Next summer, Wordplay will bring a very special festival to Mareel. Shetland Noir will return for 4 days in June 2023 to celebrate Shetland’s place in international crime fiction, with a programme packed with events, workshops and panel discussions from renowned crime-writers. As in previous Wordplay festivals the varied programme will also incorporate film, music, live performance, and other ‘noir’ related content.  

Shetland Arts are delighted to announce award-winning crime-writer and creator of the world-famous Jimmy Perez ‘Shetland’ novels Ann Cleeves OBE as Patron of Shetland Noir.

Ann Cleeves said “I'm delighted to be involved with Shetland Noir. I can't wait to bring crime readers and writers together in these beautiful islands to celebrate all things noir.”

Chief Executive of Shetland Arts Graeme Howell said "We are thrilled to have such an eminent and well-loved writer with such strong Shetland connections leading on a special Wordplay next summer. We look forward to welcoming Ann and her colleagues from the world of crime writing to Shetland for a mystery packed long weekend!"

Guests will be announced this summer and include an impressive array of internationally celebrated local and national crime-writers.

Shetland's very own queen of crime-writing Marsali Taylor takes a leading role alongside Ann Cleeves in helping to curate the event.

Wordplay 2022 is curated by Malachy Tallack and will run from 21-25 September 2022.

Discounted Early Bird Noir Cards will go on sale on Friday 8 July 2022, entitling the purchaser to all Shetland Noir events for a discounted price and priority booking and can be purchased online at, in person at Mareel or over the phone on 01595 745500 during Mareel opening hours (10am – 9pm Tuesday – Sunday)

Image: Ann Cleeves OBE, patron of Screenplay 2023.

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