Winners of Shetland Noir writing competition announced.

Posted by on September 21st, 2015 Comments Off on Winners of Shetland Noir writing competition announced.


Web-image-noirShetland Arts are delighted to announce the winners of the Shetland Noir Competition for writing Crime Fiction.

Entrants were required to write a piece of crime fiction of between 500 and 1000 words in length which included the following ingredients: At least one corpse, or part thereof; one darkened room; at least one Nordic reference; blood; the misuse of at least one kitchen utensil; a telephone that rings unanswered.

The story was judged by a panel of three: author, Ann Cleeves, Karen Fraser of Shetland Library and Louise Graham of Orkney Library. All three were unanimous in their appreciation of the quality of the writing they encountered. Ann Cleeves said, “All the shortlisted stories were of such a high standard that they were a joy to read. I look forward to meeting the winner!”

In first place and winner of the Jimmy Perez Trophy is Helen Grant, now resident in Crieff.  Her story, The Beach House, was set in Sweden, inspired by a recent family holiday in Haverdal. Helen has been writing since she was at primary school, where she used to get told off for writing stories under the desk during Maths lessons. Since then she has gone on to have several books published, including The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, which was nominated for the Carnegie Medal.  Her latest book, a YA thriller titled Urban Legends centres on a serial killer who prays on urban explorers. As well as taking home the coveted trophy, Helen wins free travel to and from Shetland to attend the Shetland Noir festival, courtesy of Promote Shetland.

She  said, “I’m absolutely thrilled to have won the Jimmy  Perez trophy. When I got the news, I leapt out of my chair and cheered!”

Second place went to Voe resident Matthew Wright whose story, And The Hills Sang with Blood, is set in a fictional hotel kitchen in Shetland. Matthew has previous experience of success in writing competitions, having been a runner up in the prestigious Bridport Prize.

Speaking about the Shetland Noir Competition, Matthew said, “I am delighted to have come second in the Shetland Noir competition! I had not written anything in a long time when Donald Anderson let me know about the competition and I decided to have a go at putting in an entry. At first the list of requirements and rules for the story seemed daunting, particularly to fit them in in just 1000 words, but what seemed like a challenge soon became inspirational and actually helped the story take shape.”  He added ‘writing violent and gory stories is a lot of fun, but there are few competitions or publications that would accept them, so finding a local one where a bit of blood was positively encouraged was a bonus!’

Third place went to Marina Marinopoulous, another enthusiastic writer, who currently lives in Greece where she was born and brought up. Marina’s story is entitled Just Deserts.

Shetland Library’s Karen Fraser noted, “Judging the entries was a great pleasure due to the high standard of writing, the twisted gruesomeness, the variety of kitchen utensils employed in the crimes and the imagination and dark humour that came through.” Orcadian co-judge Louise Graham also added “I think the exacting criteria of the competition brought the best in these writers. Their imaginative placement of bodies, blood and telephones, along with creative use of kitchen utensils made each story truly enjoyable and picking favourites exceptionally difficult.”

Speaking on behalf of Shetland Arts, Literature Development Officer, Donald Anderson said, “We had twenty-eight entries to the competition and the overall quality of the writing was very high. We’d like to thank everybody who took the time to compete. We’d also like to thank our three judges for their hard work, Ann Cleeves for her generous sponsorship of the Jimmy Perez Trophy. We’d also like to thank the Shetland Times for providing book tokens for the runners up, and of course, Iceland Noir for lending us their festival!’

Full festival passes and day tickets for Shetland Noir can be purchased now through Shetland Box Office at Mareel and Isleburgh, online or over the phone on 01595 745555

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