New Zealand’s First Crime Writing Festival - Rotorua Noir
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.