Sunday, March 21, 2021

Hull Noir Online Crime Fiction Festival


Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the Hull Noir Online Crime Festival.  In light of how much I enjoyed it and how brilliantly produced it all was, I feel compelled to do a short write-up.  The brains behind this successful online event are Nikki East, Nick Quantrill, and Nick Triplow.  They are cleverly introduced on the Hull Noir web page under "You're Nicked."  A brief summary of this talented trio is that they all three have a connection to the city of Hull, either born there, lived there, or live there now.  Nick Q. and Nick T. are crime writers and solidly entrenched in a life of crime, so to speak.  Nikki E. has worn many hats in the publishing industry and her work with authors, and who is especially gifted in image production and promotion.  She and Sumaira Wilson began their own publishing company last year, SpellBound Books, with Nikki in the position of Creative Director.  So, the three Nicks set out to create the online Hull Noir, which turned out to be a smashing success.  This event reached over a dozen countries.

I'm going to briefly describe what the panels were about and who was on them.  As the videos will be available to view next week, you should really enjoy it without any spoilers.  The event began on Friday evening, March 19th, with author Peter Robinson in conversation with Nick Quantrill.  Now, that's how to start any festival, online or in-person.  On Saturday, Hull Noir continued with six to-die-for (hey, it's crime fiction we're talking about) panels.  They included: In Cold Blood, Get Carter and Beyond, Wish You Were Here, The Unusual Suspects, Look Back in Anger, and Watching the Detectives.  I list the participants of the panels below.  

"In Cold Blood" is a panel led by Liz Mistry and features two authors who are rather new to the crime scene and one who is a little less new.  The three authors are Alex North, Nell Pattison, and Russ Thomas, and they talk about their foray into the genre.

"Get Carter and Beyond" is a panel that, while celebrating the 50th anniversary of the film Get Carter, takes a look at Ted Lewis (on whose book the movie is based) and his influence.  Nick Triplow (biography of Lewis), Alan Parks, and Nick Quantrill are in good hands with Ali Harper as moderator.

"Wish You Were Here" is led by Jacky Collins and features Helen FitzGerald, Abir Mukherjee, and Marnie Riches.  Location is on the table here, with near and far being looked at for new insight.

 "The Unusual Suspects" puts the police detective under the microscope.  Derek Farrell grills Louise Beech, AA Dhand, and Harriet Tyce on their different detective protaganists.

"Look Back in Anger" looks at a favorite sub-genre of mine, historical crime fiction.  Ian McGuire, Laura Shepherd-Robinson, and Cathi Unsworth have a in-depth discussion on how the history we look back at often explains the here and now.  Rhiannon Ward runs the show here.

"Watching the Detectives" brings the house down with Mark Billingham and Chris Brookmyre, encouraged by moderator Luca Veste to give it their all.  They do.  Contemporary crime is their topic, and we are treated to a discussion of Mark's and Chris' books.  I think the kitchen sink was in there somewhere, too.  I know a rock band was.   

There was/is also a festival read.  It is Plender by Ted Lewis, first published 50 years ago.  Lewis might be better known to you as author of Jack's Return Home/Get Carter, from which the Michael Caine movie Get Carter (1974) originated.  Although Plender was also made into a movie (French, 2006), it remains lesser known.  And, all I know about any of Ted Lewis' work is that it goes to a darker side than I usually read.  Oh, and you can find a Hull Noir short film production of Plender on the Hull Noir YouTube channel.  I have not watched it, so I can't say enjoy or beware or run.   

As a final part of the festivities, a book launch for Anthrax Island by D.L. Marshall in an interview with Nick Quantrill on the Hull Noir YouTube channel tonight.  


I love British writers, and I was thrilled with hearing authors already known to me and learning of more authors beyond my regulars.  The assembly of the panels, authors and moderators, was perfection itself.  There was a comfortable connection, and the questions were outstanding from the moderators.  Consistency of excellence was assured by the setup and the participants.  I am so excited about adding books to my toppling TBR pile, and I can't wait to meet these fabulous authors in person one of these days soon.  Don't forget that you can watch Hull Noir 2021 on their YouTube channel listed above.  It is so worth the time you take to tune in.

I also want to mention that events like Hull Noir take a lot of work and need funds to support them.  Hull Noir is dependent on the Arts Council and donations to keep going.  To ensure future Hull Noir events, there is a "donate" button on the web site page, .  I encourage you to make a donation, and I'm sure after you see the videos of these panels and the Peter Robinson interview, you will be happy to do so.  Hull Noir began in 2017 when the city of Hull, England was chosen as the country's City of Culture, as part of the celebration of the area.  Funds were raised to sponsor another Hull Noir in 2020, but we all know what happened then.  Postponed to 2021 in anticipation of a live event being possible again, gears had to be switched to an online event, like so many events this past year.  The plan is to next produce a hybrid event, with live and online panels, and that's where the donations will help so much.

A quick mention, too, that The BookCase was the bookstore for the event and has a limited number of signed book plates for books.  Their link is  Of course, using the bookstore of your choice is always good, too.

Now, I'm off to order some great new books to continue keeping my UPS person busy. 






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