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Noireland Is Back For 2020

Noireland International Crime Festival, BelfastA new year, a new line up and a new venue, Noireland is officially back with a bang.

Taking place on Saturday 28th March, this packed one day event will be taking place at its new home at the Clayton Hotel, Belfast.

The event sees the return of some of Northern Ireland’s finest authors as well some authors that have already graced the Northern Ireland crime scene such as Ann Cleeves and Liz Nugent.

They have also crammed in bestselling author, Mark Billingham, as well as a walking tour, a special screening of ‘Odd Man Out’ the wonderful Jack-a-noir-y and even a creative writing morning which promises to be informative, affordable and useful to all aspiring crime writers.
This year’s NOIRELAND is also full of exclusives – early releases from the likes of Steve Cavanagh, Brian McGilloway and Jane Casey. Plus, a sneak preview of Adrian McKinty’s new Sean Duffy novel at Jack-a-noir-y.

Check out the ‘At a Glance’ NOIRELAND programme to find out what’s on in our ‘Writers’ Morning’, ‘Noirish Afternoon’ and ‘Noirish Night of Stars’.

Haylen Beck

Haylen Beck

Haylen Beck is the pseudonym of Northern Ireland writer Stuart Neville, an acclaimed, Edgar-nominated author whose crime fiction has won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and made best-of-year lists with numerous publications including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe.

  1. To readers of the blog who may not be familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing
    My real name is Stuart Neville, I’m forty seven years old, and I live in Northern Ireland with my wife, two kids, and a very scruffy dog. I’ve been writing almost all my life, but it was around 2006 when I started to take it seriously. My debut novel, ‘The Twelve’, was published almost exactly ten years ago.
  2. Can you tell us a bit about your new book, ‘Lost You’
    ‘Lost You’ begins with the disappearance of a little boy in a holiday resort in Florida. His mother Libby is frantic trying to find him, but her greatest fear is not that he’s lost – but that he’s been found. When CCTV footage shows him being led away by another woman, she knows years of secrets are about to unravel.
  3. You are a successful author under your own name Stuart Neville, what made you decide to write under a pen name?
    It was mainly because of the change of setting from Ireland to America. Crime authors often become associated with a specific location – Ian Rankin is Edinburgh, Jo Nesbo is Oslo – and under my own name, I’ve become very much identified with Belfast. The first Haylen Beck novel, ‘Here And Gone’, really needed to be set in the States, and it was a somewhat different style than my previous books, so the pen name seemed like the right way forward.
  4. Who’s your favourite villain or hero?
    I like a good anti-hero, so if I can roll a villain and hero into one, it would be Jack Carter from Ted Lewis’s ‘Jack’s Return Home’, which was adapted for film as ‘Get Carter’, starring Michael Caine. That book was a huge influence on me, and Ted Lewis is terribly underrated.
  5. Why do you think Northern Ireland is so popular and successful for crime authors?
    When my first novel was published ten years ago, there was some resistance to fiction from Northern Ireland, and nowhere more so than in Northern Ireland! That resistance has really broken down over the last few years, with a lot if crime writers coming through, plus Anna Burns’s deserved Booker win. I think we’re now able to tell stories that aren’t necessarily rooted in the Troubles, which has opened things up a lot.
  6. Has there ever been a film that’s been better than the book?
    ‘Jaws’ is the big one. It’s one of the greatest movies ever made, but it’s not a good book! I’d also add ‘The Godfather’, parts I and II, which are better than Mario Puzo’s novel.
  7. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    Probably my bandmates – Mark Billingham, Chris Brookmyre, Doug Johnstone, Val McDermid, and Luca Veste – from the ‘Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers’. We have so much fun making music together, I’m sure we’d have a laugh talking books too.
  8. What’s your favourite opening line from a book?
    “The rain rained.” from the above mentioned ‘Jack’s Return Home’.
  9. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    James Ellroy’s ‘American Tabloid’, Tom Wolfe’s ‘Bonfire Of The Vanities’ and Frank Miller’s ‘The Dark Knight Returns’.
  10. Lost You

  11. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    Simply writing more. A common mistake writers make is finishing one novel, then flogging it to death instead of getting on with writing the next one. Really, the only way to learn to write is simply to write.
  12. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    A notebook. For every novel I start a brand new Moleskine A5 notebook and I scribble in them constantly when I write the first draft, then through revisions, edits, even up to the copyedit and page proof stage. I then use the same notebook for when I give talks about the book after it’s published.
  13. And finally, do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website.
    I’m currently working on a new novel under my own name, which returns to my series character, DCI Serena Flanagan. Once that’s done, I’ve got a couple of screenplays I want to work on just for the hell of it, and I’ve plans for two more novels.

    You can buy ‘Lost You’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshop.

    Follow Haylen Beck on Twitter and his website for updates website

2018’s Quick Reads Titles Are Here…

Quick Reads 2018

Six enticing Quick Reads titles from well-loved authors will be released by The Reading Agency on 1 February 2018. The selection of titles written by bestselling writers Fern Britton, Dorothy Koomson, Mark Billingham, Kit de Waal, Tammy Cohen and Vaseem Khan span the globe from Mumbai to Ghana, from Cornwall to inner cities and explore a wide range of themes including friendship, secrets and lies, marriage and the horror that losing your phone can bring.

Quick Reads was founded by Baroness Gail Rebuck DBE in 2006 to provide shorter, easier to read, accessible fiction for less confident adult readers. Now in its 12 th year, the programme has distributed over 4.8 million books since it was launched and introduced hundreds of thousands of new readers each year to the joys and benefits of reading.

One in six adults in the UK struggles with reading, 1 whilst one in three does not read for pleasure; 2 Quick Reads are designed to break down the barriers that prevent people from picking up a book. 95% of literacy practitioners report that using Quick Reads has been effective at raising learners’ confidence in reading, whilst 91% say that the books have been effective at improving readers’ literacy skills.

The Quick Reads titles for 2018 are:

Cut Off by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown):
A punchy, taut urban thriller about that moment we all fear: losing our phone! For Louise, losing hers in a local café takes a sinister turn. Billingham has sold five million copies of his novels and has twice won the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Award for Crime Novel of the Year.

The Great Cornish Getaway by Fern Britton (HarperCollins):
As the sun sits high in the sky over Cornwall, and the sea breeze brings a welcome relief to the residents of the seaside village of Trevay, a stranger arrives in need of a safe haven. The former presenter of This Morning, Britton is now a Sunday Times bestselling author and this story is full of her usual warmth and wit.

Clean Break by Tammy Cohen (Transworld):
A dark and twisty portrait of a marriage coming to its bitter end, from the mistress of domestic noir. Can Kate rid herself of her jealous husband before it’s too late? Cohen’s acclaimed novels include ‘The Mistress’s Revenge’, ‘The War of the Wives’ and ‘Someone Else’s Wedding’.

Inspector Chopra and the Million-Dollar Motor Car by Vaseem Khan (Hodder & Stoughton):
An enchanting Baby Ganesh Agency novella from the bestselling Khan set in the bustling back-streets of Mumbai. Inspector Chopra and his elephant sidekick have two days to solve the mystery of a missing – and very costly – car for its gangster owner, or there’ll be a heavy price to pay.

The Beach Wedding by Dorothy Koomson (Arrow):
A gripping short read featuring a wedding, family drama, and old secrets. Tessa is thrilled when her daughter arrives in Ghana to get married but memories of the last time she was there haunt her; can she lay the ghosts of the past to rest or will they come back to haunt her daughter’s future? Koomson is the bestselling author of 12 novels including ‘The Ice-Cream Girls’, ‘My Best Friends’ Girl’ and most recently ‘The Friend’.

Six Foot Six by Kit de Waal (Viking):
A charming novella from Costa First Novel Award shortlisted author de Waal about finding friendship in the most unlikely of places. Everything changes for Timothy, a 21 year old with learning difficulties, when local builder Charlie calls on him for help. De Waal worked in criminal and family law and was a magistrate for many years before her international bestseller, ‘My Name is Leon’ was published.

Baroness Gail Rebuck, DBE, Founder, Quick Reads, says: “Since the Quick Reads programme launched 12 years ago, it has brought the pleasures of reading to millions of adults. Once again, I am delighted to announce, alongside The Reading Agency, six more inspiring reads for 2018. Books that will entice, entertain and unlock new worlds; this selection of titles by bestselling writers is ideal for adults who may be low in reading skills, confidence and time.”

Fanny Blake, Commissioning Editor, Quick Reads, says: “This year, I’m proud to introduce a very strong and varied new collection of Quick Reads for 2018 that has something for everyone. We have a gorgeous escapist tale by Fern Britton, set in her beloved Cornwall, Dorothy Koomson’s shock wedding drama played out in a Ghanaian beach resort, Vaseem Khan’s latest Inspector Chopra mystery set in Mumbai, a punchy thriller from Mark Billingham, a twisty portrait of a marriage from Tammy Cohen and a charming novella about an unlikely friendship from Kit de Waal. I hope lots of people will read and enjoy them!”

Sue Wilkinson, Chief Executive of The Reading Agency, says: “This is an exciting, varied list of titles which we hope will inspire people across the country to pick up a book, whether they lack confidence with reading or just want a light, easy read for their commute. At The Reading Agency we believe that everything changes when we read. Evidence shows that Quick Reads are a powerful tool in encouraging adults to read for pleasure.”

Mark Billingham, 2018 Quick Reads author, says: “I am thrilled to be part of the Quick Reads initiative. It’s hugely important to support literacy and to encourage those for whom picking up a book does not come quite so naturally as it does to others. Reading a book is stepping into another world and anything that nudges that door open should be welcomed. It’s an honour to be a Quick Reads author.”

Fern Britton, 2018 Quick Reads author, says: I had one, much older sister as I was growing up so no siblings to play with. Finding books was my greatest joy. Fairy stories with lovely colourful drawings, Enid Blyton adventures and then The Chronicles of Narnia really shaped my imagination. The Quick Reads initiative is enormously important and offers great stories for anyone.

Tammy Cohen, 2018 Quick Reads author, says: “I was lucky enough to grow up in a house filled with books so I’ve always known how a book can be friend, teacher, comfort, inspiration, conversation-starter, table-leg-propper-upper; how it can fill long journeys and even longer nights. I can’t even begin to imagine a life without reading, which is why I was so delighted to take part in the Quick Reads scheme. If I can help just one adult discover the life-changing joy of books, I’ll consider it one of my proudest achievements.”  

Vaseem Khan, 2018 Quick Reads author, says: “I firmly believe that reading is the foundation for learning. Growing up as someone from a less economically advantaged background reading was both my escape and my inspiration. Today I am a writer because of reading. But reading doesn’t come naturally for everyone. Quick Reads’ great insight is to realise that even those who find reading a challenge hanker for exciting, well-written stories that are simple to read. I am delighted that Quick Reads has given me the opportunity to inspire others by providing at least one such story.” 

Dorothy Koomson, 2018 Quick Reads author, says: “I am thrilled to have written The Beach Wedding for Quick Reads 2018. I’ve been a long-term supporter of this scheme, which helps people who aren’t confident readers or who have got out of the habit of reading for pleasure. I believe reading is very empowering and I support all things that encourage people to build their ability with it.”

Kit de Waal, 2018 Quick Reads author, says: “It’s a real privilege to be asked to write something for Quick Reads.  There were no books in the house I grew up in. I only started reading and writing later in life and discovered how important books are and that everyone, no matter what your ability or circumstances, can enjoy reading and have that sense of accomplishment when you turn that last page.  Books can change lives – sometimes for a minute, sometimes for a lifetime. Quick Reads can be part of that change and I hope I have been part of it too.”