Live tweets from Iceland Noir

Last year Iceland Noir was a little frantic; a few too many things to do and not quite enough hands on deck, but we’re better organised this time…

We did our best last time around to keep Facebook, Twitter and various blogs updated with what was going on, but there just wasn’t the time to make it all happen and by mid-morning things had become sporadic instead of the hoped-for all-day live tweets.

This year Miriam Owen of the Nordic Noir discussion group in Scotland has kindly volunteered to look after tweeting for selected panels with the #IcelandNoir hashtag. So if you’d like to follow her progress and get her impressions of the panels and discussions at Iceland Noir, then follow her at @NordicNoirBuzz

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The Iceland Noir guide to style

A few people have been asking about weather conditions in Iceland in November, and how well they’ll need to wrap up. So here’s a brief guide to Icelandic weather…

Weather doesn’t get more unpredictable than in Iceland. You can have blazing sunshine and then pouring rain on the same day, and then sunshine again an hour later. The only thing you can be fairly sure of not getting is thunder and lightning, as it’s a little far north for electrical storms. If you’re after seeing the Northern Lights, then ideal weather is cold and clear. But, having said that, conditions can be perfect and the Lights can still refuse to co-operate, and then they can appear at times when the conditions are completely wrong.

Iceland is a few degrees north of the top end of Scotland, so weather in southern Iceland is essentially Scottish weather on steroids. The Gulf Stream keeps the place relatively warm, so although it can be chilly and the wind can blow through every piece of clothing you have, there are no huge extremes of temperature on a Siberian scale. Even in November anything colder than -4° is unusual, and anything warmer than +10° should be treated as a pleasant surprise.

We can be fairly sure that it will be dark, it won’t be warm, it will probably be wet, at least some of the time, and there’s a chance that it could be cold with snow on the ground.

Don’t even try unfurling an umbrella, as the wind will have it inside out in seconds flat.

A hat that keeps your ears warm is handy, especially if you’re going on the Crime Walk on Friday or Yrsa tour on Sunday, and gloves wouldn’t go amiss. Go for a decent warm coat and a scarf that keep the wind out.

Heels are likely to be a mistake for anything happening outdoors. Sturdy shoes should do the business, while heavy walking boots may be taking things unnecessarily far, and crampons would be a terrible fashion faux pas, plus they play havoc with a polished floor.

If in doubt, opt for warm and waterproof. Like the Scouts, be prepared. It’s easier to take off a jumper if you’re hot than to shiver because you didn’t bring one. A little known sub-clause of Murphy’s Law is that the more you prepare, the better the weather is likely to be.

The local saying is that there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing to cope with whatever nature throws at you…

btw, there’s no special dress code for the dinner at Iðnó on Saturday evening other than whatever you feel comfortable with.

Thursday crime night

Iceland Noir is only a few weeks away. The line-up is complete, we hope, the programme has gone to the printers, the restaurant has been booked for the dinner on Saturday night and reminders have been sent out to everyone.

Now the opening event is also confirmed. We kick off on Thursday 20th of November with the annual reading event held by the Icelandic Crime Syndicate, Hið Íslenska Glæpafélag. Last year was the first time that a few visiting writers were given the chance to take part so it became a multi-lingual event, and this year there will again be a mix of local and visiting crimewriters blending in with the jazz and the beer.

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Óttar M Norðfjörð reading at last year’s HÍG night.

Pic by Markús Már Efraim

The line-up for this hasn’t been confirmed, as it’s something of an ad hoc event that could change right up to the last moment.

This year it takes place upstairs at Sólon, which we reckon is Iceland Noir’s official watering hole for the duration.

Doors open at eight, the readings start soonish after that and the crowd will swell as the evening draws on. It should be a great evening and a good start for what looks like a brilliant few days of criminal activity in Iceland.

Sólon is right in the centre of Reykjavík at Bankastræti 7a, within easy walking distance of most of the downtown hotels.

See you there…

Spies, Lies and Private Eyes

The Schedule for Iceland Noir is almost ready. The brochure is ready to go off to the creative guru who will turn it into something sparkly that people will keep as an heirloom and wag a finger at as they tell their grandchildren of how they went to Iceland Noir back in the winter of ‘14…

All right, maybe not quite that fantastic, but it’s looking good.

One of the panels some of us are particularly looking forward to is the Spies Lies and Private Eyes panel, with Michael Ridpath (author of a series of financial thrillers as well as his Iceland series) moderating a panel of and Chris Morgan Jones, Árni Thórarinsson, Zoë Sharp and William Ryan, all of them writers with an angle on spying and skulduggery.

Chris Morgan Jones has worked for one of the world’s largest business intelligence agencies and advised Middle Eastern governments, Russian oligarchs, New York banks, London hedge funds and African mining companies before he turned to writing.

Árni Thórarinsson is a former journalist and his fiction features stories told from the point of view of journalist Einar, who rarely sees eye-to-eye with his newspaper’s proprietors and who has an uncanny knack of upsetting people.

Zoë Sharp writes the bestselling mystery thriller series featuring bodyguard Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Fox, and her latest crime novels are a standalone, The Blood Whisperer, and a Charlie Fox novella, Absence of Light.

Irish author William Ryan writes a series of detective novels set in the 1930s Soviet Union. His books have been widely translated and he’s also making a big contribution to Iceland Noir by running the Friday afternoon crime writing workshop being held at the City Library, for which there are a few places still available.