The end of an era is upon us. After just over two years in the beautiful city of Reykjavík it would seem that my time here has come to an end or is just about to at any rate. As I gear up for the most exciting moment yet in my fledgling writing career it turns out that it will also serve as my farewell to Iceland.
Iceland Noir takes place in a little over five weeks’ time on the 17th, 18th and 19th of November and it is going to come as something of a shock to many who know me in the crime writing community that I am on the verge of leaving my adopted Nordic homeland. What I am really doing though is swapping one adopted Nordic home for another. Straight after the festival I will be moving some 3,000 km to southern Finland where I will be settling in the idyllic medieval town of Porvoo. Klovharu, otherwise known as Moomin Island or the place where Tove Jansson built her summer house lies just off the coast of Porvoo so I expect to be seeing fat little trolls in my dreams.
From a writing perspective what it means is that after the impending release of ‘A Place To Bury Strangers’ by Fahrenheit Press and then one last Icelandic novella ‘Out On The Ice’ my books will no longer be set in Iceland. I have recently begun work on a new as yet untitled novel set at and around Surujärvi a fictional lake in south-eastern Finland. Gone will be the meandering and at times completely useless Detective Grímur Karlsson of the Reykjavík police force and soon he will be replaced by the much tougher and nastier Detective Markku Waris of Finland’s law-enforcement counterparts.
Iceland Noir will be the perfect platform for me to launch ‘A Place To Bury Strangers’ my debut release with Fahrenheit Press who will also be re-releasing my first novel ‘On A Small Island’ at the same time. I will be appearing on the ‘Darkness: What frightens you?’ panel at the festival alongside Ævar Örn Jósepsson, Thomas Enger and AK Benedict as well as moderating the ‘F**king Sweary’ panel which should be a landmark event in the history of literary festivals and will contain Val McDermid, J.S Law, Craig Robertson and Derek Farrell. If I am to be remembered for just one thing by my friends in Reykjavík I genuinely hope that it is for swearing my head off in front of a paying audience at Nordic House on a Saturday afternoon. It’s a tough and at times disgusting fucking job but someone’s gotta do it.
Literary festivals can, dare I say it, be a little tedious if you’re not a huge fan of listening to authors talk about themselves so I’m hoping to inject some much needed irreverence into proceedings by encouraging Val, Craig, James and Derek to do more than a little swearing on my behalf. The fact that three of them are Scots, my grandparents were Scottish and that Derek hails from Dublin should not be lost on anyone. We Celts are at the forefront of all things sweary. Always have been, always will and that folks is just the way we fucking like it.
So, if you’ve nothing else on at 5:30pm on Saturday the 19th of November pop down to Nordic House to see what a real storm looks and sounds like here in Iceland. After all, we can’t let the weather have all the fun.