Curtain comes down on hugely successful Bute Noir 2017

Most of the cast of Bute Noir 2017, including authors, organisers and staff of the three participating venues.
Most of the cast of Bute Noir 2017, including authors, organisers and staff of the three participating venues.

Bute Noir 2017 has come and gone, and organisers were thrilled – and exhausted – after the island’s crime-writing festival drew crowds across the weekend.

Sixteen authors from the UK, the USA and even Antti Tuomainen of Finland took part in talks, interviews, minigolf tournaments and a quiz.

The passengers on Saturday's open top bus tour of Bute, led by Myra Duffy.

The passengers on Saturday's open top bus tour of Bute, led by Myra Duffy.

There were also some impromptu musical performances from a few of the multi-talented authors.

And the positive feedback for the weekend has been resounding.

Karen Latto, organiser, said: “The weekend was a huge success, we couldn’t have hoped for a better turnout and positive response from locals and tourists.

“Expanding to three days certainly made a big difference – last year when it ended everyone wanted more.

Luca Veste, Craig Robertson and Denise Mina enjoy some downtime outside Rothesay Library.

Luca Veste, Craig Robertson and Denise Mina enjoy some downtime outside Rothesay Library.

“I know Luca Veste loves it here because I now go to the footy with him in Liverpool, he is desperate to come back already!”

Alex Gray is one of the returning authors from last year, and both times she has stayed with her sister June Mackenzie and her husband George on the island.

Alex told the Buteman: “It’s a really intimate kind of festival.

“There’s a sense of familiarity and warmth, some of the faces have changed from last year but they are all still companionable, friendly faces.

The Slice Girls, a transatlantic ensemble of crime authors who also perform a musical show.

The Slice Girls, a transatlantic ensemble of crime authors who also perform a musical show.

“It gives people who wouldn’t otherwise come a chance to see Bute and how beautiful it is.”

Luca Veste said he can’t wait for Bute Noir 2018.

Luca told the Buteman: “It’s been a really fun weekend.

“Karen from Print Point is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met.

“She has been a force of nature, in a good way, in pulling everything together.”

Craig Robertson, author and Bute Noir co-founder, told the Buteman: “I was delighted with how the festival went. Right from the first moment on Friday, you could feel there was a great vibe about the place and everyone was buzzing from then until we closed late on Sunday afternoon.

“We had full houses at almost every event which was fantastic to see. More than that, it was easy to see how much everyone was enjoying it. I spoke to one reader going home on the ferry on Monday and she said how much she’d loved it and felt she’d made new friends, including among the authors.

“It was great to showcase Bute too and hear so many authors from so many countries say how much they loved the place. One of our aims was to do our bit to put Bute back on the tourist map and I hope we’ve done that.

“So many people gave so much time to making this festival really work and I’m grateful to all of them.”

AK Benedict writes supernatural crime novels and performs as part of the Slice Girls.

She was one of the new faces this time around, and said she was persuaded to attend when she heard about Bute’s natural beauty.

She told the Buteman: “Bute Noir was sold to me by Craig Robertson and Alexandra Sokoloff as a cosy book festival in the most beautiful place, and I thought I couldn’t miss it.

“As soon as I stepped off the ferry I knew I would want to come back.

“Performing in a musuem alongside ventriloquist’s dummies will be a personal highlight for me!”