Featuring some of the biggest names in crime, Noireland is Northern Ireland’s Bloody Scotland, big crime writing festival. Two of those names are Stuart MacBride, Aberdonian writer renowned for the Logan MacRae thrillers, and Adrian McKinty, who writes the Michael Forsythe trilogy. They spoke with The Fountain about the event at Noireland as well as their plans for the coming year.

TF: Adrian McKinty, Northern Ireland’s award-winning crime writer will be interviewing you at Noireland in March. Looking forward to it?

SM: Well, Adrian has been indulging in “smack talk” ahead of the event, so it might be a much stranger interview than people are expecting. I’ve been practicing how to render someone unconscious with a sharpened haddock, just in case it all kicks off.

TF: Have you been to Northern Ireland before – either on holiday or to promote a book?

SM: I’ve driven through it to attend a wedding in Dublin, if that counts? No? Didn’t think it would… Mind you, I’ve been looking forward to having an excuse to visit for a long time, so if I’m on my best behaviour, maybe I’ll be allowed to come back next time I’ve got a new book out?

TF: How do you think Noireland will compare to Scottish crime festivals like Granite Noir or Bloody Scotland?

SM: Noireland’s got a great reputation and going by the programme, it’s going to be a belter this year. And I’ll know plenty of people in the festival bar, which always helps!

TF: Do read Northern Irish crime fiction and if so, what similarities do you see between that and Scottish?

SM: I think we share a very similar sense of humour and a mutual distrust of authority, which comes across very clearly in our respective crime fictions. And we both have rather … complicated relationships with our English neighbour. So lots of similarities, but lots of differences as well. That’s what makes it so fascinating.

TF: What do you plan to get out of the festival and Belfast whilst you are there?

SM: I’m hoping to catch up with friends, make a few more, have some fun, have some nice food, see a bit of the place, and hopefully come away with a chunk of inspiration (or two, if I’m lucky).

TF: How would you sum up NOIRELAND in one sentence Adrian?

AM: A massive celebratory piss-up for a bunch of writers from a city that is still recovering from three decades of low level civil who know that the darkness is never too far away. That and jokes.

TF: And you are interviewing Aberdonian Stuart MacBride at the festival, that’s exciting, have you spoke with him previously?

AM: Yes. My last encounter with MacBride was not a pleasant one. We were on opposite sides of a debate at the Brisbane Writers Festival. He had literally that afternoon just stepped off a plane from Heathrow so me and a couple of other people plied him with booze in the hopes of throwing him off his game completely and thus winning the debate. Alas he was the funniest and sharpest person there and his team won easily. I am dreading seeing him unjetlagged and sober.

TF: Will you be comparing notes on crime writing in the UK, does this festival give you an opportunity to connect with other crime writers?  

AM: As the Venerable Bede noted in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, when Britons seek to be educated in the poetic arts they must look first to Ireland. We shall compare notes but we will be gentle with our comrades from across the water and not condescend to them.

TF: And what more can we expect from yourself, a new Sean Duffy?

AM: I have a standalone coming out in July called The Chain of which great things are hoped down at my publishers. And then a new Sean Duffy in the autumn. I have been busy.

Noireland runs from 8th – 10th March 2019.