Region’s largest celebration of crime writing goes digital in 2020

  • Attica Locke, US writer and screenwriter

The region’s largest annual celebration of crime writing will continue as planned this year – in an online format with a host of free events for everyone to enjoy!

Organised by the National Centre for Writing and the University of East Anglia, Noirwich Crime Writing Festival usually takes place in September across some of Norwich’s most treasured venues: the National Centre for Writing at Dragon Hall, Jarrold and the University of East Anglia. This year it moves online between 10 – 13 September with a programme of live Q&As, interactive creative writing workshops, a virtual book group and discussion panels. All events (excluding writing workshops) will be free to watch or join.

Henry Sutton, Professor of Creative Writing and Crime Fiction at the University of East Anglia said:

'Crime writing has always been of the moment – as we adapt to a new virtual world our programme has an added urgency, pertinence and crucially accessibility. These are important voices for a complicated time. We hope Noirwich 2020 will engage new audiences and create the widest possible community of readers and writers.'

One hotly anticipated event will be the Noirwich Lecture, presented by acclaimed US writer and screenwriter Attica Locke. Locke’s writing explores race, prejudice and the anxieties of Trump’s America, and her hard-hitting commission is expected to tackle structural inequalities at an individual and global level; drawing on examples from her own writing including Blackwater Rising, which investigates the enormous power of oil companies. Previous Noirwich Lectures have been delivered by Val McDermid on gender and violence, George Alagiah on environmental destruction and Arne Dahl on crime and class.  

Peggy Hughes, Programme Director at the National Centre for Writing said:

‘Crime fiction has never felt so important – for diverting and thrilling readers in huge numbers during these complicated days, but also for exploring the fractures in a society made more divided by this pandemic. We're really thrilled that Attica Locke will deliver this year's lecture, and that her words and ideas, and those of many other brilliant participants, will reach an international listenership as we move online. We hope you'll join us!’

The 2020 line-up also includes:
• An event with Oyinkan Braithwaite, the author behind the sensational My Sister the Serial Killer (shortlisted for the 2019 Women’s Prize)
• The opportunity to have a go at writing your own page-turner with two informal, fun creative writing workshops led by true crime expert Duncan Campbell and acclaimed historical fiction writer Elizabeth Haynes
• A special celebration of 50 years of creative writing at UEA featuring alumni students Jill Dawson (The Crime Writer) and Trevor Wood (The Man on the Street)
• An event with Olivier Norek, a serving police officer and writer on the hit French TV series Spiral
• A Virtual Book Club focusing on Attica Locke’s celebrated novel Bluebird, Bluebird

The programme will also include a showcase of the freshest new voices in crime writing from UEA’s MA programme and a special podcast with New York Times best-selling writer Sophie Hannah.

Noirwich Crime Writing Festival will take place on 10 – 13th September 2020. All events (excluding the writing workshops) are free, however booking is essential. For the full programme and ticket information, see and follow @NOIRwichFest on Twitter.

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