#YEAHNOIR

New Zealand’s First Crime Writing Festival - Rotorua Noir

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The last weekend of January 2019 saw dozens of crime writers descend upon Rotorua for New Zealand’s first crime writing festival.

The brain child of Craig Sisterson and Grant Nicol, the festival, coined RotoruaNoir, not only attracted authors from around New Zealand, but from around the world. Extraordinary authors such as Alex Gray from Scotland, Lilja Sigurðardóttir from Iceland, and Kati Hiekkapelto from Finland attended, together with Michael Robotham from Australia and New Zealand’s favourite crime writer, Paul Cleave.

RotoruaNoir follows on from the successful Bloody Scotland crime writing festival, and NewcastleNoir. And it didn’t disappoint.

Sold out three months before the event, the programme was filled with panels covering all aspects of the crime genre - small town settings, overseas influences, historical accuracy, police procedurals, genre blending, debut authors, and the launch of a new thriller by Josh Pomare.

I was invited to be part of the Genre Blenders panel, together with Tina Shaw, Jude Knight, and our panel convener Darise Bennington. Sadly Brynn Kelly couldn’t join us due to ill health. They say preparation is the key to success, and Darise had us all on a Skype call before the event discussing how we wanted the panel to go, some of the questions she should ask and to talk over key points of our panel discussion. I cannot stress how valuable that Skype session was. If you are ever invited to convene a panel, for anything, take the time to prep your panel. It makes a world of difference!

The event was utterly amazing, and invaluable. The amount of work that must have gone on behind the scenes to make it happen must be unfathomable. Full credit to Craig and Grant for pulling off an extraordinary event.

Meeting some of my favourite authors, both local and overseas, was a highlight. Reconnecting with old friends was fabulous. And making new friendships the biggest takeaway of all.

When Craig and Grant have recovered from the 2019 Rotorua Noir festival, and draft up the next one, buy your tickets straight away, as this is one writing festival you won’t want to miss.

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MURDER IN THE LIBRARY

Colonel Mustard in the library with a candlestick?

No, not that sort of murder!

Murder in the Library is an annual series of national events put on by the Ngaio Marsh Awards, in association with the New Zealand Book Council and Auckland Libraries, for book lovers featuring talented local crime writers. 

Ngaio Marsh Awards: "Over the past century, crime writing has evolved from puzzle-like reading into modern novels delving deeply into people, places, and psychology. Still the world's most popular form of storytelling, crime fiction can take readers into all aspects of society, providing page-turning entertainment and memorable characters while also addressing real-life social issues."

And this year, as well as a number of authors I know and admire, I'll be one of the panelists at the New Lynn Library in Auckland, on the 12th April 2018.

I remember attending a Murder in the Library event at the Takapuna Library in 2016 when novelist Ben Sanders was on the panel with Linda Olsson (one half of the Adam Sarafis pen name) and Ken Smith. At that stage I'd only published Fifteen Postcards, and I never imagined I'd one day be sitting on the other side of the table. I was there to soak up their advice and to hopefully glean some useful information I could use for The Last Letter which I was half way through writing. Also in the audience with me was author Madeleine Eskedahl.

This year we'll be discussing crafting authentic characters and narrative tension, and the impact of setting on tales of crime and mystery. Auckland lawyer and Ngaio Marsh Awards judge Darise Bennington will play referee and prosecute the offenders.

It's a free event, and it would be wonderful to see some familiar faces in the audience. xxx

MURDER IN THE LIBRARY

WHEN: Thursday, 12 April 2018
WHERE: New Lynn War Memorial Library, 3 Memorial Drive
WHEN: 6.15 for a 6.30pm panel discussion

This is a free event but you do need to RSVP.
RSVP to: jo.cocker@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz