Iceland Noir – part 1

IcelandNoir logoIt may seem a little odd for someone who thinks that Harrogate (or to give it its full title “Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate”) is a bit far to go but in November I’m off to the first ever Iceland Noir. Yes it’s further than Harrogate, no I don’t like flying and no I really don’t do well in the cold. But we’re going – we have our tickets booked and despite not having put Iceland on my list of ‘must see’ places it seems that it is on my husband’s, and apparently a lot of other people’s. In fact when I mention that we’re going the response from most people is either that they’ve always wanted to go, they’ve been and loved it, or so-and-so is there at the moment.

I do feel that I should put in a bit of preparation for the event and I am currently working through an Icelandic-flavoured reading list. The main event is a full day (I’ve just checked the schedule and it really is packed) of panels and interviews and I can’t hope to squeeze in something from all concerned in the next few weeks. However it’s not as if I haven’t read any Icelandic fiction and there are reviews of titles by Yrsa Sigurðardottir and Arnaldur Indridason on my blog already. I’ve also recently read The Crooked Beat by Nick Quantrill who is participating as part of Hull’s bid to become the UK City of Culture of 2017.

My current plan is to read at least one title by Quentin Bates, Michael Ridpath, and William Ryan and hopefully one of Anne Cleeve’s Shetland titles (although I have read The Sleeping and the Dead) then it’s trying to fit in more of the translated fiction of Yrsa Sigurðardottir and Arnaldur Indridason. And I do have a guide book to read too. I’m not really a reading challenge sort of person so this planned reading is new to me, but I seem to be making good progress, although fitting in reviews may be a challenge of its own.

If you were going what would you put at the top of your reading list?


  1. Lucky you! I made the difficult decision to be sensible for once and not go to this, but I think it will be great and can’t wait to hear about it. Difficult to know who to recommend out of the above as it depends on individual taste, but I don’t think you could go wrong with any of them!

    1. I see from your blog you’re quite the expert! I’m getting quite excited now, but trying to be realistic in what we might have time to do while we’re there.
      I’m hoping the reading will give me a feeling for the country as well as the authors.

  2. Sadly, something I cannot do this year so I hope it runs and runs and runs … I’d recommend the following:
    1. Yrsa’s Last Rituals if you’ve not read it already. Her debut and a very impressive novel. Much malevolence afoot.
    2. Quentin’s Frozen Out as your intro to the addiction that is ‘Gunna’ Gunnhildur Gisládottir.
    Have a great time both!

    1. Thanks Rhian. It seems to have proved very popular so I can’t imagine this will be a one off event. So next time!
      I have read Last Rituals, but do still have I Remember You to read. Thanks for the tip on the Quentin Bates title.

  3. I am getting ridiculously excited at the prospect of going even though I have been to Iceland before. My OH on the other hand has never been so is looking forward to it even more.

    I too am catching up with books from some of the authors whose work I haven’t yet tried. Picked up a copy of Frozen Out by Quentin Bates just a couple of days ago.

    I think the Indridason novels give you the best view of Iceland as a place and I hope you enjoy them, make sure you start with the first one Jar City though.

    Anyhoo, See you soon!


    1. I wonder if the organisers anticipated so many people travelling from overseas? It’s certainly a good excuse for us to have a pre-Christmas break. I think it’s possibly Indridason that I need to make an effort to find – not easy without resorting to on-line shopping!

      Will see you next month!

  4. Nordic Noir would make a mixed hit list of Bkork ,Sigur Ros and this ( and listen to it in the dark, take a very hot bath, have a beer followed by a Black Death chaser , read a bit of an ancient Icelandic Saga, cast the rune stones by candlelight, have another shot of Black Death, meditate on a rural landscape that is black & bleak, enter a noir state of mind then devour as many of the books as possible on one’s list….

    1. Great tips! Caught some of the Sigur Ross live session on the radio on Friday – I can see how it might lend itself to a darkened room, very ethereal. Not so sure about Bjork!

  5. Wonderful to hear that you’re going – wish I could too (perhaps another year). Have a fabulous time, in any case, and if you’re brave try the really thick, black liqueur that they will no doubt offer you 🙂

  6. I’ve just come back from Iceland and had an amazing time. Iceland Noir looks like a great event. I recommend ‘I Remember You’ by Yrsa Sigurðardottir. Make sure you do some travelling in the country – the scenery is outstanding 🙂

    1. Thanks Jackie – just had a look at your blog. I missed that you’ve been to Iceland recently – your post coincided with us going to Scotland for a week. I see you managed some themed reading too & will try to squeeze in I Remember You.
      I think we might have to forgo sleep to fit in sightseeing!

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