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Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurðardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, her English debut shortlisting for the CWA International Dagger and hitting bestseller lists worldwide. Trap soon followed suit, with the third in the trilogy Cage winning the Best Icelandic Crime Novel of the Year, and was a Guardian Book of the Year. Lilja’s standalone Betrayal, was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award for Best Nordic Crime Novel. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. Lilja is also an award-winning screenwriter in her native Iceland. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

Lilja Sigurðardóttir’s Festival appearance is generously supported by Icelandic Literature Centre.

Lilja Sigurðard's headshot

Karen Sullivan is founder and Publisher of Orenda Books, an independent publisher based in London, England. Orenda Books publishes literary fiction, with a heavy emphasis on crime/thrillers, with half of the list in translation. Karen was a Bookseller Rising Star, and Orenda Books has been shortlisted for the IPG Best Newcomer Award (twice) and Small Press of the Year in the British Book Awards. They were crowned CWA Crime & Mystery Publisher of the Year in 2020. Authors include Ragnar Jonasson, Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir, Lilja Sigurdardottir, Thomas Enger, Matt Wesolowski, Paul Cleave, Doug Johnstone, Agnes Ravatn, Will Carver, Gunnar Staalesen and Antti Tuomainen.

Karen Sullivan's headshot

Born in Akranes in 1988, Eva Björg Ægisdóttir studied in Norway before returning to Iceland and deciding to write a novel – something she had wanted to do since she won a short-story competition at the age of 15. After nine months combining her writing with work as a stewardess and caring for her children, Eva finished The Creak on the Stairs. It was published in 2018, and became a bestseller in Iceland. It was published in English by Orenda Books in 2020. Eva lives in Reykjavík with her husband and three children and is currently working on the third book in the Forbidden Iceland series. Follow her on @evaaegisdottir

Eva Björg Ægisdóttir’s Festival appearance is generously supported by Icelandic Literature Centre.

Eva Bjorg AEgisdottir's headshot

Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway (where he still resides with his wife). He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty titles, which have been published in twenty-four countries and sold over four million copies, with twelve film adaptations starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Espen Seim. Staalesen has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and the Petrona Award for Nordic Crime Fiction.

Gunnar Staalesen’s Festival appearance is generously supported by NORLA – Norwegian Literature Abroad. 

Gunnar Staalesen's headshot

Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007. In 2013, the Finnish press crowned Tuomainen the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen was one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and his poignant, dark and hilarious The Man Who Died became an international bestseller (with a TV adaptation in the works). His thriller Little Siberia won the Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year. In total, Tuomainen has been short- and longlisted for 12 UK awards.

Antti Tuomainen’s Festival appearance is generously supported by FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange.

Antti Tuomainen's headshot

Doug Johnstone is the author of 12 previous novels. Several of his books have been bestsellers and three, A Dark Matter (2020), Breakers (2019) and The Jump (2015), were shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. He’s taught creative writing and has been a writer-in-residence at various institutions over the last decade, including at a funeral parlour. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three solo EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. Follow Doug on Twitter @doug_johnstone and visit his website: dougjohnstone.com.

Doug Johnstone’s Festival appearance is generously supported by Scottish Books International.

Doug Johnstone

Agnes Ravatn is a Norwegian author and columnist. She made her literary début with the novel Week 53 in 2007. Since then, she has written three critically acclaimed and award-winning essay collections: Standing still (2011), Popular Reading (2011) and Operation self-discipline (2014). Her second novel, The Bird Tribunal, was an international bestseller translated into fifteen languages, winning an English PEN Award, shortlisting for the Dublin Literary Award, a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick and a BBC Book at Bedtime. It was also made into a successful play, which premiered in Oslo in 2015. Agnes lives with her family in the Norwegian countryside.

Please be advised that Agnes Ravatn, originally scheduled for MOTIVE Festival, can no longer appear. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by this change.

Agnes Ravatn headshot

Thomas Enger is a former journalist. His debut novel, Burned, became an international sensation before publication and marked the first in the bestselling Henning Juul series. He is an award-winning YA author in his native Norway, and his English thriller Inborn was adapted for the adult fiction market from Killer Instinct. Most recently, Thomas has co-written a bestselling series of thrillers with ex-police officer and author Jørn Lier Horst. Enger’s trademark is his dark, gritty voice paired with key social messages and tight plotting. Besides writing fiction, Enger also works as a music composer, and lives outside of Oslo.

Thomas Enger headshot