Noir (noun): a genre of crime film or fiction characterised by cynicism, fatalism, and moral ambiguity. 

Bar (noun): an establishment where alcohol and sometimes other refreshments are served.

In these interesting times, where many of us are confined to home due to COVID-19 restrictions, I’m hoping to keep readers and writers of crime fiction entertained by hosting a weekly Virtual Noir at the Bar. OK, so you’ll need to bring your own booze but it beats another night of flicking through the TV looking for something half decent to watch.

Although we are hoping that the restrictions may be relaxed in the coming weeks, I anticipate that public gatherings will be prohibited for quite some time and therefore, I’ve committed to running a Virtual Noir at the Bar every week until we can meet in the flesh again!

Noir at the Bar began in Philadelphia in 2008 thanks to the legend that is Peter Rosovsky. Since then, it’s become an international phenomenon with events taking place all over the US and UK. I began running Noir at the Bar in Newcastle (UK) in 2016 and have since hosted a range of compelling writers in Newcastle and Harrogate.

One of the many great things about Noir at the Bar is that it’s inclusive: we showcase writers who are just starting out all the way up to those who are published, award-winning and bestselling. In the past eighteen months at the Newcastle event, we’ve hosted two writers who are in this year’s Richard and Judy Book Club. That said, we’ve also been a springboard for many new writers who are just getting started.

February’s Noir at the Bar crew in Newcastle. L-R: Christie Newport, Rob Parker, Vic Watson, Gytha Lodge, Trevor Wood, Sarah Jeffery, AM Peacock, Jackie Badwin and Robert Scragg.

In February this year, I returned to hosting Noir at the Bar in Newcastle after nine months maternity leave. As I drove to the venue, I worried that no one would turn up to the event, that we might have lost our audience by taking such a long break but I shouldn’t have worried. The pub was packed out as usual and the thirst to hear writers reading their work had only gotten stronger.

I had planned to host another Noir at the Bar in Newcastle at the end of April as part of Newcastle Noir, we’ve had to postpone all events due to the pandemic. Like many readers and writers, I was disappointed but knew it was the right thing to do.

I know lots of people will be missing Noir at the Bar, book launches and literary festivals so I’ve teamed up with Simon Bewick of Bewick Consulting to bring Noir at the Bar straight to your home. Thanks to the wonders of technology, you won’t have to download anything to view Virtual Noir at the Bar, you simply sign up for the newsletter. The newsletterwill contain a link for you to click. Once you click the link, you’ll be taken to the event. We are trying to keep things as much like the usual Noir at the Bar events as possible so audience members will be able to “chat” and there’ll be the potential to win free books.

We’ve already got lots of amazing authors scheduled so you won’t want to miss these super events! Sign up to our newsletter to be kept up-to-date.

In addition to our weekly Virtual Noir at the Bar events, Honey and Stag Literary Events will be broadcasting Noir at the Bar Edinburgh’s online virtual events on Facebook from 7pm on Thursday 2nd and 30th April. Chaired by the inimitable Jacky Collins, AKA Dr Noir, there is no sign up required for these events, just tune into their Facebook page at 7pm on the 2nd and 30th April.

So if you’re a fan of crime fiction, being at home might not be quite so bad after all. Remember to sign up to our newsletter for information on the weekly Virtual Noir at the Bar events.

Vic x