What a weekend! If anyone had told me 2 years ago that I’d be buzzing around the UK talking to a bunch of people I’d never met before I would have laughed in their faces! Up until then I had been a quiet follower of books and authors and would sneak along to book events and volunteered at #BloodyScotland. All these places I’d just slip in and out ever so quietly without speaking to very many people! But #BookBlogging has changed my life and fast forward to now where my passion for reading and #SharingTheBookLove has opened up a whole new magical life! It has allowed me to meet some of the most wonderful people, from authors, to publishers to bloggers, reviewers and readers – #BookPeople really are the best people! I’ve found my tribe and I love it!
This weekend, I was lucky enough to attend #NewcastleNoir, a weekend of gritty crime fiction organised by the most AWESOME Jacky Collins and her team. I really need to start this overview of the weekend with a HUGE round of applause for all their hard work, dedication and committment to the genre! This was the first time I’d attended an event completely on my own so I was feeling slightly anxious about it all, even though I knew so many people going along. So when I walked into the Lit & Phil to a huge big smile and a welcoming hug from Jacky, it just set me up for what was to be a brilliant weekend! And that smile and welcome never faltered the whole weekend from Jacky and the team as they worked tirelessly the entire time to make the event go with a bang!
The Lit & Phil is the largest independent library outside of London and houses over 160,00 books on its shelves. It opened in 1825 and is so much more than just a library, what a fitting venue for #NewcastleNoir (Timera took the fab picture of the inside of the library so full credit to her for this!)
Due to my train times, I wasn’t able to attend all the panels and was absolutely gutted to have missed my #ScottishSquad of Neil Broadfoot, Douglas Skelton and Russell McLean in their #TartanNoir panel! I’m sure that the boys done us proud though!
The panels I did attend included:
Femme Fatale with Lin Anderson, Jackie Baldwin and Jackie McLean – a trio of superb Scottish female writers! A fascinating panel exploring the motivation behind chosing crime fiction, character development, plotting V pantsing, research and why they based their books in Scotland! While I have seen Lin at many events, this was a first for the two Jackie’s and I have to say what an outstanding debut performance ladies! The audience was captivated!
I then had a quick dash to check into my hotel before sprinting back up that hill (OMG what a hill it was) for panel number 2:
Nordic Noir – chaired by Quinten Bates this panel brought us the some of the most talented Nordic authors: Kjell Ola Dahl, Thomas Enger (mmmmmmmmmm – ask the rest of the bloggers and Karen from Orenda about the story behind the collective mmmmm when Thomas is introduced!); Antti Tuomainen and Nina Von Staffeldt. The audience was led on a chilling, yet hilarious, tour of Nordic crime fiction and if you were not hooked on it before hearing these guys then you were after! I am just wondering if any of them are available to come read me a bedtime story!
A quick refreshment stop with Alexina and Timera where we met the very glam Eileen Wharton and her partner, Steven (and can I just say that Eileen is even more glam in real life than she is in her pics!)
It was then back to the Lit & Phil for “Presenting the Case” which was something just a little bit different but you know what – it absolutely worked! We had the most awesome Karen Sullivan from #OrendaBooks, Quinten Bates, author and translator, Susan Heads #TheBookTrail blogger, Sarah Ward, author and reviewer and Vic Watson, writer, owner and director of Elementary V Watson and blogger all in conversation from their own unique perspective, covering topics ranging from inspiration, the importance of book covers, blogging and social media! Really it was one of those panels that really should have carried on into the pub!
My final panel of the weekend was on the Sunday and it was the exceptional #DomesticNoir featuring 3 of my favourite authors, Michael J Malone, Louise Beech and CL Taylor. The audience were treated to readings from each of their latest books before delving into the dark and devious minds of the authors who create such fabulous fiction! If you have never seen any of these authors before at events then you really must! You will not be disappointed!
But of course, a trip to a crime fiction festival would not be complete without some frivolity and fun so here is a round-up of just some of my other pictures from the weekend!
Some “sensible” sightseeing and a visit to Waterstones was had!
Some photbombing opportunities and air kisses!
And it is always a delight to bump into the lovely Nicky Black! We share a love of chips and pasties we do!
And of course a debrief in the pub sampling some of Newcastle’s finest refreshments is a great way to end the evening!
So that was the weekend that was! And what a weekend it was! I have come away with an even LONGER TBR list! A chance to meet some old and new friends, inspired by the creative genius of the writers out there, amazed by the passion and committment from the publishers and in complete awe of some of my fellow bloggers – each and every one of you are so welcoming, so warm, so professional, so friendly and supportive! I’ve learned so much and learned that there is so much more to learn! Now for a lottery win please so that I can just follow these guys everywhere – UK and beyond!
To those I didn’t get a chance to see…don’t worry you are on my list and I will be back!
Thank you Newcastle and the #NN2017 team…until next year! (or the next book festival!)