Orenda Books hit Crimefest with a quartet of AMAZING authors! Paul E. Hardisty (Australia), Ragnar Jónasson (Iceland), Kati Hiekkapelto (Finland) and one of the fathers of Nordic Noir himself, Gunnar Staalesen (Norway). It was one of the most exciting festivals we’ve been to in a long time, with fabulous panels and an incredible spirit of camaraderie! A little bird (OK, David Headley of Goldsboro Books) confirmed that Orenda was the TOP-SELLING PUBLISHER at the event. And if that wasn’t enough, Ragnar Jónasson and Paul Hardisty were third and fourth bestsellers, after Lee Child and Maj Sjöwall (a duo who provided one of the most moving, insightful and entertaining interviews of all time).  A highlight had to be Lee Child purchasing his copy of Snowblind and having it signed by Ragnar.

But WOW were the Orenda authors brilliant!

Paul Hardisty spoke movingly and eloquently about the situation in Yemen, the beauty of the country and the events that inspired his magnificent thriller The Abrupt Physics of Dying. He talked about how it was possible to tell the truth in fiction, in a way that would send key messages while entertaining with a page-turning plot. There were few people in the audience who didn’t feel compelled to buy the book after his two panels.

Ragnar’s panels were equally fabulous, and there was much hilarity when he encouraged moderator Craig Robertson to read a passage of Snowblind in Icelandic. We learned about the exquisite, dark setting of the book (Siglufjörður, the northern-most town in Iceland, which is surrounded completely by mountains and the sea and accessible only by a mountain tunnel that is often closed in the dark, snowy nights of winter).

Kati Hiekkapelto was there not only as a Petrona-nominated candidate for The Hummingbird, but to promote the sequel – part two in the Anna Fekete series, beautifully translated by David Hackston – The Defenceless. She talked about her inspirations, the serious issues that underpin the book, the fictional setting in northern Finland, and how it felt to have achieved such success with a debut. We handed out samplers of The Defenceless, and it’s pretty clear that it’s not only going to be another Petrona contender, but a bestseller here, as it was in Finland.

Gunnar Staalesen is one of the most familiar names in Nordic Noir, and his gravitas, incredible insights into the genre, warmth and humour mesmerised the crowds. He was at CrimeFest to promote We Shall Inherit the Wind, the latest Varg Veum thriller and the first of three that we will be publishing at Orenda, all translated by Don Bartlett! The crowds surrounding him after the panels  – and in the bar afterwards – were a little exciting to say the least. We were in the presence of a true Nordic legend (and there are people now lining up to ensure that statues of their own protagonists grace the centre of their hometowns too)!

Many new friends made! GREAT to see so many old friends, and to catch up! I’m not even going to try to name them because I’ll miss someone special and important! It was fabulous in every single way.


We were sad to leave. Some very poor photos below. Many more on Facebook (probably not ours!) Enjoy!

Thanks, CrimeFest! We will SO be back!


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