A final update on the crime fiction event that took place in Iceland last weekend.
Ann Cleeves gave an interesting account of how her writing career had developed. What came across strongly was Ann’s love of storytelling and how success had come after many years of developing her craft. She revealed that she is hoping to arrange her own Shetland Noir event in the future which I’m sure will garner significant interest amongst crime fiction fans.
A panel on the future of publishing featured Penguin author James Oswald whose books were originally self- published, Quentin Bates and Icelandic writers Sigurjón Pálsson, Sólveig Pálsdóttir. Moderated by Zoe Sharp, the panel discussed the success of self published authors such as Oswald who have been successful in securing contracts with larger publishers. Oswald revealed that temporarily reducing the price of his books resulted in 50,000 people downloading his debut novel.
A fascinating interview with John Curran discussed the work that he had undertaken to edit Agatha Christie’s notebooks. Despite the deceptive simplicity of her writing, Christie planned her novels in great detail: Three Little Pigs, for example, had around 75 pages of notes. It sounded a gargantuan task that Curran had undertaken given Christie’s slightly chaotic way of thinking. Plot notes, for example, were followed by recipes and shopping lists. Curran revealed that Sophie Hannah’s new Poirot story won’t feature Miss Lemon or Inspector Japp.
Finally, a panel entitled The Perils of Translation featured Anna Yates who translates from Icelandic into English and Tina Flecken who translates from Icelandic into German. Both have translated Arnaldur Indridason’s books who was also on the panel. He emphasised the influence of Icelandic sagas on his writing, with their emphasis on telling the story and moving on with the plot.
So that’s the last word on Iceland Noir 2013. Many of us there are already rubbing our hands at the thought of 2014’s event. I hope to see many more writers, reviewers and readers there next year. It really was a blast. Thanks again to Markús Már Efraím for the photographs.