Review: Nasty Women

Writers’ Centre Norwich Young Ambassador Ruby Pinner attend the Nasty Women panel at the Noirwich Crime Writing Festival 2017. Ruby attends Hellesdon High School.


Excellently hosted by crime expert Laura Joyce from the UEA, top crime writers Laura Wilson, Mel McGrath and Erin Kelly gave fascinating insight into the writing of female characters and crime fiction. The three women are all members of the Killer Women initiative, a group of London-based crime writers who provide innovative events, debates, talks, interviews and workshops, which they describes as a “skills pool, support group and a wine appreciation society!” Nasty Women was the first event as part of the Noirwich weekender hosted at the Norwich Arts Centre and from the musty smell of the building and cold grave stones underfoot, the eerie atmosphere of the venue really set the mood for the talk.

The phenomenal feminist debate ranged from online trolls and slut-shaming, procedural crime to witchcraft. The panel discussed the gritty reality of researching the court room and also the Trojan horse that crime writing is as a means of presenting social issues, Erin Kelly said in her opinion that “you don’t feel as preached to as in literary fiction.”

Laura Wilson also noted, “Big Norfolk skies make people keep things close and keep them secret.” And how North Norfolk is her bolt hole for when she needs the space to focus on her novel.

This discussion of responsibility in crime writing covered the importance of inclusivity and diversity in the writing of female characters and how this should reflect real women.

The authors gave some advice for the audience to inherit in their own writing. They spoke about how women in particular have a skill for crime fiction due to their acute sense of threat. How knowing fear can be invaluable to writing about it. They claimed that this paired with their journalistic and teaching background of being brave enough to ask questions was a key element to their success. This was subsequently followed by a Q&A where the authors shared their wisdom and expertise.

Could this be the best #Noirwich yet?

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