Lee Child, Chris Ewan, Zoë Sharp and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, with participating moderator Tom Harper.

12:30 – 13:20

In Living Memory: Writing About The Recent Past features Jessie Keane, Hans Olav Lahlum, Peter Murphy and William Shaw with participating moderator Laura Wilson.

The undoubted highlight for many of us, especially those with a particular liking for anything Nordic will be between14:50 – 15:40 on Saturday when featured guest author Maj Sjöwall takes the stage, interviewed by Lee Child.

See you all in Bristol… It’s going to be a great few days, packed with crime,

Newcastle Noir

Last year some of us went to Newcastle Noir, a one-day crime fiction event held at Newcastle’s legendary Lit & Phil, a wonderful library crammed full of books. Yes, books. Not the acres of industrial grey carpet scattered with occasional bookcases that so many libraries have become, but loaded to the gunwales with books, and not a PC in sight. But I digress…

Last year’s event was great. It was small, it was intimate and it went down well.

So this year, Jacky Collins, Mari Hannah and their cohorts have come up with something bigger and better, with a stellar line-up of crime writers. This year it’s two days, the 2nd and 3rd of May, and it looks like a weekend to remember.

Check here for details. Don’t miss this one, if you’re within spitting distance of the Toon. This is going to be good…

Deal Noir, take 2

Deal Noir is up and running with its own website that includes directions, booking details and the programme for the day that. It takes place on Saturday 28th of March and it looks like a fine day of criminal activity.

Here’s the programme for the day:

9.15    Doors open

9.45    Welcome by Susan Moody

9.50    Freezing To Death
            Quentin Bates,  M J McGrath and Michael Ridpath (moderator: William Horwood)

11.00 Robert Goddard In Conversation
            with Susan Moody

12.00 Debate : A Woman’s Place In Crime Fiction Is ….
            Erin Kelly,  Paula Hawkins and Louise Miller (moderator: M J McGrath)

1.00   Lunch Break

2.00  Those Were The Days
           Robert Blake,  David Donachie and Janet Laurence (moderator: Stephen Bates)

3.00  The Dark Side
           Mark Billingham, Tanya Carver and Alex Marwood

4.00  Laugh?  I Nearly Died
           Ruth Dudley Edwards and Simon Brett

5.00  Deal Noir / East Kent Mercury Flash Fiction Award

Deal Noir

If you happen to be in the south-east (of England, that is, not the south-east of Iceland) in March, then check out Deal Noir, a small but beautifully crafted one-day crime fiction event taking place on the 28th of March in the coastal town of Deal, overlooking the Goodwin Sands.

It has been organised by those criminal stalwarts Susan Moody and Mike Linane, and the line-up for the day looks undeniably tasty.


It takes place at the Landmark Centre (click here for a map).  Admission is £12 for the day, tea and coffee included.

Taking part are Mark Billingham, Tania Carver, Alex Marwood, Mel McGrath, Michael Ridpath, Quentin Bates, William Horwood, Erin Kelly, Laura Wilson, Helen Giltrow, Louise Millar, Robert Blake, David Donachie, Janet Laurence, Stephen Bates, Robert Goddard, Susan Moody, Ruth Dudley Edwards and Simon Brett

Proceedings are to close with a glass (or two) of wine

Apologies for putting the programme up here earlier. Iceland Noir’s knuckles have been gently rapped and we’ll put the full programme up again when it has been finalised.

To book or for enquiries, please contact

Thanks, everyone!

Iceland Noir went magnificently. OK, it may have looked a pretty slick operation on the surface, but there was a good bit of frantic paddling underneath. Thanks to everyone for turning up and helping us have a great time, achieving our primary aim of a couple of days of eminently enjoyable criminal activity.Screen shot 2014-11-28 at 17.37.08

Yrsa and Sibylle Westbrook at Hellnar

In no particular order…

Our volunteers Rósa, Hanna Rúna and Bjarni

Markús Már for being there with his camera to document the whole thing in moody monochrome

Jórunn, Dave and the good people of All Iceland who arranged the fantastic trip to Snæfelllsnes in the wild west of Iceland on Sunday. The flatbread with smoked lamb and the snacks provided really hit the spot, especially among those who had been up late night before and had skipped breakfastScreen shot 2014-11-28 at 17.35.49

Jórunn of All Iceland organised the trip to Snæfellsnes and provided much-needed and very welcome refreshments for those for whom an early start had followed a late night…

The excellent staff of the Nordic House for being just so helpful and friendly the whole time

The staff of the bistro for being helpful and for forcing oranges and ástarpungar on us when energy levels were dropping

The Icelandic Embassy in London for the reception a few weeks ago

Icelandair for their support

The staff at Iðnó for fitting us all in

Ævar Örn for the quiz

All the publishers, agents and others who chipped in with suitcases of books

Miriam (@nordicnoirbuzz) for live tweeting #icelandnoir the whole time

Úlfhildur for organising the crimewalk through the darkened streets of Reykjavík and María for reading

The moderators for handling their panels with such aplomb

The Murder is Everywhere team for that memorable and unmoderated final panel

All the authors who travelled to Iceland at the least appealing time of year.

Then there was Nightshift director Ragnar Bragason who made a small group of personnel on the forecourt extremely happy.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few people who were part of the mix… But the people who really made it happen are the readers, the crime fiction aficionados who came from as far away as America and New Zealand, or just round the corner (relatively speaking) from Norway or Britain, or from Reykjavík. Thanks to all of you for being there are taking part, and I’ll leave you with this wonderful image of Mirian and Ewa getting in touch with their inner Vikings..


Almost there

Iceland Noir is almost upon us and there’s still plenty to do to get everything ready for it, nothing major, but a minor details that still need to be fixed.

The line-up has changed slightly as a couple of people have had to pull out. Jens Peter Olsen from Greenland is unable to make it, so the place on his panel is being taken by German author Billie Rubin. Sigurjón Pálsson has found himself double booked with a commitment elsewhere and so Jón Óttar Ólafsson takes Sigurjón’s panel place.

Lunch… There’s a bistro at the Nordic House, and if you want to eat there during the festival, booking in advance is advisable. The bistro is also providing (2000kr/£10) lunch packs on both days, soup and a sandwich. These have to be ordered in advance, but can be paid for on collection. email the bistro on to order.

The line-up for the Icelandic Crime Syndicate’s crime night on Thursday has been confirmed, with Vidar Sundstøl, Antti Tuomainen and David Swatling reading as the three visiting authors, followed by Finnbogi Hermannsson, Guðrún Guðlaugsdóttir, Steinar Bragi, Jón Óttar Ólafsson, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Ragnar Jónasson. Even if you don’t understand the readings in Icelandic, it’ll be worth it for the company…

We are pretty close to a full house for this year’s Iceland Noir, and the dinner on Saturday night is over-subscribed, which we can hopefully get a few extra chairs sorted out before Saturday.

There are a few details still to be fixed, but all the main ingredients are in place. So just a little more preparation so everything runs smoothly. Looking forward to seeing you all in Reykjavík in the next few days for some intense criminal activity…

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