Following another successful Wordplay festival, Shetland Arts is excited to announce the first three names of headliners for next summer’s Wordplay outing – Shetland Noir – celebrating writing, writers and all things noir, in the iconic settings of the most northerly islands in the UK.

Following another successful Wordplay festival, Shetland Arts is excited to announce the first three names of headliners for next summer’s Wordplay outing – Shetland Noir – celebrating writing, writers and all things noir, in the iconic settings of the most northerly islands in the UK.

Curator Ann Cleeves – world-renowned creator of Jimmy Perez, Vera Stanhope and Matthew Venn - and Marsali Taylor – author of the popular Shetland Mysteries series starring liveaboard sailing sleuth Cass Lynch – have pulled together an incredible line-up for a festival, which promises something for everyone. The first three of the headline guests will include Val McDermid, Elly Griffiths, and Martin Edwards.

Cleeves and Shetland Noir will also be offering a bursary to enable a published crime writer, who would otherwise struggle to get to the islands, the opportunity to participate in this major literature festival. The festival is calling for submissions from editors as of today. Cleeves said, “Debut authors often get a share of the limelight, so this is aimed at a writer who is already getting into their stride, working at their craft and improving with every novel”. The bursary will cover travel and accommodation, and the author would be interviewed by one of the headliners in front of a crowd of enthusiastic readers. They would also feature widely in media coverage supporting the weekend of events.

Short pitches can be sent to [email protected], explaining how the author would benefit from the experience of appearing in Shetland and why they should have this unique opportunity.

More on Shetland Noir headliners:

Val McDermid – Dubbed the Queen of Crime, Val McDermid has sold over 17 million books to date across the globe and is translated into more than 40 languages. She is perhaps best-known for her Wire in the Blood series, featuring clinical psychologist Dr Tony Hill and DCI Carol Jordan. Her latest TV series, ITV’s adaptation of Karen Pirie, based on Val’s cold case detective of the same name is currently airing as the new ‘must see’ crime series.

Elly Griffiths – Winner of the 2020 Edgar Allan Poe award for her novel The Stranger Diaries, Elly is the author of best-selling detective series featuring Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist of whom Val McDermid wrote “I refuse to apologise for being in love with Dr Ruth Galloway”. Elly also created the dynamic duo of Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens and magician Max Mephisto who feature in her other well-known series of novels set in Brighton in the 1950s…

And Martin Edwards – Qualified solicitor Martin was the longest-serving Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association. In 2015 he was elected eighth President of the Detection Club; his predecessors include G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Agatha Christie. He is Archivist of the Crime Writers’ Association and of the Detection Club and consultant to the British Library’s Crime Classics. When Martin won the highest Diamond Dagger award from Crime Writers’ Association in 2020 for a lifetime contribution to crime writing, Ian Rankin commented: “Martin Edwards is not only a fine writer but he is also ridiculously knowledgeable about the field of crime and suspense fiction. He wears his learning lightly and is always the most congenial company

Shetland Arts is looking forward to welcoming all three to Shetland next June and will soon be announcing a further three headline guests to complete the line-up. Alongside these guest writer events will be a feast of panel sessions, Shetland-themed events and outings, all taking place in the height of midsummer – when the sun barely sets, and Shetland basks in the Simmer Dim…

A limited number of Early Bird Noir Cards (£70) are on sale now, full price tickets/passes will be on sale from January 1, 2023. Noir cards available online, in person at Mareel or over the phone on 01595 745500 during opening hours (10am – 9pm, Tuesday – Sunday).

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