Granite Noir – Where nordic crime comes to life

at venues across Aberdeen

Crime festival Granite Noir returns to Aberdeen with a special selection of top Nordic crime authors.


Editors note: Sadly Jørn Lier Horst has cancelled his event at Granite Noir. The festival is working on a replacement for the author.

There is no doubt that Scandinavian crime is popular throughout the UK and the rest of the world. Grand slam TV-series like The Killing and The Bridge alongside crime authors like Jo Nesbø and Stieg Larsson has truly put the Scandinavian crime scene in the spotlight.

This year, crime festival Granite Noir returns for the second time in Aberdeen where brilliant writers from far and wide will share insights into their work through author talks and panels, while aspiring authors can hone their craft at special writing workshops. Alongside some of Scotland’s most famous crime authors, the festival has a special focus on Scandinavian crime, with a heavy representatives of Nordic Authors.

“Scandinavia has a rich literary heritage, but it feels as if it’s only recently, through television and publishers bringing us works in translation, that Britain’s been able to learn more about our near neighbours. We love what we’re discovering”, Lee Randall, programmer of the author strand for Granite Noir, tells Norwegian Arts. “Though it’s an over-generalisation, I have a hunch that life today is so hectic, it’s a relief to settle into the slower rhythms of Scandi crime fiction, where psychology and process are the focus—and lingered over.”

Granite Noir fest 2017

“We recognise Scandinavia—the homes, the people, and the social issues are largely familiar”, says Lee Randall, programmer of the author strand. Photo: Granite Noir

Representing Norway this year; Torkild Damhaug, Thomas Enger and Jørn Lier Horst are three well-known authors to the crime scene. Granite Noir is a newcomer with a very specific goal – to shine light on some of the darkest fiction out there, which presumably seems to be Norwegian.

“We recognise Scandinavia—the homes, the people, and the social issues are largely familiar”, says Randall who mentions that both Scottish and Scandinavian crime fiction are justifiably famous for exploring not only crime, but its roots, giving a lot of attention to the ills plaguing society, which contribute to certain types of crime.

As for this year’s Norwegian contributors, Lee Randall talks about Thomas Enger as a “friend of the festival” having joined Granite Noir in their debut year.

Granite Noir fest 2017. Thomas Enger.

Norwegian author Thomas Enger returns to Granite Noir this February. Photo: Granite Noir

“Thomas isn’t just terrific writer, he’s an equally talented composer, and will be playing his original compositions as well as talking about his writing process.” Why they chose Torkild Damhaug, Randall has more than one answer too;

“Torkil Damhaug is another man of many interests. He studied medicine, training in psychiatry. Who better to take part in a panel devoted to that most popular of sub-genres, psychological noir? I leapt at the chance to bring him to Aberdeen, and look forward to finding out how his insider knowledge informs his fiction”, he says and continues; “Similarly, Jørn Lier Horst is a Former Senior Investigating Officer whose police procedurals combine political and social commentary with pacy mysteries. He’s on a panel with Sarah Ward, an aficionado of Scandi crime and one of the founders of the Petronas Award, and Mari Hannah, a former probation officer whose career was cut short following an assault on duty. When I see a chance to create conversations like that, I leap at it!”

Jørn Lier Horst Gyldendal

Author Jørn Lier Horst will attend this years Granite Noir. Photo:

According to Lesley Anne Rose, Head of Artistic Development at Aberdeen Performing Arts, this years festival will showcast everything from contemporary crime fiction writers at the top of their game to emerging local writers honing their craft. Author conversations aimed at delving deep into the criminal mind and craft of writing form the backbone of the programme.

“We aim to have fun with crime over the festival and have curated a host of events from interactive walking tours, to poisoned cocktail parties to pub quizzes and film screenings,” Rose tells Norwegian Arts and concludes; “To top it off we’ve created Granite Noir TV – a continuous online experience of the festival over the Granite Noir weekend.”

Granite Noir fest 2017

“We aim to have fun with crime over the festival“ says Lesley Anne Rose, Head of Artistic Development at Aberdeen Performing Arts. Photo: Granite Noir

Be sure to not miss this spine-chilling event. Granite Noir will display from 23-25 February 2018.

When to see the Norwegian program:

Sunday 25 of February

Petrifying Psychological Noir With Torkil Damhaug and Louise Voss from 10.30-11.30 at The Lemon Tree Studio

May the (Police) Force Be With You With Sarah Ward, Mari Hannah and Jørn Lier Horst from 18.30-19.30 at The Lemon Tree Studio

Words and Music Scandi Style. An Evening with Thomas Enger from 20-21 at The Lemon Tree Lounge




Venues across Aberdeen




23-25 February



8-10 £. Book here.

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