I’m back from Newcastle after Noir at the Bar: NE on Wednesday evening, and what a great event it was. Thirteen authors reading from their work, plus a wildcard from the audience on the night, and the choice and quality of readings was excellent. Everything from hilarious (Jay Stringer’s wonderful tale of koi carp) to totally chilling (an extract from KA Richardson’s novel), with police procedurals, dark short stories, and urban fantasy crime thrown in between.
The event was organised with military precision by Jacky Collins and Vic Watson, and the venue was a dream. The Town Wall is a stunning pub near Newcastle’s main station, converted from two floors of a wonderful old building and serving tasters of real ale and some amazing, home-cooked food. Sadly, the food was my downfall. Having survived the train journey and actually got to the place in one piece, I thought I’d be healthy and order salad with my meal. Which I really enjoyed… right up to the moment it tried to kill me. I had a nasty allergic reaction which put me, more or less literally, on the floor. I honestly think this event is jinxed for me!
I recovered enough to do my reading (from the first main section of ‘Raise the Blade’, where a body is found) and if I struggled in places I’m hoping nobody noticed! I also stayed on and listened to as many of the other authors as I could (about nine, I think) and enjoyed them very much indeed. But after that I had to admit defeat and totter back to my hotel, which was very disappointing. I ended up missing the last four or five ‘acts’ and didn’t get to meet all the people I was hoping to. So if I didn’t stop to chat, this is why. I’m very sorry, and hope to have another chance soon.
And here’s a group photo to give you some idea of the night: