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Aberdeen’s Granite Noir crime-writing festival makes a thrilling move online

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Granite Noir, Aberdeen’s acclaimed crime-fiction festival is moving online next year.

The hugely popular event will feature the best of home-grown and international talent from February 19 to 21 in a digital format, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, say producers Aberdeen Performing Arts.

The festival will offer both live and pre-recorded author conversations, panel discussions, creative workshops, and events for young people.  All events will be free to view and the full programme will be announced in the New Year.

Aberdeen Performing Arts chief executive, Jane Spiers, said the festival is a showcase for the best in crime fiction.

Aberdeen Performing Arts chief executive, Jane Spiers, said: “This has been a challenging year not only for live events but also for the publishing industry.  Granite Noir is a showcase for the very best in Scottish and international crime writing and also for the city of Aberdeen, and we wanted to follow on from the tremendous success of the 2020 Festival, even if we can’t welcome live audiences to our venues.

“We are looking forward to announcing a vibrant and exciting digital programme in January and welcoming audiences, albeit virtually, from all over the world to celebrate thrilling, murderous and mysterious crime fiction, in all its forms, with us.”

While the guest authors, experts, and events have yet to be announced, crime fiction fans will no doubt be in for a treat with the fifth Granite Noir, which is produced by Aberdeen Performing Arts.

Ian Rankin and Phill Jupitus in conversation at Granite Noir last year.

The festival has attracted some big hitters to Aberdeen in its previous four outings, including Rebus-creator Ian Rankin and VI Warshawski author Sara Paretsky, last year.

Two years ago the festival also boasted an evening with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, a self-confessed crime fan.

The festival features not only authors at the top of their game but also talks, exhibitions, music and even art events.

In previous years, its four-day run has attracted thousands of people.

Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council’s culture spokeswoman, said: “No one could have imagined what lay in store for us beyond February when we hosted our biggest and best Granite Noir yet. Just to show that you can’t keep a great festival down, I’m delighted to help announce that next year’s event will be taking place in February despite the challenge Covid-19 has set us.

Councillor Marie Boulton said you can’t keep a good festival down.

“Throughout 2020 Aberdeen City Council and our partners have risen to this challenge magnificently through the creative use of online technology to stay in touch and host great virtual events.

“Granite Noir, even in its digital format, will offer crime fans the world over the same marvellous range of great authors and exciting events thanks to this ingenuity. Indeed, we are looking forward to bringing Aberdeen’s much-loved crime fiction festival to the world via online technology and whet the appetite of fans wishing to visit Aberdeen when future events return to their original formats.”

Full programme details for Granite Noir 2021 will be announced in the New Year and details can be found at

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