The Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers will open this year’s Granite Noir on Thursday, 23 February with a headline performance at the Lemon Tree from Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, Stuart Neville, Doug Johnstone, Luca Veste and Chris Brookmyre. With a promise to rock the night away with some dark and criminal tunes, it is an opportunity to let your hair down with your favourite crime writing musicians and some murderously good music.
The Queen of Scottish Crime Fiction, Val McDermid, then takes to the Music Hall stage on Friday 24 Feb to discuss the triumphant 1989 in what is sure to be an unmissable event for crime fiction fans. The second in the Allie Burns series was named on the First Minister’s best books of 2022 list. Fast Show star and best-selling author Charlie Higson brings his uniquely brilliant voice to introduce his new novel, Whatever Gets You Through the Night and Louise Welsh and Alan Riach explore the rich seam of Tartan Noir, from Stevenson and Hogg through McIlvanney and Tey to the hugely successful writers in the genre today. Three of these, Chris Brookmyre, Denzil Meyrick and Doug Johnstone all introduce their new books and in their inimitable style discuss secrets, short stories and so much more.
Heal & Harrow, a new project by celebrated folk musicians Rachel Newton and Lauren MacColl, pays tribute to some of the 2000+ women who were executed as witches in Scotland in the 16th and 17th centuries, as they perform newly composed music inspired by specially commissioned work by celebrated author Mairi Kidd.
Haunt Publishing explore some of their spookier stories and Scotland’s Scots Scriever, Shane Strachan, hosts an evening of spoken word performances with a dark twist. Cailean Steed, Kitty Murphy and Rachelle Atalla are some of the bold new voices in crime fiction writing thrilling, dark gothic stories while Ever Dundas and Heather Parry introduce compelling new novels – creepy, sinister and terrifying. Angie Spoto’s debut, The Grief Nurse, is a gothic drama about one woman’s search for freedom amid an aristocratic family’s descent into madness and she’s joined by Carole Johnstone whose novel The Blackhouse is full of dark and deadly secrets.
Rachelle Atallah (c) Andrew Low Ever Dundas and Angie Spoto
The Scandi crime genre encompasses a hugely broad spectrum of themes and styles, and this is represented perfectly in Coorie in with Scandi Friends, where Swedish writer Lina Bengtsdotter and Finnish author Antti Tuomainen will take the audience into their starkly different but equally intense and thrilling stories. Historical fiction authors Kaite Welsh and France’s Johana Gustawsson are joined by Vaseem Khan who sets his award-winning crime series in India.
Vassem Khan, Antti Tuomainen and Johana Gustawsson
Her Honour Wendy Joseph KC, the third woman ever to hold a permanent position at the Old Bailey, unpicks six extraordinary cases in Trials of the Old Bailey. This darkly fascinating discussion will explore why we kill, what happens at trial and what we can learn about the society in which we live and, adding to the non-fiction strand,
Francisco Garcia takes a deep dive into the story of Bible John, the notorious Glasgow serial killer. Science
communicator and chemist Dr Kathryn Harkup returns with a look at the reality behind the silly, and not so silly, ways to die in the world of everybody’s favourite spy, James Bond. Audiences can enjoy the ambiance at TheTerrace, His Majesty’s Theatre’s new bar and café, as they lift the lid on the science behind the 007 stories and sample his favourite cocktails along the way.
Granite Noir Workshops include a virtual event from the Scottish BPOC Writers Network for Black writers and writers of colour based in Scotland, a Zine Noir crafternoon and a Poison Pen session where historical crime writer E.S.Thomson explores the potential of poisons as a method of murder. Granite Noir has also teamed up with the Society of Young Publishers Scotland where young people get a chance to speak to Industry professionals and explore how the publishing industry works.
The multiple five-star sell-out comedy hit CSI: Crime Scene Improvisation is a fully improvised, witty and absurd murder mystery staged at the Music Hall, where the audience inspires the crime, grills the suspects, and ultimately decides who is guilty . . . or not. His Majesty’s Theatre plays host to two dramas – The Girl from the North Country with music and lyrics by Bob Dylan, and Miss Marple returns to the stage in an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s The Mirror Crack’d.
Events for younger crime fiction fans include a morning session for 3 – 7 yr olds with Jonathan Meres and his Scaredy Bat and workshops with Sarah Todd Taylor and with Maz Evans who each introduce their adventurous characters and help their audiences to crack codes and secret messages (suitable for 8 – 12 yrs). Sarah and Maz then come together in A Detective Adventure to compare notes between their creations – the fantastic spy Alice Éclair and cracking character Vi who is out to save the world. The Aberdeen Arts Centre is screening family films Zootropolis and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? as part of their CrimeWatch Programme which also features Knives Out and Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 suspense thriller Vertigo.
The Curriculum of Crime, a new exhibition from Aberdeen City & Aberdeenshire Archives, sheds light on the enlightened attitudes that existed in nineteenth century Aberdeen and the efforts that were made by social reformers to ensure children were not drawn into a life of crime. With detailed personal observations of the characters and backgrounds of young offenders, the papers of Alexander Thomson (1792-1862) show he was at the forefront of efforts to steer young people away from prison through alternatives such as industrial schools.
Using copies of original records, this exhibition will take a closer look at the children, some of whom were as young as eight when they were incarcerated, their backgrounds and the nineteenth century city of which they were a part. The exhibition is free to attend and will be at the Music Hall throughout the festival.
Selected events across the four days of the Festival will be livestreamed and available to view online, allowing those who have connected with Granite Noir from across the globe tune in and enjoy as the action unfolds in Aberdeen.
Details of all events in the 2023 Granite Noir Programme can be found at granitenoir.com. Tickets for all Granite Noir events are on sale to Aberdeen Performing Arts Friends on Wednesday, 11 January at 10am and on general sale on Thursday 12 January at 10am. Tickets can be booked at Granite Noir , by calling 01224 641122 and in person from the Box Office at the Music Hall and His Majesty’s Theatre.
Granite Noir 2023 is supported by Aberdeen City Council and Funded by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland.