Soviet-Ukrainian novelist and Fast Show comedian take centre stage at Noirwich Crime Writing Festival

The ninth Noirwich Crime Writing Festival returns in September, with a special line-up announced featuring an award-winning Soviet-Ukrainian novelist, a well-loved comedian and a host of leading and cutting-edge international writers.

The festival is being run by University of East Anglia (UEA) and is taking place between Thursday 8 and Saturday 10 September with events both in-person on UEA campus and online. 

Charlie Higson, Yelena Moskovich, Vaseem Khan and Bella Mackie lead the discussions, which explore new directions in cosy crime, the contemporary revenge thriller and paradise lost. Emma Bamford and Emma Styles mark their debuts, while graduating students of UEA’s Creative Writing MA Crime Fiction provide a window into the future.

UEA now leads the Noirwich programming and production, having previously worked in conjunction with the National Centre for Writing. Known for its innovative programming and contemporary critical debates, Noirwich aims to take readers and writers of the genre to vibrant new places.

Award-winning Soviet-Ukrainian born novelist and artist Yelena Moskovich will deliver the 2022 Noirwich Lecture. Moskovich’s timely intervention will reflect on the volatility and mutability of the written word – and the world – and why ‘Every Russian literary work is a crime novel’. Previous Noirwich lectures have included Megan Abbott on adaptation and crime writing in the era of Netflix, Attica Locke on colonialism and theft, George Alagiah on environmental destruction, Val McDermid on gender and violence, and Arne Dahl on organised crime and class.

Joining Moskovich at the top of the bill is UEA alumnus and creator and star of the hugely successful comedy series The Fast Show, Charlie Higson. Author of the bestselling Young Bond books and the incredibly successful horror series, The Enemy, Higson will discuss Whatever Gets You Through the Night – a sun-soaked thriller and his first adult crime novel in 25 years.

Emerging crime sensations Emma Bamford and Emma Styles, both graduates of UEA’s Creative Writing programme, will explain how to write an attention-grabbing debut, what gave them their big break, and how they found inspiration for their thrilling debut novels.

With wildly new approaches to Cosy Crime booming in the last few years, as readers return to escapism, Sunday Times bestselling author, Janice Hallett, and CWA Historical Dagger 2021 winner Vaseem Khan, explore the revival and the precedents.

#1 Sunday Times bestselling author Bella Mackie (How to Kill Your Family) and sensational debut crime writer Scarlett Brade (The Hive) consider the most recent innovations in the thriller form, reflecting on how Domestic Noir has already turned a chilling corner.

Henry Sutton, Professor of Creative Writing and Crime Fiction at the UEA, said: “Noirwich has always been at the forefront of the key conversations and debates framing the wonderfully dynamic crime writing world. We’ve always strived to give a platform to the voices that demand and deserve to be heard.

“2022 marks a new chapter and determination in our ambitions to be the foremost global centre for the study and creation of crime narratives. Please join us once again on our urgent, necessary, engaging and entertaining journey.”

Noirwich 2022 line-up:


6.30pm, Drama Studio, UEA

The Price of Paradise | Emma Bamford and Emma Styles: Noirwich launches with two of the best debut novelists in crime writing – Emma Bamford and Emma Styles.

8pm, Drama Studio, UEA, free event

UEA MA Anthologies: Crime Fiction 2022 Launch: Meet the freshest new voices in crime writing at this year’s UEA MA Anthologies: Crime Fiction (featuring an introduction by Lee Child) launch, with live readings and a drinks reception.


6.30pm, The Enterprise Centre, UEA

The Noirwich Lecture | Yelena Moskovich: Award-winning Ukrainian-born artist and writer Yelena Moskovich delivers the annual Noirwich lecture: It’s Terrible to be Terrible and Still Want Love. Presented in partnership with the National Centre for Writing

8pm, The Enterprise Centre, UEA

Whatever Gets You Through the Night | Charlie Higson: Writer, actor and comedian Charlie Higson will discuss Whatever Gets You Through the Night, his first adult crime novel in 25 years, following the phenomenal success of his Young Bond and The Enemy series for younger readers.


Online event

New Directions in Cosy Crime | Vaseem Khan and Janice Hallett: CWA Historical Dagger 2021 winner Vaseem Khan and Sunday Times bestselling author Janice Hallett, will discuss the revival of cosy crime writing.

Online event

Murder Most Modern | Bella Mackie and Scarlett Brade: #1Sunday Times bestselling author Bella Mackie and debut crime writer Scarlett Brade, dissect their compulsive contemporary revenge thrillers.

Presented by The Crime Vault

Anyone else struggling with a book buying obsession? Got a weekend getaway coming up and need some reading to bring with you? We’ve got you covered!

To celebrate this year’s Noirwich Crime Writing Festival which is taking place online for the very first time, we’ve teamed up with The Crime Vault to gift one lucky winner with a bundle of ten of the hottest crime writing reads of the summer.

  • Whisper Network by Chandler Baker
  • A Better Man by Louise Penney
  • A Knock at the Door by T.W. Ellis
  • Cry Baby by Mark Billingham
  • Fallen Angel by Chris Brookmyre
  • Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza
  • Seven Lies by Elizabeth Kay
  • Still Life by Val McDermid
  • The Wicked Sister by Karen Dionne
  • The Woods by Vanessa Savage

To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is enter your details via the entry form below. Your details will only be shared with the National Centre for Writing and not passed on to any other parties, unless you have opted-in to their newsletters. Full terms & conditions can be found below.

The competition will close at 11.59pm on Wednesday 2 September 2020.

The Crime Vault is the place to discover great crime and thriller books and ebooks online. They offer recommendations and competitions to win the latest bestsellers and crime classics, plus brand-new titles never before available in the UK. Showcasing exclusive material by internationally bestselling authors alongside thrilling new voices, all these great reads are available to buy through their online retail partners at the touch of a button on their website:

Terms and Conditions

  1. The prize draw (the “Prize Draw”) is open to people aged 18 and over living in the UK who enter their details on the Noirwich competition entry page.
  2. Employees of Noirwich Crime Writing Festival, The Crime Vault, or anyone else connected with the Prize Draw may not enter the Prize Draw.
  3. Entrants into the Prize Draw shall be deemed to have accepted these Terms and Conditions.
  4. Only one entry per person.
  5. Noirwich accepts no responsibility is taken for entries that are lost, delayed, misdirected or incomplete or cannot be delivered or entered for any technical or other reason. Proof of delivery of the entry is not proof of receipt by Noirwich.
  6. The closing date of the Prize Draw is 23:59 on Wednesday 2 September 2020. Entries received outside this time period will not be considered.
  7. One winner will be chosen from a random draw of entries received in accordance with these Terms and Conditions.  The draw will be performed by a random computer process.  The draw will take place on Thursday 3 September 2020.
  8. The winner will receive a bundle of 10 books from The Crime Vault. Book titles are subject to change.
  9. Noirwich accepts no responsibility for any costs associated with the prize and not specifically included in the prize.
  10. The winner will be notified by email on or before Friday 4 September 2020 and must provide an email address. If a winner does not respond to Noirwich within 5 days of being notified by Noirwich, then the winner’s prize will be forfeited and Noirwich shall be entitled to select another winner in accordance with the process described above (and that winner will have to respond to notification of their win within 5 days or else they will also forfeit their prize). If a winner rejects their prize or the entry is invalid or in breach of these Terms and Conditions, the winner’s prize will be forfeited and Noirwich shall be entitled to select another winner.
  11. The prize will be sent to the winner by post.
  12. The prize is non-exchangeable, non-transferable, and is not redeemable for cash or other prizes.
  13. Noirwich shall use and take care of any personal information you supply to it as described in its privacy policy, a copy of which can be seen here, and in accordance with data protection legislation.  By entering the Prize Draw, you agree to the collection, retention, usage and distribution of your personal information in order to process and contact you about your Prize Draw entry.
  14. Noirwich reserves the right at any time and from time to time to modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, this Prize Draw with or without prior notice due to reasons outside its control (including, without limitation, in the case of anticipated, suspected or actual fraud). The decision of Noirwich in all matters under its control is final and binding and no correspondence will be entered in to.
  15. The Prize Draw will be governed by English law and entrants to the Prize Draw submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

Noirwich Crime Writing Festival today announced two virtual UNESCO City of Literature Virtual Writers in Residence for the 2020 Festival: Anita Terpstra from Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, and Paddy Richardson from Dunedin, New Zealand. Supported by the National Centre for Writing and University of East Anglia, they will create new work and foster connections between Norwich, England’s first UNESCO City of Literature, and their home city.

Anita Terpstra’s debut thriller Nachtvlucht (Night Flight) was nominated for the Shadow Prize and the Crimezone Thriller Award. Samen (Together) was nominated for the Golden Gallows. Her books have been translated in German and French. Paddy Richardson is the author of two collections of short stories and seven novels. Through the Lonesome Dark was shortlisted for the New Zealand Historical Novel Award and longlisted for The Dublin International Literature Award.

Anita Terpstra said:

‘I’m honoured to be chosen as writer of virtual residence at Noirwich Crime Writing Festival. We don’t have literary festivals that celebrate crime writing in the Netherlands, unfortunately, and Norwich must be so proud it has. Maybe my city Leeuwarden, which is now a UNESCO City of Literature, can host a crime writing festival one day. I do hope my residency puts Leeuwarden ‘on the thriller writing map’, so to speak, and am looking forward to sharing my writing with the (virtual) visitors of the festival.’

Paddy Richardson said:

‘I feel thrilled and very honoured to have been selected for the UNESCO City of Literature digital writers’ residency at Noirwich Crime Writing Festival. For me, personally, I see this as an opportunity to make contact with, and share my writing and experiences with, other writers and readers of crime fiction. I also see this as an opening for my home city, Dunedin, to make literary connections with Norwich, another UNESCO City of Literature. ‘

As UNESCO City of Literature Virtual Writers in Residence, Terpstra and Richardson will have the opportunity to appear on The Writing Life Podcast over the Festival weekend and write up to two commissioned pieces of writing.

Peggy Hughes, Programme Director at NCW said:

‘Following on from our inaugural Noirwich UNESCO City of Literature Writer in Residence in 2019, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir from Reykjavík, we’re seizing the opportunity to welcome two Virtual Writers in Residence to join us at this year’s Festival. We can’t wait to introduce Anita and Paddy to our brilliant and curious Noirwich audiences: though the current situation prevents us from welcoming writers to Norwich in person, we will connect virtually and be transported by their words and ideas instead. We’re always excited to find new ways to connect with our fellow cities of literature and to introduce our writers and readers to each other.’

Stay tuned for podcast conversations with Anita and Paddy over the Festival weekend, as well as new crime writing commissioned exclusively for Noirwich audiences!

More about our writers in residence

Anita Terpstra (1974) graduated in journalism and art history. Her successful debut thriller Nachtvlucht (Night Flight) was nominated for the Shadow Prize and the Crimezone Thriller Award. Samen (Together) was nominated for the Golden Gallows. Her books have been translated in German and French. Image (c) Harry Cock

Paddy Richardson is the author of two collections of short stories and seven novels. Traces of Red and Cross Fingers were long-listed for the Ngaio Marsh Crime Fiction Award and Hunting Blind and Swimming in the Dark were shortlisted. Through the Lonesome Dark was shortlisted for the New Zealand Historical Novel Award and longlisted for The Dublin International Literature Award.

Paddy has been awarded Creative New Zealand Awards, the University of Otago Burns Fellowship, the Beatson Fellowship and the James Wallace Arts Trust Residency Award. She has been a guest at many writing festivals and was one of the New Zealand writer representatives at both the Leipzig and Frankfurt Book Fairs in 2012 when New Zealand was the guest of honour. In 2019, she was awarded the Randell Cottage residency in Wellington where she spent six months writing and researching her latest novel to be published in 2021.

Have you planned your Festival experience yet?

We’ve created a handy one-page digital guide to the Festival weekend, with links to each event and details on where they will take place. Click the image below to download it.

This year Noirwich is taking place online and each session can be accessed by a URL link that will be emailed directly to you 24 hours before the start date. Workshop participants will receive further instructions on how to download and use Zoom.

The sixth annual Noirwich Crime Writing Festival begins today! As excitement grows, we are pleased to reveal details of food and drink on offer over the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) at the National Centre for Writing, Dragon Hall.

Saturday 14 September

Gringo’s Nacho Factory

The talented folks at Gringo’s will be serving a special nacho and taco menu at Dragon Hall between 1 – 9pm. Mouth-watering options include classic cheesy nachos, BBQ pulled pork nachos, smoky seasoned steak tacos and vegan-friendly BBQ jackfruit nachos and tacos!

See the full menu here

Grey Seal Coffee

Norfolk’s leading specialty coffee roasters Grey Seal Coffee will be serving hot drinks and delicious cakes throughout the day.

The Bicycle Shop

The Bicycle Shop will be serving drinks from 5pm until late!

Sunday 15 September

Grey Seal Coffee

Norfolk’s leading specialty coffee roasters Grey Seal Coffee will be serving hot drinks and delicious cakes throughout the day.

Bloody Marys from Big Tom and Ghost Vodka

Are you ready for the Bloody Brunch? Purchase tickets to both ‘Dark Pasts’ and ‘A Taste of Murder’ and you’ll get a complimentary glass of Bloody Mary courtsey of Big Tom and Ghost Vodka!

Looking for places to eat and drink in the city? Check out our recommendations here, or head to the VisitNorwich website.

Crime lovers rejoice! The sixth Noirwich Crime Writing Festival begins tomorrow with James Runcie at Jarrold…but to get the party started early, why not pop along to The Ivy Brasserie on London St for a crime-themed cocktail or two?

In honour of Noirwich, The Ivy Norwich have created six limited-edition cocktails; each more devilishly delicious than the last and inspired by popular murder mystery board game, Cluedo, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year.

Created by the brasserie’s talented bar team, each cocktail is named after characters from the famous game and will be available for guests to enjoy until Sunday 15 September. Bespoke cocktails include ‘Miss Scarlett’, a delicious blend of Maker’s Mark whisky, Cointreau Blood Orange, grenadine & ginger ale; ‘Colonel Mustard’, a spicy blend of Ketel One Citroen Vodka and Bloody Mary spice mix; and ‘Mrs Peacock’, incorporating Beefeater Gin, Créme de Violet, lemon and Maraschino liqueur.

Why not book a table in advance and treat yourself to dinner? Visit The Ivy website for further information.

Wednesday 4 September, 7.30pm

The Enterprise Centre, University of East Anglia

James Ellroy

Celebrate September as Norwich’s ‘month of crime’ and the impending launch of Noirwich Crime Writing Festival with this exclusive event.

James Ellroy, aka the ‘Demon Dog of American Literature’, is best-known for books such as The Black Dahlia, L.A. Confidential and American Tabloid. His new novel, This Storm, is set in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbour and is a ‘frenetic mix of intrigue, corruption and racism, featuring a cast of communists, rogue cops and, of course, murder’ (The Guardian). We are thrilled to welcome him to Norwich for the first time to discuss his latest book, and his fascination with the criminal underbelly of mid-20 century Los Angeles.

Noirwich Season Pass holders: this event is not part of your Noirwich 2019 season pass. Please book separately. All season pass holders are entitled to a Season pass concessionary rate of £8 (applied at checkout).

‘Undeniably one of the most influential crime writers of our time.’ – The Times

‘Ellroy offers a grandiose, Wagnerian vision of wartime LA’ – Sunday Times

About James Ellroy

James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. He is the author of the acclaimed L.A. Quartet: The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential and White Jazz. His novel Blood’s A Rover completes the magisterial Underworld U.S.A. Trilogy – the first two volumes of which (American Tabloid and The Cold Six Thousand) were both Sunday Times bestsellers. His most recent novel, This Storm, is the next instalment in the Second L.A. Quartet.

Image (c) Marion Ettlinger

Please note, these events took place in 2019.

Indulge in some crime-themed cinema this September with the Film Noir season of Vintage Sundays at Picturehouse Cinemas!

Each Sunday, Cinema City brings classic films back on the big screen where they belong. Starting on 8 September, you can dive into the dark heart of Hollywood with five classics from the likes of Orson Welles and Billy Wilder.

In a Lonely Place

Double Indemnity – Sun 8 Sep, 1pm

Billy Wilder’s paradigmatic film set the template for the genre when first released in 1944. Insurance man Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) schemes the perfect murder with the beautiful wife of one of his clients (Barbara Stanwyck): kill her husband and make off with the insurance money. But Walter’s colleague (Edward G. Robinson) – a shrewd insurance investigator – has a feeling that not all is as it seems with the widow’s claim.

In a Lonely Place – Sun 15 Sep, 1pm

Humphrey Bogart delivers one of his best performances in Nicholas Ray’s hard-boiled, LA-set thriller. Dixon Steele (Bogart), a moody, volatile Hollywood screenwriter who’s had his heyday, is accused of murdering a coat check girl from a showbiz restaurant. Laurel (Gloria Grahame), an actress who lives in Dixon’s apartment complex, provides an alibi for her neighbour when questioned by the police, and the pair start a relationship. But the chief of police is unconvinced of Dixon’s innocence and, after learning of his violent past, Laurel begins to question if she is putting herself in danger by staying with him.

The Killers – Sun 22 Sep, 1pm

Director Robert Siodmak brings Ernest Hemingway’s gripping short story of robbery and betrayal to the big screen. Two hit men walk into a diner asking for a man called “the Swede” (Burt Lancaster). When the killers find the Swede, he’s expecting them and doesn’t put up a fight. Since the Swede had a life insurance policy, an investigator (Edmond O’Brien), on a hunch, decides to look into the murder. As the Swede’s past is laid bare, it comes to light that he was in love with a beautiful woman (Ava Gardner) who may have lured him into pulling off a bank robbery overseen by another man (Albert Dekker).

Touch of Evil – Sun 29 Sep, 1pm

Beginning with perhaps the most celebrated tracking shot in history, Orson Welles’s bravura film noir is a shadowy tale of murder, malevolence and police corruption. When a car bomb explodes on the US-Mexican border, Mike Vargas (Heston), a Mexican official investigating drug trafficking, is drawn into the case. Vargas is convinced that American cop Hank Quinlan (Welles) is planting evidence to incriminate the prime suspect, and he becomes obsessed with exposing Quinlan as a rotten apple. Quinlan then seeks revenge by conspiring with gangsters, who terrorise Vargas’s wife Susan (Leigh). Welles gives a stunning performance as a man increasingly depleted of humanity, and his deliriously daring thriller with a dark emotional core is one of the greatest of its genre.

The Noirwich Crime Writing Festival returns this September with a new line-up of renowned crime writers. A limited number of Season Passes are now available, with individual event tickets to go on sale in June.


Headliners for 2019 include George Alagiah, Louise Doughty and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, each making their first appearance at Noirwich.

George Alagiah is best known as a journalist and broadcaster, easily recognisable from BBC News. This year he makes his crime fiction debut with The Burning Land, set in South Africa, with The Independent noting that “without rhetoric or rancour, his eloquent book places issues in their true context, and frames some of the major moral questions of our time.”

Louise Doughty is the award-winning author of nine novels, including the soon-to-be-published Platform Seven, and has written non-fiction and five plays for radio. Her book Apple Tree Yard was adapted for television in 2017.

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir is an Icelandic writer of crime and children’s fiction. Her crime novels have been translated into English by Bernard Scudder, Philip Roughton and Victoria Cribb. We’re excited to be joined by Yrsa in Norwich for this year’s festival.

Four days of crime fiction

The Noirwich Crime Writing Festival takes places over four days in September. The full programme will be announced in June, with highlights to include James Runcie, Denise Mina, Lisa Jewell, Sarah Hilary, Martin Walker, Erin Kelly, Leye Adenle, Simone Buchholz, Laura Shepherd-Robinson and more.

Season passes are now available, providing you with access to all author events. Click here to secure your season pass!

Tickets for individual events will be available in June.

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The Crime Vault

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National Centre for Writing

National Centre for Writing