Writers competing with the next Scandi noir, says Ian Rankin – Telegraph.co.uk

“It used to be one-way traffic because a lot of books from different cultures weren’t translated into English. But because of the success of Scandinavian noir suddenly publishers in the UK are looking for the next big country.

“Not even the next big thing or the next big author, but the next big culture or country.

“So they’re all looking around and these books do get translated now and they do hit the best-seller lists.

“It’s much bigger and there’s more variety than ever before and you’re up against everybody.”

He added: “You’re only as good as your next book. No writer sits down to write a book that’s worse than the one before, so you’re up against yourself.

“Then you’re looking around at the competition thinking you’ve got to be at the top of your game, because everyone else is at the top of their game.”

Other authors have already identified “domestic noir” as the latest “big thing” agents and publishers are demanding, with a particular focus on female writers.

Characterised by their disturbing plot twists in a seemingly domestic environment, the genre has already been led by novels including Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train which are marketed particularly at women.

In a panel event at the festival about “Writing Women”, author Gill Hornby said: “I’m interested in this new genre of domestic noir.

“You had domestic and romantic novels for 400 years and now we have a lot of domestic or romantic novels in which you fall in love with somebody who’s a paedophile or where your husband turns our to be a serial killer when you thought he was a merchant banker.

“Not the classic detective fiction but this twist that has somehow reborn domestic and women’s fiction in this very dark way.

“I don’t know if it’s a whole new life for that sort of fiction or a phase, but it’s very interesting the market in female readers for that very dark, very realistic stuff.”

Ann Cleeves, the crime writer behind the television series Vera and Shetland, added: “It works. Publishers are encouraging writers to write it.”


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