Welcome to Granite Noir, Aberdeen’s first book festival dedicated to crime fiction. Over three days we’ll explore the enduring appeal of stories that plunge us into the heart of darkness - where morality is ambiguous, motives complicated, and even heroes harbour devastating secrets.
Granite Noir would not be possible without funding from Aberdeen Council and cooperation from its participating partners, Aberdeen Performing Arts, The Belmont Filmhouse, and Aberdeen City Libraries and Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives. We are also indebted to Waterstones for their enthusiasm and help.
Book for 4-7 events: Get 10% off | 8-12 events: Get 15% off | Full Weekend Pass: £90 inc. bf
(Full Weekend Pass excludes High Tea, Workshops, Family events, PPP & film screenings)
See below to book discounts and passes.
Friday 24 February, 1.30pm - 2.30pm | The Lemon Tree Studio | £9.50 inc. bf | Book Tickets
Chaired by Stuart MacBride
Authenticity matters, so do ex-cops have the edge when it comes to crime writing? Come along and find out, as Stuart MacBride talks with Denzil Meyrick and Kate London.
Friday 24 February, 7pm - 8pm | The Lemon Tree Studio | £9.50 inc. bf | Book Tickets
Who better to kick off our opening night than local legend Stuart MacBride, whose novels have sold more than 2.5 million copies - and counting! He’ll be talking to Gordon J Brown, one of the founders of Bloody Scotland, about his bestselling Sergeant Logan McRae novels, which have earned Aberdeen pride of place on the Noir map of Scotland.
Friday 24 February, 9pm - 10pm | The Lemon Tree Studio | £9.50 inc. bf | Book Tickets
Winner of the McIlvanney Prize at this year’s Bloody Scotland, Chris Brookmyre is one of Scotland’s finest, and funniest writers. He’ll have you crying with laughter one minute, quivering with anxiety the next and marvelling at the inventiveness of his... vocabulary... throughout.
Sunday 26 February, 3pm - 5pm | HMT | Book Tickets
£18 per head | £25 with small bottle of Prosecco | BSL interpreted
What could be more inviting on a chilly Sunday afternoon than a plate piled high with warm scones, pastries and dainty sandwiches, washed down with strong coffee or aromatic tea? But beware! Dr Kathryn Harkup, author of A is for Arsenic, is here to remind us that in the hands of literary Grande Dame Agatha Christie, everything on the menu could — and did — become a lethal weapon.
Sunday 26 February, 9pm - midnight | The Belmont Filmhouse | Book Tickets
FREE (Ticketed event so booking required)
Host Russel D McLean (founder of Glasgow’s Noir at the Bar) hosts this informal gathering of festival and local talent for a night of readings and hijinks in the bar of the Belmont Filmhouse, and we’ll be kicking things off with an appearance by Gunnar Staalesen.
Friday 24 February, 3.30pm - 4.30pm | The Lemon Tree Studio | £7.50 inc. bf | Book Tickets
Discover why choosing the right location for a novel is as important as identifying the killer. Doug Johnstone’s new novel Crash Landis set in Orkney, while Sarah Ward’s A Deadly Thawtakes place in the Peak District.
Saturday 25 February, 11am - noon | The Lemon Tree Studio | £7.50 inc. bf | Book Tickets
Join authors Chris Brookmyre, Kati Heikkapelto, Doug Johnstone and Kate London for a frank discussion about working methods that’s sure to offer aspiring authors a wealth of top tips and fascinating insights into the writing process.
Saturday 25 February, 1pm - 2pm | The Lemon Tree Studio | £7.50 inc. bf | Book Tickets
Why are so many of us suspicious of true crime books, when we gobble up crime fiction? Who decided that fiction contains a moral centre that is missing from reportage, or that enjoying true crime books is as unseemly as rubbernecking at the scene of an accident? These are some of the issues Denise Mina and Nicola White will tackle in a provocative, idea-filled session.
Saturday 25 February, 3pm - 4pm | The Lemon Tree Studio | £7.50 inc. bf | Book Tickets
Transgression lies at the heart of every crime novel. Some acts are so horrific that we label their perpetrators born devils. Are there malevolent forces in the universe capable of overriding free will and morality? Denise Mina, Richard Holloway, and Dr Zohar Hadromi-Allouche discuss historical concepts of evil and our perceptions of wrong-doers. Whether you’re a reader, or a writer wrestling with these dilemmas on the page, this is a conversation you won’t want to miss.
Saturday 25 February, 5pm - 6pm | The Lemon Tree Studio | £7.50 inc. bf | Book Tickets
Join Gordon J Brown and Quentin Bates for a discussion delving into the different sensibilities and expectations of American versus Scandi crime fiction, and a look at how these physical and emotional terrains have shaped their own work.
Saturday 25 February, 7pm - 8pm | The Lemon Tree Studio | £9.50 inc. bf | Book Tickets
Former sports journalist Thomas Enger plunges us into Oslo’s dark underbelly and the fast-moving world of 24-hour news with his popular Henning Juul novels, which are published in 26 countries. Denmark’s Thomas Rydahl is a writer and translator. He’ll be talking about his debut, The Hermit, which won the Danish Debutant Award — the first time it has ever gone to a thriller.
Saturday 25 February, 9pm - 10pm | The Lemon Tree Studio | £9.50 inc. bf | Book Tickets
Superstar Kristina Ohlsson is beloved in Sweden for both her crime fiction and her children’s books. Her novels The Chosen and Hostage, feature investigative analysts Fredrik Bergman and Alex Recht. Her novels have been shortlisted for Best Crime Novel of the Year by the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers.
Sunday 26 February, 1.30pm - 2.30pm | The Lemon Tree Studio | £7.50 inc. bf | Book Tickets
Once you’ve mastered the rules, all the fun is in breaking them! Meet two accomplished authors, Antti Tuomainen and Russel D McLean, unafraid to tweak conventional formats to their own nefarious ends.
Sunday 26 February, 3.30pm - 4.30pm | The Lemon Tree Studio | £7.50 inc. bf | Book Tickets
Sharp social criticism and dark home truths are a hallmark of modern crime fiction, and Kati Hiekkapelto is so adept at weaving controversial social issues through their thrilling mysteries that you never spot the join.
*Please note a change in programme to this event as Eva Dolan is no longer able to appear.
Sunday 26 February, 6pm - 8.30pm | The Belmont Filmhouse| £10 inc. bf | Book Tickets
We are delighted to welcome Gunnar Staalesen, one of the fathers of Nordic Noir, to Granite Noir to introduce a rare UK screening of Cold Hearts. After the film there will be a conversation and audience Q&A with Staalesen.
Sunday 26 February, 11.30am - 12.30pm | The Lemon Tree Studio | £7.50 inc. bf | Book Tickets
Cross Purpose heralds the arrival of a distinctive new voice, debut novelist Claire MacLeary. When Maggie Laird's disgraced husband, an ex cop, dies unexpectedly, her life is turned upside down. She is joined by acclaimed author Clio Gray who’s exciting new Scottish Mystery Trilogy begins with Deadly Prospects.
Tuesday 21 - Saturday 25 February, 6pm (Tue-Fri) and 1pm (Thu, Sat) | The Lemon Tree Studio | Book Tickets
£11 inc. bf - includes a pint, a glass of wine, or soft drink and pie (inc. veggie option)
Muriel and Lorraine are office cleaners. They make the nights pass by inventing lives for the workers whom they never meet, and are constantly threatened by post it notes from the tyrannical boss, Mr B. But what’s this? Mr B is discovered dead when the play opens. Who did it, and why? Award winning playwright Rona Munro was born in Aberdeen and has written extensively for stage, film, radio and television. Her breakthrough, Bold Girls, was produced by 7:84 Theatre Company. Most recently, she wrote The James Plays, which debuted at the Edinburgh International Festival.
A Play, A Pie and A Pint with a Doric dark side! Why not try our Granite Noir beer as your free drink as part of the ticket price? *Please note - PPP is not available as part of the weekend pass or discounts.
Saturday 25 February, 2pm - 3pm | Children’s Library | Book Tickets
FREE (Ticketed event so booking required)
Fancy writing a mystery but not sure where to start? Acclaimed author Vivian French leads budding writers on a hair-raising trip into Aberdeen’s past. Using an historical ‘Wanted’ poster from the city’s archives, you’ll create a participatory story that solves a 100-year-old-mystery. No pencil or paper needed, just bring your imagination! There are only 30 places for this workshop, so book early!
Sunday 26 February, 2pm - 3pm | Library | Book Tickets
FREE (Ticketed event so booking required)
Sharpen your pencils for a fun session with bestselling author and You Tube sensation Shoo Rayner, who promises: “If you can make a mark on a piece of paper, you can draw.” With his trademark wit and style, Rayner will demonstrate how to master basic drawing shapes so you can create creepy criminals. There are only 30 spaces available, so be sure to book early.
Sunday 26 February, 10.30am – noon | Library | £7.50 inc. bf | Book Tickets
John Bolland and Shane Strachan lead this exploration of the darker side of the North East, recounted in its own words. During the workshop you’ll have a chance to write flash fiction on coorse murther an ill-tricket swickery in Doric (or Aiberdein). Fyvie Confidential? Thi Mastrick Falcon? Fit tale’ll ye tell?
Sunday 26 February, 12:30pm - 1.30pm | Library | £7.50 inc. bf | Book Tickets
Two masters of the form, Elly Griffiths and S G MacLean, reveal their top tips for writing historical fiction, including how and where to do your research, when to stop swotting and start writing, how to keep facts from derailing your plot, the art of listening to your characters, and how to know when to deviate from the facts to keep the story moving.
Sunday 26 February, 2pm - 3pm | The Town House | £7.50 inc. bf | Book Tickets
Burgess, shipmaster and all-round rogue, David Dun had plenty of enemies in Medieval Aberdeen and appeared in court on a monthly basis. When he is found murdered you, as the town clerk with access to the town’s legal records, must attempt to work out which of Dun’s many enemies was behind the killing. Using real extracts from historic Aberdeen burgh records, this live narrative game will allow the audience, to vote on decisions and try to solve the crime!
To book visit the HMT or Lemon Tree box offices, call 01224 641122 or click on the links below and select the events you would like to attend.
Friday 24, 6pm - 7pm & Saturday 25 February, 1pm - 2pm | The Lemon Tree Lounge | Book Tickets
Muriel and Lorraine are office cleaners. They're the best, polishing a dazzling shine on everything while imagining the lives of the workers they never meet. But however hard they work, they can never get things clean enough to satisfy the tyrannical boss, Mr B. Then one morning they find the worst mess of all, Mr B's corpse. Who killed him, and why?
Secret Cities is a community led exploration of Aberdeen and activation of the archives through photography, community and skills development workshops. Acting as a catalyst to develop new heritage communities though old and new telling’s of space and place, Secret Cities is an engaging cultural project that brings together a range of audiences in collaboration to deliver a new exhibition created with the custodians of the hidden city.
Working with the UNESCO recognised City Archives, digital artist Andrew Brooks and poet/academic Adelle Stripe will research, explore, discuss, and document the lost, hidden and forgotten spaces of Aberdeen. Allowing participants with no previous skills in photography to contribute as effectively as professional photographers, Secret Cities will conclude with the production of 14 new large-scale photographs which will be installed throughout Aberdeen as part of Granite Noir and the hugely successful Spectra festival.
Pick up materials at The Lemon Tree Reception
Free Self-Guided Immersive Walk (Time: Roughly one hour)
A voice leads walkers through Aberdeen with a story that travels from the docks to the Music Hall, via six doorways. These portals to the past, present and future suggest the city might not be quite as it seems. Peepholes and cracks reveal multitudes. A curb reads X. Train tracks disappear underground. A white dog stares from a window. Each step measures the uncanny, the invisible and time adrift.
Walk with a map and downloadable audio. Make sure you’ve got your headphones, your device is charged up and you've downloaded the six tracks before starting the walk by clicking here. You can pick up a map from the foyer at His Majesty’s Theatre, the tourist information on Union Street and The Lemon Tree.
Part of the Stepping Out project. Written by Maya Chowdhry and Sarah Hymas
Belmont Filmhouse Cafe - Monday 6 - 28 February
17, Belmont Street - Tuesday 14 - Tuesday 28 February
In a time before Crimewatch and the photo-fit, police 'Wanted' posters were a common sight. They were one of the principle ways in which information about suspects, lost property or missing persons was disseminated. Their short-term purpose meant that they were often disposed of after the case had been solved. This exhibition draws on a collection of such posters that, instead of being thrown away once they had served their purpose, accumulated at Dufftown police station over many years and which now form part of the Grampian Police archive held by Aberdeen City & Aberdeenshire Archives.
They cover a multitude of cases from petty theft and stolen motor vehicles through to missing children and violent crimes, including some notorious cases of murder, including those commited by Dr. Crippen. They are fascinating social documents with each one telling a vivid story.