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Noireland – The Best Crime Festival In Town

Noireland International Crime Festival, Belfast

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!

Noireland International Crime Festival, Belfast

Noireland International Crime Festival, Belfast

If you’re a fan of the crime genre, whether you enjoy reading the books or aspire to be an author, then Belfast’s debut crime festival is a must attendance.

Noireland (great name by the way) will be running from 27-29th October and taking place in the Europa Hotel.

Organised by the people behind the amazing bookshop ‘No Alibis’ which is situated in Botanic in Belfast, this festival celebrates the island’s love of crime fiction.

The 3-day event will be showcasing the amazing talent emerging from Ireland currently as well as some of the popular authors from all over the world, such as Sophie Hannah, Arne Dahl and Benjamin Black, to name just a few.

Noireland International Crime was organised to provide a platform for the wealth of crime writing talent emerging from Ireland, showcasing it alongside some of the biggest international names in crime and thriller writing.

With a jam-packed programme of great authors plus a selection of entertaining events, this debut festival is an exciting introduction to Northern Ireland’s love of all things crime and suspense.

As a very new and independent organisation they rely on partnerships, sponsors, donations, ticket sales and volunteers to support their work.

If you are interested in partnering with Noireland or sponsoring them you can contact them at info@noireland.com

For more information and updates about the events plus tickets, go to Noireland.com

Good Me Bad Me By Ali Land

Good Me Bad Me‘Good Me Bad Me’ is the latest book by Ali Land.

Annie’s mother is a serial killer. The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police. But out of sight is not out of mind. As her mother’s trial looms, the secrets of her past won’t let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name – Milly. A fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be. But Milly’s mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water. Good me, bad me. She is, after all, her mother’s daughter…

I have read some dark and twisted books in my time, but none of them has stood out to me as much as ‘Good Me, Bad Me’.

It’s such a complex tale written through the narrative of Milly, a young girl who’s mother was a serial child killer and she has to testify against her mother in the very public court case. As Milly moves in with a new family with a new identity, she has to adjust to the life around as well as deal with the memories and emotions on the run up to the trial.

Whilst, reading this book I experienced such a flurry of emotions that it was impossible to put it down. Milly is a complicated character, having being exposed to various types of abuse as well as witness to some of the most horrific things that a child has to see, it’s no wonder she has trouble settling in. The family that she is placed with look perfect but behind closed doors, seem quite troubled. Mike, is her foster parent, but not only that he is her therapist and is helping advise and guide her through the court case and helping her deal with what she has been through. His wife, Saskia is a bit of a sad character, her main interest is yoga and she tries to get along with her only daughter, Phoebe who continuously pushes her away. Phoebe is an unlikable character. She’s a spoilt bully, who picks on Annie, publicly tormenting her whilst pretending to be her friend in the house. She’s jealous of the attention, Milly gets from her parents particularly from Mike and never misses an opportunity to make her feel uncomfortable or unwanted in both school and home life.

Milly has been through so much and I wanted nothing more than for her to able to settle in and finally have the life that she always wanted. A loving family that provided a secure and happy environment where she wasn’t on edge and constantly afraid. But every time, Milly tries to relax, something happens that reminds her of dark times, the run up to the court case, the bullying at the school and it is at these times, we see a different side to the quiet girl.

With her narrative flowing back and forth from past and present tense, Milly clearly tells her story of her traumatic childhood at the hands of her evil mother and this truly does make for disturbing reading. She’s a brave character, who has conflicted feelings, the love and hatred for a troubled parent and why she was exposed to so much.

Cleverly written with dark but sympathetic characters that I did feel a strong empathy for, this book was captivating from the very start. Riddled with deceit, this atmospheric story made for truly dark and unsettling reading that really pulls the reader in, touching on the subject of child abuse, serial killers and multiple personalities, ‘Good Me, Bad Me’ is an explosive story of morals, moving on and a teenage girl trying to piece herself back together and just wanting to be loved.

You can buy Good Me Bad Me from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.