News: two thrilling crime conventions

DealNoirIf you’ve ever wanted to explore the darker corners of your favourite crime or thriller novels, and maybe understand more about the author’s dark intentions, then conventions and conferences provide an incomparable opportunity to gain insights into the sinister back story of detectives, criminals and killers alike. This year’s calendar features two new intriguing events at opposite ends of the year and opposite ends of the country.

Deal Noir, a conference on crime fiction, takes place at the Landmark Centre in Deal on the south coast of England on 28th March 2015. This interesting and entertaining day features best-selling authors speaking on crime fiction in all its forms, from dark psychological thrillers through historical fiction to light-hearted romps. The programme includes interactive sessions where delegates have chance to put questions to the panel and join in the debate.

The distinguished panel of speakers at Deal Noir includes leading crime writers and local authors. It’s hosted by Susan Moody, author of 34 crime and suspense novels, and participants include Catherine Aird, Quentin Bates, Stephen Bates, multiple award-winner Mark Billingham, Richard Blake, Simon Brett (CWA Diamond Dagger winner), David Donachie, Ruth Dudley Edwards, Helen Giltrow, William Horwood (author of the bestselling Duncton Wood fantasy series), Erin Kelly (best known for her debut novel, The Poison Tree), Janet Laurence, Alex Marwood, M J McGrath (author of the Edie Kiglatuk series of Arctic mysteries), Louise Millar, Michael Ridpath (whose characters include the Icelandic detective Magnus Jonson), and Laura Wilson.

The Deal Noir programme begins at 9.15 and runs through to 5pm. Tickets cost just £12.50 and are strictly limited in number; available from, and there’s further information at Deal Noir.

ShetlandNoirBy contrast, Shetland Noir takes place about as far north as you can get and still be in the British Isles. It’s the perfect place for a three-day crime-writing festival, especially during the dimly-lit days of 13th to 15th November. Expect a chill wind to set the scene for the islands’ first festival of this type.

The Shetlands have of course already been recognised as a setting for a Nordic crime thriller – Ann Cleeves’ sequence of six murder mysteries featuring detective Jimmy Perez is now a major BBC One drama. Shetland Noir aims to celebrate crime writing by bringing writers and readers together. The organisers have devised a programme to cover espionage, forensics, Nordic noir and traditional mystery. On the Scandinavian side, the panel will include writers like Arne Dahl, Håkan Nesser and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir. There’s also a strong Scottish presence from authors including Stuart Macbride, Denise Mina, Alex Gray and of course Ann Cleeves will make an appearance. The event programme will be packed full of readings, writing workshops, question and answer sessions and much more.

Delegates pay £75 for the three-day festival which includes a drinks reception on Friday evening, access to all areas including events, workshops and readings throughout the weekend, live music on Saturday and an invitation to the final party on Sunday evening.

It all takes place at Shetland Arts at Mareel on the main island of Lerwick; see Shetland Noir and remember you’ll need to make your travel arrangements early…

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