Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Irish Noir making an impact at home and abroad

According to figures released by Nielsen BookScan, printed sales of crime and thriller books accounted for 31% of the fiction market in 2011. 43 of the top 100 Kindle bestsellers in March are also from this genre. Although crime has always been a popular genre with readers, Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy has lead to a surge in the popularity of crime fiction since its publication. Fellow Scandinavians Camilla Lackberg and Jo Nesbø both saw huge increases in sales in 2011. Irish crime writing, known as Emerald Noir or Green Noir or Irish Noir, is also making an impact both at home and internationally. "In the past few years, Irish-set crime writing has not merely begun to blossom but has become arguably the nearest thing we have to a realist literature adequate to capturing the nature of contemporary society," wrote Irish Times journalist Fintan O’Toole. Eoin Colfer’s Plugged, his debut adult crime novel, is currently shortlisted for the LA Times Crime/Mystery Book of the Year. In 2011, two of that category’s five shortlisted novels were written by Irish authors, Tana French’s Faithful Place and Stuart Neville’s Collusion. In 2010, Neville won the award for his debut novel The Twelve which also won literary awards in France. The Ghosts of Belfast, the American edition of The Twelve, was selected by both the New York Times and the LA Times as one of 2009's best crime novels. French’s Faithful Place was chosen by Time Magazine among their top ten fiction books of 2010. French’s previous novels, also Dublin-based psychological thrillers, In the Woods and The Likeness, were both New York Times bestsellers. Gene Kerrigan’s Dark Times in the City was shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger 2009 awards. Booker Prize winner John Banville now writes crime under the name of Benjamin Black. Other Irish crime writers of note include John Connolly, Ken Bruen Alan Glynn, Alex Barclay, Declan Hughes, Arlene Hunt, Jane Casey, Colin Bateman, Declan Burke, Niamh O’Connor, William Ryan and Brian McGilloway. Down These Green Streets: Irish Crime Writing in the 21st Century edited by Declan Burke is a compendium of essays, interviews and short fiction by Irish crime writers including John Connolly, Ken Bruen and Tana French.

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