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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

Christmas At Lilac Cottage By Holly Martin

Christmas At Lilac Cottage‘Christmas At Lilac Cottage’ is the latest book by Holly Martin.

Penny Meadows loves her home – a cosy cottage decorated with pretty twinkling fairy lights and stunning views over the town of White Cliff Bay. She also loves her job as an ice-carver, creating breathtaking sculptures. Yet her personal life seems frozen. When Henry and daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage to rent the annex, Penny is determined to make them feel welcome. But while Daisy is friendly, Henry seems guarded. As Penny gets to know Henry, she realises there is more to him than meets the eye. And the connection between them is too strong to ignore. While the spirit of the season sprinkles its magic over the seaside town and preparations for the ice sculpting competition and Christmas eve ball are in full swing, can Penny melt the ice and allow love in her heart? And will this finally be the perfect Christmas she’s been dreaming of?

‘Christmas At Lilac Cottage’ is the first book that I’ve read by Holly Martin, even though she has been writing for a while and quite a strong presence on social media and I have to say that I genuinely enjoyed this Christmas tale.

The story is seen from the perspective of ice carver Penny and handsome newcomer Henry, when Penny rents out her cottage to Henry and his daughter Daisy. The story then follows the two people as they embark on an tentative friendship bordering on love, Penny has been hurt in the past and fears getting her fingers burnt, even though she would love more than anything to settle down and have a family of her own. Meanwhile Henry has had his fair share of relationship disasters and is wary of starting something new as his main concern is Daisy’s welfare. But much to Henry’s delight, Daisy has also started a new relationship with Penny and loves nothing more than hanging out her new friend and helping her with her ice carvings.

The story flows at a lovely, warm and gentle pace that makes for heartwarming reading. Both Penny and Henry are wonderful characters, Penny with her huge kind heart, she immediately takes Daisy under her wing and treats her as the daughter she always wished for, offering her boy advice and listening to her problems. Henry is a handsome and charismatic man, he’s gentle and fun with his daughter. His new found relationship with Penny is fast paced and sexy as the pair of them get to know each other.

Packed with humour, love and full of Christmas cheer, ‘Cottage At Lilac Cottage’ is a deliciously tender and festive story, that made for magical reading.

You can buy Christmas At Lilac Cottage from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Aspects Festival, Bangor 18-25th September 2016

Sinead MoriartyFor all you budding writers out there in Northern Ireland, set your GPS for Bangor as the Aspects Irish Literature festival is launching with a packed programme filled with some of the province’s finest authors and performers.

Now in its 25th year, the festival is opening its doors from 18 − 25th September and it’s packed with events for book lovers, aspiring writers and musical treats with performances from Duke Special and Van Morrision

There’s plenty of workshops and events taking place that will help every fledging author, with advice on writing crime from Brian McGilloway and Steve Cavanagh, a workshop on how to write humour, and even advice on getting published.

For fans of female fiction, check out Saturday’s morning event on 24th September when Penguin Ireland author, Sinead Moriarty will be talking about her own writing journey as well as her most recent book, ‘The Way We Were’.

For more information on the festival check out the website Aspects Festival and follow on Twitter at Aspects Festival