Granite Noir 2020 In Review

Our long-time writer and regular book reviewer, Dawn Geddes, enjoys a bloody good day at Aberdeen’s fourth international crime writing festival, Granite Noir…


Last weekend, I made my way to Aberdeen for the city’s fourth Granite Noir event. The much loved book festival was inspired by Scotland’s love of crime fiction and sees a whole host of macabre literary events taking place across Aberdeen, from author talks and plays to escape room adventures and poisoned cocktail parties.

Year on year, this crime writing festival gets better and better, and 2020 was no exception with big names such as American crime author Sara Paretsky, King of Tartan Noir Ian Rankin and husband and wife writing team Chris Brookmyre and Dr Marisa Haetzman, known as Ambrose Parry, all on the agenda.


We had press access to all the best Granite Noir events


On Saturday morning I arrived bright and early to pick up my press pass and made my way to my first talk of the day – Sex, Lies and Metafiction, featuring authors Denise Mina and Helen FitzGerald. Held at the Lemon Tree, this fascinating event looked at the authors most recent books, Conviction for Denise and Worst Case Scenario for Helen. What followed was a frank and compelling hour dissecting the criminal justice system and discussing what it’s like to write in the #MeToo era.

Next up, was something completely different – a discussion on Peterhead Prison by author and journalist Robert Jeffrey. The author, who penned the book, Peterhead: The Inside Story of Scotland’s Toughest Prison, was captivating as he recounted the institution’s grim history including stories about its infamous riots and former inmates Paddy Meehan, TC Campbell, Jimmy Boyle and Oscar Slater.


Event with CM Ewan and Sarah Lotz chaired by Jacky Collins


One of the best things about visiting a literary festival, is the opportunity to find out about authors you don’t know much about. My wild card event for the day was Also Known As, featuring two authors C.M. Ewan and Sarah Lotz, who write under variety of different names. This was a brilliant and intriguing hour, looking at the authors’ journeys, how they became published and the weird and wonderful directions their writing has taken them in.

As I made my way back to the train station afterwards, I was sad that I couldn’t stay and sample more of the amazing events that the festival had on offer. In just a few short hours, I’d experienced such a diverse range of writing talent, and that’s one of the things that really makes Granite Noir stand out from other festivals. With such a huge variety of events, this is a festival that really celebrates the crime writing genre in all it’s forms. At Granite Noir, there really is something for everyone.


Follow all the latest news and reviews from Granite Noir 2020 here >>