The eighth outing of Granite Noir, Aberdeen’s International Crime Writing Festival, has come to a close with organisers delighted with the success of the event, which returned with a packed programme of live events, workshops and conversations as well as film, spoken word and theatre performances.

Highlights included two appearances by Poirot himself, Sir David Suchet; the Aberdeen premiere of Sophie Hannah’s musical mystery film The Mystery of Mr E; a sell-out run of a specially commissioned production by local theatre company Ten Feet Tall and conversations with Alex Nye, Charles Cumming, Sophie White and Jean Kwok amongst many others.

Granite Noir is produced by Aberdeen Performing Arts on behalf of partners Aberdeen City Libraries and Aberdeen City & Aberdeenshire Archives. Ben Torrie, Director of Programming & Creative Projects at Aberdeen Performing Arts, said “We could not be more delighted with the response, once again, to the Granite Noir festival. It has grown into a hugely significant festival and a really popular fixture on both the local cultural calendar and the literature festival circuit in the UK. We’ve been joined by some of the finest writing and performance talent from Scotland, the UK and beyond, and our audiences have been thrilled, entertained, and inspired. The city of Aberdeen and its rich stories have been brought to life on stage and in exhibition, and residents and visitors alike have fallen in love with the Granite City. We are grateful to everyone who has joined us this year and helped create such a successful event, and we can’t wait to do it all again next year.”

Events across the Granite Noir programme, including the show at His Majesty’s, enjoyed an attendance of almost 16,500, which together with an additional 3,000 visits to the Gunpowder, Tattoos and Transportation exhibition at the Music Hall, brings the total 2024 Granite Noir audience to just under 20,000 making it the most popular Festival to date. The enthusiastic Aberdeen audience was swelled by visitors from all over Scotland and the UK and as far afield as France, Canada and the USA making it a truly international event.

Granite Noir welcomed over 60 participants to the festival including Marie Cassidy, Ireland’s first female state pathologist, Agnes Ravatn, Jørn Lier Horst and Sólveig Pálsdóttir, three of Scandinavia’s leading crime writers and Scottish crime fiction luminaries Denise Mina, Louise Welsh and Michael J Malone as well as award-winning authors Callum McSorley, Sophie White and D V Bishop. Kathryn Harkup returned with her popular Agatha Christie Poisoned Afternoon Teas and James Bond themed Cocktails. The Festival heard from Jackie Uí Chionna who unveiled the story of real life code-breaker Emily Anderson; Shane Strachan and Hannah Lavery who curated a lively evening of spoken word and an exciting selection of new voices in an event arranged in collaboration with the Scottish BPOC Writers Network. Granite Noir closed with a packed event featuring the internationally best-selling author Lisa Jewell.

The Locals in the Limelight strand showcased local unpublished authors who were offered the opportunity to read their work to the Granite Noir authors and audiences at the start of events. Emma McRuvie was announced as the winner of the inaugural Granite Noir Short Story Prize, run in conjunction with the Aberdeen Press & Journal, with her story Fenna.

Sharon Burgess, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Performing Arts, said: “Granite Noir has grown and evolved into a real flagship festival for the region. We were delighted to welcome authors and audiences from across the globe to experience the festival and our wonderful city. We are proud to attract famous names to Aberdeen for Granite Noir, but to also celebrate the talent right here on our doorstep. We were thrilled with Emma McRuvie winning our short story competition and got to see Calum McSorley back on our stage as an award-winning author having been a Local in the Limelight, which gives budding writers the chance to read their work to our audiences and established authors.

“There’s a huge wealth of talent out there and we are privileged to be able to support that with festivals like Granite


Gunpowder, Tattoos and Transportation, a free exhibition in The Music Hall, shone a light on the darker side of Victorian Aberdeen, through an extraordinary collection of documents drawn from the Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives. The exhibition explored the fascinating history of tattoos amongst the criminals and convicts who lived in and around Aberdeen in the late 19th century.

Granite Noir 2024 is supported by Aberdeen City Council and Funded by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

Councillor Martin Greig, Aberdeen City Council’s lead on culture, said: “This year’s Granite Noir festival has turned out to be a popular event attracting almost 20,000 visitors. It is good to see the enthusiasm and interest from all who took part at the talks, exhibitions, readings and films. The support that has been given to local authors has been a real highlight of the programme. Nurturing writing talent in our area has been an important activity of Granite Noir this year. I hope everyone enjoyed the festival."

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