It’s fair to say that the first Noireland International Crime Fiction Festival went off with a bang. With a packed programme and a well thought out schedule that made sure no one missed out on a precious moment, there was plenty of food for thought for the aspiring author as well as book lover.
Set against the backdrop of the Europa Hotel, with its mirrored walls and winding staircases, it was the perfect setting for this atmospheric festival, slap bang in the centre of Belfast.
On the Friday, I participated in workshops with authors, Gerard Brennan and Claire McGowan and both workshops, were informative and interactive as we engaged in some light writing exercises as well as given the opportunity to question published authors.
The event kicked off on Friday night with a ‘Line Of Duty’ panel and Strabane author, Brian McGilloway quizzed the shows creator Jed Mercurio, actor, Adrian Dunbar and the show’s producer Stephen Wright about the success of the Northern Ireland show.
Over the weekend, there were talks catered for everyone who has an interest in crime and varied from the research and ideas of genre, as well as some added humour to lighten the dark subject.
Between each talk there was ample time and opportunity to browse the compact bookshop as well as chat to the authors and get books signed.
I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of Noireland. It was wonderful to see such an exciting range of talent from across the water and to meet the people who have written for books and screen. With panels of authors featuring some of my favourite authors such as Ali Land, Liz Nugent and Sophie Hannah, as well as a packed out rooms for the events featuring the people behind ‘Line of Duty’ and Aidan Gillen.
It was also exhilarating to be amongst such talent and to be able to listen about their own writing experiences as well as meet other like-minded people, who like myself are also tentatively starting their own writing journey’s.
One particular moment that stood out for me, was when Brian McGilloway asked me if I was a writer. I was hesitant with my response as I am trying to be and I’m actively working on something at the minute, so I told him that I was trying to and his reply stayed with me all weekend.
“You are a writer, even if you’re not published”
As an aspiring author, I found the festival to be an absolute fountain of information, packed with support and advice. I parted ways with Crime Noireland on a high, loaded with books, inspiration and a lot lighter purse.
A monumental thank you and well done to David Torrans, his staff from No Alibis Bookshop (the best bookshop in Northern Ireland) as well as all the volunteers who were all so friendly and approachable. They did such an amazing job of organising a fabulous event and gave book lovers and writers an unique opportunity to network and engage.
With a promise of another festival next year, I’m already counting down to 2018. Hopefully by then, I will have finished all the books that I bought at this year’s event!