Newcastle Noir 2018

20180503_203849Phew! Am finally recovered, this blog will give you some idea of why.

Well, last weekend was Newcastle Noir 2018, and it was fabulous!  It’s a long old drive up from South Wales to Newcastle, but after a trip to the dentist for me, we set off at lunchtime and only took seven and a half hours to get there.  Was rather pooped by the time we did.

We had a wander around the city that evening – after that long in a car we needed to stretch our legs, and while I’d made sure we weren’t staying too far from the venue, I wasn’t really ready for the number of steps up from the Quayside to the Lit and Phil of the venue (where I took the picture above).  Am going to need to get in shape for next year!

I have to say I didn’t know what to expect from Newcastle, because I’ve never been there before, but I wasn’t expecting the incredible grandeur of what I think is a lot of Georgian/early Victorian architecture. If you like great old buildings (and I do) this is the place for you. Then there’s the ironwork and bridges to consider – it’s kind of odd stepping out of a hotel and being confronted with the massive engineering of the bottom of the curve supporting the Tyne Bridge. Looking up and seeing how the rail and road bridges were civil engineering over the top of multi-storied buildings was really something.

Thankfully the hotel has sent a warning about the kittiwakes, though in fairness, they didn’t disturb our rest.

The events Newcastle Noir were fabulous, the work that Dr Noir and her wonderful team of helpers put in is just astronomic.  They did a cracking job and it was wonderful to meet such charming and committed people who clearly take great pleasure and pride in what they do.

Then there are the events themselves, the panels and discussions.  Newcastle Noir offers such a range of writers, from the established and famous (Mark Billingham, Chris Brookmyre, Stuart Macbride, Val McDermid), down to the absolute New Bloods (Sandra Ireland, Vicky Newham, Robert Scragg, GB Williams – yes me!).  There were representatives from all over as well, there was Northumberland Noir, Tartan Noir, Nordic Noir, Masala Noir, and Crime in translation, which included Lilja Sigurðardóttir – and embarrassing as it is to admit it, no, I can’t pronounce her surname. So many interesting things to listen to, everyone with a different opinion and all opinions welcome.

Thoroughly enjoyed my panel, another engaged audience, which is always fun, and a good selection of panel companions. Lively answers and different experiences discussed, it was fab.  Audience participation was great – questions that you don’t expect can throw you for six, but I was surprised that I wasn’t thrown. A couple of weeks ago I was saying to a friend of mine (another writer) that I was a bit nervous about doing the panels, but after Llandeilo and now Newcastle – not a worry at all.  I loved it in fact. Now I hate doing presentations in work, generally because I’m never that sure of myself, but when it comes to writing, it’s something so ingrained into who I am, that I don’t have to worry, it’s all just there, the answers don’t have to be dug for, because I just know them. That probably sounds a bit arrogant, and I don’t mean to be, but when you’re talking about something that you’re passionate about, it really does just flow.

What was lovely was also the comments I got from audience members after who came to get their books signed. Every comment was complimentary, and I even had one of my fellow panellists come up after and tell me that a friend of theirs in the audience had said I was the nicest of the rest the of the bunch! That’s so sweet – and probably unfounded, but a lovely thing to hear all the same.

Anyway, it was a great weekend, I’m definitely going back for more next year (if I’m on a panel or not), and I can totally recommend the even to anyone who enjoys crime fiction.

Oh, one last shout out. Forum Books – what wonderful people and thanks for selling books from independent authors who turn up with them on the day – thank you so much.

Great weekend, long drive back, lots had to be done today, hence the last posting, but boy was it a great break from the norm.  Thanks to everyone who contributed to such a marvellous experience.

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