What exactly is going on at Crimetime Gotland?
We're hoping to create an exciting mixing place for writers and fans of thrillers and crime literature. More than 40 authors will be arriving on Gotland between 13th and 16th August and the festival will be hosting almost 100 seminars, including many in English. People who buy tickets will have the chance to do everything from learning how their favourite books were written, to meeting and chatting to authors and even taking part in writing workshops themselves. We're hoping to gather at least 2,000 people from all over Sweden and other parts of Europe too. In the UK and Germany for example people are crazy about crime authors so we want to reach out as far as possible. Italy, France, Portugal and Spain have big fan bases too.
Carina Nunstedt who is organising the first international Crimetime festival. Photo: Crimetime Gotland
Scandinavian crime has been in fashion for a while. Why do you think it's so popular?
Scandinavia is a pretty dark environment generally so it's a good place for writers to situate crime novels. I think a lot of authors are also great at placing their work in small towns – they make the place and the region come to life in a way that a lot of fellow Scandinavians understand and maybe international readers find a bit exotic. Some novelists are also good at combining a crime plot with looking at political society and asking questions about that in a way that engages people. Others ask a lot of moral questions. And some – like Camila Läckberg [one of Sweden's most famous female writers] – are also good at developing characters. Her books are about relationships and love stories as well as crime and you get to know the characters as if they were your friends. I think Scandinavian authors are also very good at capturing everyday life in their books – little details like how we enjoy drinking a lot of coffee.
So why hasn't there been a festival like this before?
There is a smaller festival in Sundsvall in northern Sweden but we at CrimeTime Gotland will definitely be the biggest international event of its kind so far. We've got Roger Hobbs coming from Portland, Oregon, and several British writers lined up including Belinda Bauer and Alex Marwood. There is also another really famous name from the UK that will be announced later this week.
For newcomers to the scene, who are the other hottest names to look out for?
Anne Holt is a big favourite and we will also be hosting Jussi Adler-Olsen who is Denmark's crime king, Lars Kepler, Belinda Bauer, Roger Hobbs, Jens Lapidus and many many more. Norway's Jo Nesbo is on our list for next year and we also want to invite Gillian Flynn who wrote Gone Girl – we are aiming big!
We'll also be showcasing Nordic Noir movies throughout the festival and there will even be the chance to take part in improvised thriller literature.
Swedish author Jens Lapidus. Photo: David Thunander
Why did you pick Gotland?
A few of the authors appearing at the festival have either based their stories on the island or they live there. There's a creative community, a kind of crowd of ambassadors who are based in the area. We'll even be putting on some tours of the island where you can check out crime spots from you favourite books. For example Mari Jungstedt will take you in the footsteps of her charactor Inspector Knuta. Anna Jansson who lives on Visby will also be doing a tour.
But of course we also picked Gotland because it is maybe the most beautiful place in the country that we could show off to our international visitors. It really is a reason to travel to Sweden. The town of Visby has hosted a lot of different scene weeks – such as Sweden's political conference Almedalen earlier in summer and a medieval week in the week before ours. So it has a lot of experience putting on festivals and it has a lot of history. Some of the murky crime spots from novels set here will look a bit different in the summer sunshine!
The festival takes place in Visby. Photo: CrimeTime Gotland
How easy is it to get there?
First you need to buy a four-day pass for 595 kronor. There are also one-day tickets available as well as reduced price tickets for under 18s.
Then it's very easy to get to Gotland. By ferry and train the whole journey is about four hours from Stockholm. Or you can fly directly from most major airports in Sweden. There's even the option of combining the trip with a little crime cruise in the Stockholm archipelago in the presence of some Scandinavian writers. It's going to be really great event – crime fiction lovers are in for a real treat.