Aberdeen’s international crime writing festival Granite Noir attracted audiences from more than 50 countries with its virtual events being viewed more than 14,000 times.
Readers from 52 countries including Canada, Bangladesh, South Africa, Brazil and New Zealand tuned in to last weekend’s festival which took place online due to the current restrictions in place.
Organisers of Granite Noir declared the first online programme a huge success with its 15 events being viewed more than 14,000 times – a figure expected to grow as audiences watch events On Demand.
The popular festival presented conversations with 25 of the world’s leading crime fiction authors and podcasters including Jo Nesbo, Camilla Läckberg, Attica Locke and David Baldacci.
In addition, Scottish writers including Peter May, Stuart MacBride and Ian Rankin also took part in the online festival.
Other events included a webinar on the stories behind some of the early 19th and early 20th-century criminal mugshots held in the Aberdeenshire Archives and a podcast celebrating the 125th anniversary of the birth of Scottish author Josephine Tey.
Granite Noir was produced by Aberdeen Performing Arts on behalf of partners, Aberdeen Library Service, Aberdeen City and Shire Archives and the Belmont Filmhouse.
Jane Spiers, chief executive of Aberdeen Performing Arts, said: “Taking Granite Noir online was a great leap of faith, and I am so proud of our team, and everybody who worked so hard to live stream the festival to a worldwide online audience.
“The digital space and the decision to keep our events free has opened up a whole new audience for us.
“While we missed welcoming audiences and authors to our city, and our wonderful venues, and very much hope that we will be able to gather together in person in 2022, our global reach this year was extraordinary.
“Events were broadcast from Chicago, Reykjavik, Oslo, Denver, Fjallbacka in Sweden, Windhoek in Namibia and the south of France and watched in homes around the world.
“We can’t wait to get back to live performance, to welcoming our authors and our audiences to Aberdeen, but suddenly it no longer feels like an either-or.”
The festival was also supported by Aberdeen City Council, Creative Scotland and EventScotland part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council’s culture spokeswoman, said: “The global viewing figures for our fabulous crime fiction festival are nothing short of phenomenal and it’s amazing how this year, in overcoming the restrictions of Covid-19, we have actually managed to extend our reach not only in terms of our innovative worldwide broadcast locations but the spread of the viewing audience too, building on Granite Noir’s growing reputation and welcoming the world to Aberdeen.
“It just goes to show that you can’t keep a good – or in our case, great – festival down and Granite Noir just keeps going from strength to strength.”