6 thrilling events to look forward to at Norwich Crime Writing Festival

Attica Locke is giving this year's Noirwich Lecture. Picture: supplied by National Centre for Writin

Attica Locke is giving this year's Noirwich Lecture. Picture: supplied by National Centre for Writing - Credit: Archant

Attica Locke, Sophie Hannah and Oyinkan Braithwaite will be taking part in Noirwich Crime Writing Festival which returns online from September 10-13.

Oyinkan Braithwaite, author of hit novel My Sister, The Serial Killer will be appearing at Noirwich

Oyinkan Braithwaite, author of hit novel My Sister, The Serial Killer will be appearing at Noirwich Crime Writing Festival. Picture: Amaal Said - Credit: Archant

Co-produced by the National Centre for Writing and the University of East Anglia, Noirwich crime writing festival is one of the fastest growing literary festivals in the UK. Held in September, a fitting time as the nights are starting to draw in, in recent years, thriller fans have enjoyed appearances by some of the genre’s biggest star names, including Val McDermid, Sara Collins, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Louise Doughty, James Runcie, Lee Child, Ian Rankin, Peter James, Anthony Horowitz, Nicci French, Paula Hawkins and Benjamin Black.

And this year’s programme is no exception. Because of Covid-19, this year’s talks and workshops are taking place online. Most events are free to view on YouTube (it’s advised to reserve a spot in advance), but donations are welcome to help ensure that the event can continue in future – go to noirwich.co.uk to find out more.

Here are some of the highlights.

Jacob Ross is among the writers leading online workshops during Noirwich Crime Writing Festival. Pic

Jacob Ross is among the writers leading online workshops during Noirwich Crime Writing Festival. Picture: Supplied by National Centre for Writing - Credit: Archant

Jill Dawson and Trevor Wood in conversation


You may also want to watch:


September 11, 5.30pm

UEA’s globally-renowned creative writing programme has nurtured the talents of a host of household names – and it’s celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Join Jill Dawson, award-winning author of The Language of Birds and The Crime Writer and acclaimed debut novelist Trevor Wood for an exploration of their crime novels and the process behind their writing. Jill was the Royal Literary Fund fellow and creative writing fellow at UEA and Trevor is a graduate of the UEA MA in creative writing (crime fiction). The discussion will be chaired by Henry Sutton, who is director of creative writing at UEA and convenor of the MA in creative writing (crime fiction).

French screenwriter Olivier Norek is appearing at Noirwich Crime Writing Festival. Picture: Supplied

French screenwriter Olivier Norek is appearing at Noirwich Crime Writing Festival. Picture: Supplied by National Centre for Writing. - Credit: Archant

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Noirwich Lecture 2020: Attica Locke

September 11, 7.30pm

This year’s Noirwich Lecture is given by US author and screenwriter Attica Locke, who will be exploring the ways that crime writing can challenge the distribution of power and authority. Drawing on examples from her own career and writing, including the Highway 59 novels, she will also reflect on how stories and characters can pull back the veil on some forms of hidden power.

Sophie Hannah will be discussing her love of Poirot at Noirwich Crime Writing Festival. Picture: Phi

Sophie Hannah will be discussing her love of Poirot at Noirwich Crime Writing Festival. Picture: Philippa Gedge Photography - Credit: Archant

Attica’s most recent novel, Heaven, My Home, is an expertly-crafted thriller mystery and a sharp examination of ‘Trump-era’ America and issues of race, power, prejudice and white supremacy which still exist today. Her recent work as a television writer and producer includes When They See Us (Netflix); a portrayal of the 1990 wrongful conviction of five teenage boys from Harlem for a brutal attack in Central Park and Little Fires Everywhere (Amazon Prime).

The lecture will be followed by a live Q&A with Attica and UEA crime writing lecturer Nathan Ashman.

The Lost and the Damned: Olivier Norek

September 12, 5.30pm

Olivier is an award-winning French novelist and writer on the hit series Spiral, which is shown on BBC4 here in the UK. Olivier’s first novel in translation, The Lost and the Damned, is a suspenseful police procedural which draws on the author’s own experience as a police officer and will be published in November.

Olivier will be joined in conversation by his translator Nick Caistor, and together they will discuss his new novel, the French justice system, the process of being translated and why France is producing some of the highest calibre crime writing in the world.

My Sister, The Serial Killer: Oyinkan Braithwaite

September 12, 7.30pm

Oyinkan Braithwaite’s blackly comic thriller My Sister, the Serial Killer was a huge hit with critics and readers alike when it was published last year. Asking how far you would go for family, it digs deep into the dark psychology of deadly siblings Korede and Ayoola. Named the British Book Awards Crime Novel of the Year 2020, shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019 and longlisted for the Booker Prize 2019, Oyinkan will be in conversation with debut crime novelist Femi Kayode about the huge success of her novel, her writing process, crime fiction in Nigeria, what it means to be a crime writer in 2020 and how she feels about being called a ‘literary’ genre writer.

Podcast: Poirot The Greatest Detective in the World

September 13, 5pm

Two of Hercule Poirot’s biggest fans, Sophie Hannah and Mark Aldridge, will be guests on The Writing Life podcast for a conversation spanning the 100-year history of Agatha Christie’s beloved sleuth. From the original novels, short stories and plays through to adaptations for stage, screen and radio – how has Poirot changed over the years, what makes him so compelling, and what will he look like in another century’s time?

Mark Aldridge is a lecturer, film historian and author of the definitive book about Agatha Christie’s book adaptations on film and television, Agatha Christie on Screen. His upcoming book, Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World, is released in October. And Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling crime author and has written a series of continuation novels based on Hercule Poirot: The Monogram Murders, Closed Casket, The Mystery of Three Quarters and the upcoming The Killings at Kingfisher Hill.

Workshop: Writing Credible characters with Jacob Ross

September 11, 10am or September 13, 2pm (via Zoom), £35

If you’ve ever fancied a life of crime(writing) yourself, throughout the weekend, there will be several creative writing workshops held via Zoom.

The key to a successful crime novel is often in the creation of fascinating and sympathetic characters. And Jacob Ross, author of The Bone Readers (Jhalak Prize 2017) and Black Rain Falling, will be exploring techniques and approaches to developing unique memorable characters – from protagonists and antagonists to ‘walk-ons’ – and their uses in progressing and adding interest to stories. He will also touch on plotting and structure, as well asking the question: what makes crime writing so appealing, and what is its purpose?

Duncan Campbell, crime writer and former crime correspondent for the Guardian, who covered the Rosemary West trial and the Hatton Garden heist, will be Exploring True Crime on September 12 at 10am and 2pm. And on September 11 at 3pm and September 13 at 11am Elizabeth Haynes, the award winning author of Into the Darkest Corner and The Murder of Harriet Monckton, will offer an insight into the skills needed for Researching for Historical Fiction. Both of her sessions are fully booked, but email info@nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk to go on the waiting list.

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