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There’s one thing you don’t hear discussed that often at literary festivals and that is : Literary Festivals. The phenomenon of literary and crime writing festivals is sweeping the nation so we decided to look into what goes on behind the scenes at these fabulous events. We’ll be covering such topics that include : what inspires someone to put together a festival ; how panels topics are decided upon ; how guests are chosen ; what benefit do they have to authors and guests and most importantly how to present the perfect experience for the audience. Festival organisers come from all walks of life from authors to academics so join Bob McDevitt (Bloody Scotland) ; Dr Jacky Collins (Dr Noir - Newcastle Noir / Edinburgh Noir at the Bar) ; Quentin Bates (Iceland Noir) & SJ Bradley (Northern Short Story Festival) as they discuss all facets of festivals with Morecambe & Vice’s very own Ben Cooper-Muir.

Bob McDevitt

Bob McDevitt has  worked in the book industry for almost 30 years including spells in book-selling (Waterstones and Ottakar’s) and publishing (Hachette).

He’s currently involved with three literary festivals, Winter Words in Pitlochry, Aye Write! in Glasgow and Bloody Scotland in Stirling.

When not running festivals, he is a photographer and published his first book, 101 Men in Kilts in 2017.

Dr Jacky Collins

Dr Jacky Collins (aka Dr Noir) is the founder and director of Newcastle Noir, the annual crime fiction festival that is held the first May Bank Holiday weekend in Newcastle upon Tyne. Inspired by Iceland Noir and the bigger UK crime fiction festivals, Jacky wanted to bring local, national and international crime writers together, so that people from the North East could enjoy a weekend together discussing all things crime fiction without having to travel far. Jacky is also responsible for the Edinburgh Noir at the Bar, a quarterly event where published, emerging and would-be authors get to read their work to a very appreciate audience.

Quentin Bates

Quentin Bates is the co-founder of the crime writing festival Iceland Noir with Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Ragnar Jonasson. He is one of the very few British authors who is writing Scandi Noir set in Iceland and who has a deep understanding of the place. He has been married to an Icelandic woman for 30 years and has spent nearly a decade living there.  Quentin’s debut novel, Cold Breath is the sixth novel featuring Quentin’s protagonist, Sergeant Gunnhildur and the series of novels she features in have their origins in a deep affection for Iceland and its people, and an intimate knowledge of Icelandic society and its language, customs and quirks. Quentin (or Graskeggur ‘grey beard’ as he’s affectionately known in Iceland) made his escape from suburbia at the end of the seventies as a gap year turned into a gap decade spent in the north of Iceland. He worked ashore and at sea before returning to England and, once finally ashore for good, drifted by accident into journalism and fiction. Today Quentin divides his time between the north of Iceland and the south of England.

S J Bradley

SJ Bradley is an award-winning writer from Leeds, UK, whose short fiction has been published in numerous journals & anthologies, including in Willesden Herald New Short Stories 7, and by Comma Press. She is a K Blundell Trust Award winner, and a Saboteur Award winner for her work as editor on Remembering Oluwale (Valley Press, 2016). She is director of the Northern Short Story Festival and her most recent novel, Guest, is out now and available from Dead Ink Books.

To check out some of these authors' books, visit our Recommended Reading page!