Granite Noir 2021 Brochure

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Aberdeen’s international crime writing festival Now online for 2021 @granitenoirfest #gn2021 #YCW2021


welcome Welcome to Granite Noir 2021, online this year and staying true to everything that’s best about the festival. We have Jo Nesbo and Camilla Lackberg leading our Nordic contingent, Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride and Peter May representing the cream of Scottish crime writing, David Baldacci joining us live from Virginia and Attica Locke in Los Angeles. We have authors, bloggers and podcasters, headliners and our Bold New Voices Panel featuring the ones to watch . With the festival’s roots steeped firmly in the stories, history and heritage of Aberdeen and the North-east, we are delving into the city and shire archives again to bring you our Criminal Portraits webinar and Isla Traquair, also known in podcast land as The Storyteller, digs deep into two notorious murders in the North-east. We bring you a very special collaboration with the Backlisted Podcast and Val McDermid to celebrate Josephine Tey’s 125th anniversary and Peter May talks about his novel Lockdown, about a deadly global flu pandemic, written 15 years ago, and rejected for its unrealistic storyline. Be part of Granite Noir 2021 from the comfort of your own home, as we delve into the heart of darkness with a thrilling line up of events to celebrate crime fiction, in all its forms.


Granite Noir is produced by Aberdeen Performing Arts on behalf of Belmont Filmhouse, Aberdeen City Libraries and Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives.

contents Friday 19 February ....................................... 4-6 Murder at the Museum - Locked Door Game..... 7 Saturday 20 February................................. 8-15 Sunday 21 February................................. 16-22 Crimewatch Film Recommendations............. 23 About our Chairs........................................... 24 Incident Room - Plan your weekend.............. 26 North by North-east - Exhibition.................... 27 Granite Noir At-a-glance................................ 28 Support Us.................................................... 29 Our Partners and Supporters......................... 30

donate How to connect... All events will be streamed from on their set date and time. To view simply visit the webpage, sit back and watch!

WE’RE DELIGHTED TO BRING YOU GRANITE NOIR 2021 FREE OF CHARGE If you would like to support Aberdeen Performing Arts and culture in the North-east of Scotland please visit



belmont street, aberdeen Image: VisitScotland / Kenny Lam 4

Friday 19 February, 7pm

Chaired by Fiona Stalker

The Police Procedural is Dead! Long Live the Police Procedural! Stuart MacBride and Ian Rankin

FREE TO VIEW Fiction is a dedicated follower of fashion, and every few years one genre (or sub-genre) bubbles up to prominence, while another’s declared dead in the water. Except that’s not really how we read, is it crime lovers? Here to discuss why stories about cops chasing baddies will never join the choir invisible are two of Scotland’s finest practitioners, Ian Rankin and Stuart MacBride. Between them they’ve sold millions of books earning their places at the forefront of the tsunami that is Tartan Noir. Stuart MacBride’s newest Ash Henderson thriller, The Coffinmaker’s Garden, starts with a storm that reveals human remains buried in someone’s garden. How many people are buried there? And can the authorities retrieve the remains before the storm sweeps them out to sea?

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In A Song for the Dark Times, Ian Rankin’s most recent Rebus novel, the ex-detective speeds to the edge of Scotland to help his daughter who is distraught that her husband’s gone missing. But is he going as a father, or as a detective? And is this domestic drama linked to a case Siobhan and Malcolm are investigating back in the capital.

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Friday 19 February, 8.30pm

A Voice of America

Chaired by Alex Clark

Attica Locke

FREE TO VIEW Attica Locke is one of America’s most exciting writers, whose work not only encompasses awardwinning novels, but writing and producing for television, including Netflix’s When They See Us and Hulu’s Little Fires Everywhere, and an upcoming adaptation of Waiting to Exhale. Heaven My Home is the thrilling follow-up to the Edgar Award-winning Bluebird, Bluebird. It finds Texas Ranger Darren Matthews on the hunt for a missing boy whose family are infamous white supremacists. It’s set in a small town whose economy thrives on nostalgia for the ante-bellum era, a place where that era’s racism still thrives. In his race to save the boy, Darren has to battle centuries-old suspicions and prejudices, while facing fresh threats reignited by America’s current political climate. NB: This event was pre-recorded. There will not be audience Q&A.

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an online escape game GREAT FOR 2-6 PLAYERS

Friday 19 - Sunday 21 February

MURDER AT THE MUSEUM World-famous archaeologist Gustavo Jenson has been found dead at The Granite City Museum. Foul play is suspected so Detective Sullivan has been called in to solve the mystery and discover who the murderer is but she can’t do it alone; your team must solve a variety of puzzles in order to crack the case! This game requires two teams. Particularly good for 2 players! Suitable for up to 6 players. Special Granite Noir Price £5 per game

Find out more here...



kings college chapel, aberdeen Image: VisitScotland / Kenny Lam 8

Saturday 20 February, 10am


Chaired by Theresa Talbot

Femi Kayode, Susie Yang and Saima Mir FREE TO VIEW It’s always exciting meeting the bestsellers of the future, and we’re delighted to showcase three debut authors whose novels are some of the hottest properties around. Femi Kayode trained as a clinical psychologist before working in advertising. He won the UEA/Little Brown Award for Lightseekers, the first book in a terrific new international crime series featuring investigative psychologist Philip Taiwo. Susie Yang’s debut, White Ivy, tells the story of Ivy Lin, a Chinese immigrant in America who’s desperate to assimilate with her peers. Susie Yang received a doctorate of pharmacy, then launched a tech start-up in San Francisco, while studying creative writing. After living in the US, Europe, and Asia, she now resides in the UK.

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Order your copy now

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Saima Mir is an award-winning journalist who grew up in Bradford. The Khan, her thrilling crime debut, introduces Jia Khan, a successful lawyer whose father was both head of the northern Pakistani community she grew up in, and the force behind its organised crime syndicate.

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Saturday 20 February, 12pm

WORKSHOP: Character-Building For Series Writers With D.V. Bishop

FREE TO ATTEND/TICKETED Characters are the driving force in any story, even more so when you’re planning out a series featuring a recurring cast. How do you create characters that capture readers’ imaginations - and that will sustain a series of novels? In this bespoke workshop for Granite Noir, novelist and creative writing tutor David (D. V.) Bishop explores different ways to conceive and build a character that lasts. How much do you need to know about your characters before you start writing? And how much should you share with readers? D.V. Bishop is an award-winning screenwriter and TV dramatist whose love of Florence and the Renaissance inspired his crime fiction debut, City of Vengeance, which won the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland 2018. NB: This workshop is 90 minutes long. You must be aged 16 or older to attend. Only 18 spaces. Book early to secure your place.

Book your place here...


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Saturday 20 February, 2pm

Paying it Forward

Chaired by Bryan Burnett

Will Dean, Catherine Ryan Howard, S.J. Watson FREE TO VIEW To outsiders, success can look meteoric and instantaneous - but we know it’s about hard work, talent, and yes, a dash of luck. Join us for an hour with three superstars who go from strength to strength. Find out how they’ve handled success, and their ongoing outreach efforts to help others up the ladder, designed to inspire anyone who’s stuck, or new writers at the start of their careers. Will Dean writes the acclaimed Tuva Moodyson mysteries, set in Sweden. But his newest, The Last Thing To Burn, is a standalone novel, a claustrophobic, horrifying story about human trafficking and domestic abuse.

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Order your copy now

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Catherine Ryan Howard is the Queen of High Concept, whose most recent book, The Nothing Man, was a #1 Irish Times bestseller and shortlisted for Irish Crime Novel of the Year 2020. S.J. Watson’s debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, was an international success, selling more than 6M copies worldwide. The film of the book starred Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth. His latest, Final Cut, is a tense, mature exploration of his fascination with memory, narrative and identity.

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Saturday 20 February, 3pm

Celebrating Josephine Tey’s 125th Anniversary

Backlisted Podcast at Granite Noir Andy Miller, John Mitchinson, and special guest Val McDermid FREE TO VIEW

Inverness-born Josephine Tey (real name Elizabeth MacKintosh), was a popular Golden Age crime writer. Her first novel, The Man in the Queue (1929), introduced Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard. The most famous Inspector Grant mystery, 1951’s The Daughter of Time, was voted the greatest mystery novel ever written by The British Crime Writers’ Association. Bestselling author Val McDermid, an ardent fan of Tey’s work, has chosen Miss Pym Disposes as the centrepiece of this collaboration between Backlisted podcast and Granite Noir. McDermid’s most recent novel, her 40th, is the bestselling Still Life. Backlisted Podcast - which has topped a million downloads, and was recently chosen as one of Oprah Magazine’s best book podcasts - is dedicated to old books, and hosted by John Mitchinson and Andy Miller. We’re delighted to welcome them to Granite Noir. Join this event here...


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Saturday 20 February, 4pm

Righting Wrongs

Chaired by Janet Smyth

Katherine Rundell

For ages 9+

FREE TO VIEW Arriving in NYC from England, Vita Marlowe finds out her beloved grandfather has been cheated out of his home and possessions by a notorious conman. Desperate to see him happy again, she devises a plan to outwit his enemies. She finds a young pickpocket, working the streets of the city. And, nearby, two boys with highly unusual skills and secrets of their own are about to be pulled into a lawless, death-defying plan. This is the story of a special heist, pulled off by a group of children who’ll do anything to right a wrong. Katherine Rundell is the bestselling author of five children’s novels, for which she has won the Costa Children’s Book Award, the Blue Peter Book Award and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize amongst many others. She spent her childhood in Africa and Europe, and attended the University of Oxford. As well as writing, she studies Renaissance literature, and, as a direct result of writing The Good Thieves, she’s honing her skills on the flying trapeze.

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Saturday 20 February, 6pm

Chaired by Alex Clark

Enter The Gilded Cage Camilla Läckberg FREE TO VIEW

Granite Noir welcomes the Queen of Swedish Crime Fiction, bestselling author Camilla Läckberg, whose books have sold over 28 million copies worldwide. A former economist, Läckberg grew up in Fjällbacka, a small fishing community located on the west coast, almost exactly halfway between Uddevalla and Strömstad. Her Fjällbacka novels were adapted for television in 2012, and the following year saw the premiere of the film The Hidden Child, based on the fifth book in the Fjällbacka series. Her newest novel, The Gilded Cage, is a gripping psychological thriller hailed by the New York Times Book Review as, “Smart, unflinching… [a] novel of female empowerment and triumph over the patriarchy.” It’s the story of a woman who seems to have it all - and what she’s willing to do to protect that seemingly perfect life.

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Saturday 20 February, 8pm

Chaired by Jacky Collins

An Audience with Jo Nesbo FREE TO VIEW

Jo Nesbo is one of the world’s bestselling crime writers, and the creator of Harry Hole, one of the most intriguing characters in crime fiction. He’s an international number one bestseller whose books are published in 50 languages, selling over 33 million copies around the world. Before becoming a crime writer, Nesbo played football for Norway’s premier league team Molde, but injury put paid to that career. After three years’ military service he attended business school and formed the band Di derre (Them There). They topped the charts in Norway while Nesbo worked a day job as a financial analyst. When commissioned to write a memoir about life on the road with his band, he came up with the plot for his first Harry Hole novel instead. The rest, as they say, is history! Nesbo’s most recent novel, The Kingdom, the story of two brothers coping with a devastating family legacy, is a simmering, complex thriller delivering shocks and surprises at every turn.

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The old fishing village of FootDee, aberdeen Image: VisitScotland / Kenny Lam 16

Sunday 21 February, 11am

Chaired by Janet Smyth

All Aboard the Mystery Train! Meet M.G. Leonard

For ages 7+


M. G. Leonard is an award-winning, bestselling writer whose books have been translated into over forty languages, and a TV series based on her Beetle Boy trilogy is in development. Together with co-writer Sam Sedgman, she launched the Adventures on Trains series in 2020, which first found Harrison Beck and his travel-writer uncle visiting the Highlands in pursuit of a jewel thief. The newest in the series, Murder on the Safari Star, finds the crime-solving duo making the journey of a lifetime on a safari train from Pretoria to Victoria Falls. Seeing Africa’s amazing wild animals from the sumptuous comfort of a luxurious steam train would be exciting enough, but when a passenger is found murdered in a locked compartment, it’s up to Hal, along with his new friend Winston and his pet Mongoose Chipo, to solve the mystery.

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Sunday 21 February, 12:30pm

Criminal Portraits: A Closer Look (Webinar) Phil Astley FREE TO VIEW Mugshots are a fascinating snapshot of social history, conveying an immediate glimpse of the personality, appearance and vulnerability, or otherwise, of the subject in front of the camera. They prompt many questions: what crime had the person committed? Was it their first offence? Where were they originally from? Where in Aberdeen did they live following their release? The “Criminal Portraits” blog (https://criminalportraits. started in February 2020 following the public interest in a Granite Noir exhibition which had featured a number of such photographs from the “Register of Returned Convicts for Aberdeen” held by Aberdeen City & Aberdeenshire Archives. The author, City Archivist Phil Astley, wanted to dig deeper into the backgrounds of these criminals using contemporary newspaper reports, census data and other records that could add proverbial colour to the sepia prints. For Granite Noir 2021, join Phil online for a webinar which will take an even closer look at a selection of these criminal portraits and the Victorian Aberdeen of which they were a part.

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Sunday 21 February, 2pm

Chaired by Theresa Talbot

Stranger Than Fiction?

Behind the scenes at The Storyteller and Crime Noir Isla Traquair and Candice Gaines FREE TO VIEW True crime podcasts have captured the public’s imagination, but how are they made? Join international television host, producer, and journalist Isla Traquair, of The Storyteller, and Candice Gaines, of Crime Noir, as they reveal how they do what they do, and why! We’ll be asking how they choose which cases to delve into, and what kind of research is involved. We’ll examine how they turn all that information into a compelling narrative, and why they chose the podcast format to connect with audiences. The Storyteller: For her second series, Violent Delights, Isla Traquair returned to north east Scotland to uncover the dark truths of one of the most sensational cases in recorded criminal history.

Investigate the podcasts

Investigate the podcasts

Crime Noir: Candice Gaines, who has a degree in forensic science, created her podcast in 2019 to spotlight media neglect in covering crimes committed against the black community.

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Sunday 21 February, 4pm

Vengeful Hearts

Chaired by Alex Clark

Stina Jackson, Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir, Lesley Kara FREE TO VIEW Mary Higgins Clark said, “When someone is mean to me, I just make them a victim in my next book.” Join our panel of writers as they discuss the allure - and dangers - of revenge, and explain how they’ve explored this in their work.

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Stina Jackson’s The Silver Road was an international bestseller and won the Best Swedish Crime Novel Award of 2018. Her new book, The Last Snow, is set in a forgotten corner of Lapland in northernmost Sweden, finds Liv Bjornlund living in derelict house with her teenage son and ageing father. He’s made enemies over the years, and someone wants back what is rightfully theirs. Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir’s The Creak on the Stairs was a #1 bestseller in her native Iceland, and won the Blackbird Award for new Icelandic crime writers. It’s a claustrophobic and chilling debut thriller that begins when the body of a woman is discovered at a lighthouse in the Icelandic town of Akranes. Both Lesley Kara’s debut, The Rumour, and its follow up, Who Did You Tell, were Sunday Times bestsellers. In The Dare she tells the story of Lizzie, who lost her best friend when they were teens, in what she believes was a terrible accident though she has no memory of the event.

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Sunday 21 February, 6pm

Going Viral

Chaired by Bryan Burnett

Peter May

FREE TO VIEW Bestselling Scottish author Peter May has seen his career encompass successes and setbacks, both as the author of award-winning novels and the force behind popular television programmes. Now, having sold more than 4.5M books worldwide, he’s at the forefront of international crime writing. He’ll talk about his fascinating career, and the two recent books whose stories pivot on the timely theme of how humanity behaves in times of tremendous upheaval. Lockdown is set against the background of a deadly influenza pandemic. Written in 2005, the novel was rejected by publishers as being unrealistic. During the COVID-19 pandemic this prescient book was finally published.

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Order your copy now

May’s upcoming (March 2021) novel, The Night Gate, is a dual narrative tracking murders that occur more than 70 years apart in Paris. This high octane thriller plays out against the backdrop of real events in 1940s Occupied France, and in contemporary France, poised to return to COVID lockdown in the autumn of 2020. At the heart of both crimes is DaVinci’s enigmatic, unforgettable Mona Lisa.

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Sunday 21 February, 8pm

Chaired by Lee Randall

High Stakes Conspiracies

In Conversation with David Baldacci FREE TO VIEW Granite Noir is excited to welcome American author David Baldacci - a global #1 bestselling author, and one of the world’s favourite storytellers - for his first appearance at the festival. His books are published in over 45 languages and in more than 80 countries, with 150 million copies sold worldwide, and have been adapted for films and television. His established links to government sources give his books added authenticity. With his wife, he’s the cofounder of the Wish You Well Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting literacy efforts across America. He talks to festival programmer Lee Randall about his life and work, and delves into the conclusion of his thrilling Atlee Pine trilogy, featuring a unique FBI agent on a personal mission of discovery. In Daylight, Pine teams up with her old friend John Puller, chasing fresh clues about the disappearance of her twin sister, Mercy. Their pursuit pulls back layers of deceit, lies and cover-ups that strike at the very heart of global democracy.

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Film Recommendations Detour (dir. Edgar G. Ulmer) on YouTube (Public Domain), Amazon Prime A lean 68-minute masterclass in fatalism, with superb performances by relatively unknown performers. Down-on-his-luck Al Roberts (Tom Neal) hitchhikes his way to California. When his lift suddenly dies from a heart attack, Al decides the most logical thing to do is of course... identity theft. Too Late for Tears

(dir. Bryon Haskin)

on YouTube (Public Domain), Amazon Prime Lizabeth Scott gives a vivid performance as the devious Jane Palmer. The screenplay was written by Roy Huggins and developed from a serial he wrote for the Saturday Evening Post. The film follows Jane and Alan Palmer who stumble upon a bag of cash on a lonely highway.

Angel Face

(dir. Otto Preminger)

currently on iPlayer Jean Simmons plays the mysterious femme fatale Diane Tremayne. Soon after the untimely death of her stepmother (Barbara O’Neil), Diane pursues the handsome Frank Jessup (Robert Mitchum). Before long, Frank starts to succumb to her charms but he quickly suspects that she may have had more to do with her stepmother’s death than she leads him to believe.


about our chairs 24

Janet Smyth is Deputy Head of Learning & Engagement at the National Galleries of Scotland, with responsibility for programmes seeking to overcome barriers to active participation in the Galleries. Previous to this, Janet was a Programme Director at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, responsible for children, school and community programmes. She is also a programme consultant with Bath Festivals and with Boswell Book Festival.

Lee Randall is the programmer for Granite Noir. She has worked in trade publishing, as a journalist, and is a frequent chair at book events throughout the UK.

Fiona Stalker is a BBC Scotland journalist and presenter. She presents Seven Days and The Seven on the BBC Scotland channel, Friday Drive Time on BBC Radio Scotland and is one of the presenters of BBC Scotland’s new Sunday politics programme. She loves climbing, sharks and crime fiction.

Bryan Burnett is one of Scotland’s best-known media personalities, mainly due to the many shows he has presented for BBC Radio Scotland and Scottish TV. He is the presenter of BBC Radio Scotland’s drivetime show, Get It On. Born and raised in Aberdeen, Bryan is delighted to return to Granite Noir as a host again in 2021.

Dr Jacky Collins aka Dr Noir, formerly Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University in Literature, is currently based at Stirling University. In 2014 she established Newcastle Noir. More recently, she has been co-hosting a fortnightly crime fiction programme on SpiceFM, hosting on-line literary events and is part of the Corylus Books team, a new indie publisher of crime fiction in translation, from Romania, Iceland and beyond.

Alex Clark is a journalist and broadcaster, often seen in the pages of the Guardian, the Observer and the Times Literary Supplement, and heard on BBC R4 programmes such as Front Row and Open Book. An experienced chair of live events, she has also worked as an artistic director at the Bath Festival and the Cambridge Literary Festival. The literary awards she has judged include the Man Booker Prize and the Orwell Prize.

Theresa Talbot is a crime writer, radio broadcaster, podcaster and gardener. She is best known as the voice of traffic and travel for BBC Radio Scotland, and host of The Tartan Noir Show podcast. In a broadcasting career spanning 25 years, she’s covered The Dunblane Tragedy, the death of Princess Diana and the case of Harold Shipman, among others.


incident room plan your own virtual festival weekend • JOIN the Granite Noir events your friends to join in and WATCH • Encourage Why not arrange a Zoom call with them to CHAT about the talks?

• MAKE your own Granite Noir Poison Cocktails the Granite Noir discussions in our GN • Join POST MORTEMS on Twitter US your watch party photos by using • StheHOW#gn2021 26

North By North-east photography exhibition Aberdeen and Granite Noir are interwoven by a series of characteristics; history, atmosphere, architecture, scenery and people. With the North By North-east exhibition, we highlight how the city provides the perfect backdrop for the festival and is intrinsic to its success. Welcome to Aberdeen… the perfect stage for Granite Noir.

View from Fri 19 February at


granite noir 2021 at a glance Friday 19 February 7pm


Stuart MacBride and Ian Rankin Chaired by Fiona Stalker 8.30pm A Voice of America Attica Locke

Chaired by Alex Clark

Saturday 20 February 10am Bold New Voices Femi Kayode, Susie Yang and Saima Mir Chaired by Theresa Talbot 12pm

WORKSHOP: Character-Building For Series Writers

With D.V. Bishop

2pm Paying it Forward Will Dean, Catherine Ryan Howard, S.J. Watson Chaired by Bryan Burnett 3pm Celebrating Josephine Tey’s 125th Anniversary Backlisted Podcast at Granite Noir Andy Miller, John Mitchinson, and special guest Val McDermid 4pm 28

Righting Wrongs

Katherine Rundell

Ages 9-11 Chaired by Janet Smyth

6pm 8pm

Enter The Gilded Cage

Camilla Läckberg

Chaired by Alex Clark

An Audience with Jo Nesbo

Chaired by Jacky Collins

Sunday 21 February 11am All Aboard the Mystery Train! Ages 7-10 Meet M.G. Leonard Chaired by Janet Smyth 12:30pm Criminal Portraits: A Closer Look Phil Astley (Webinar)

Stranger Than Fiction? Behind the scenes at The Storyteller and Crime Noir 2pm

Isla Traquair and Candice Gaines Chaired by Theresa Talbot

4pm Vengeful Hearts Stina Jackson, Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir, Lesley Kara Chaired by Alex Clark 6pm

Going Viral

Peter May, in conversation with Bryan Burnett

8pm High Stakes Conspiracies In Conversation with David Baldacci Chaired by Lee Randall Friday 19 – Sunday 21 February Murder at the Museum Locked Door Online Escape Game 2

We would like to thank Aberdeen City Council, Creative Scotland and EventScotland for their funding support for Granite Noir.

Granite Noir is produced by Aberdeen Performing Arts on behalf of Belmont Filmhouse, Aberdeen City Libraries and Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives.

We would like to thank GloCast for their support with running the livestreams and recordings. We are also indebted to Waterstone’s for their enthusiastic support. @granitenoirfest #gn2021 #YCW2021


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