Courttia Newland reads @ AVANT! NOIR – Fri 12th March 2010, Toynbee Theatre


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A night of criminal fiction, comic art and music of a darker hue. Enter a world where lunch is drunk from the bottle and murder smells like honeysuckle. In Toynbee Theatre’s art deco, velvet auditorium, four authors present a selection of bleeding-edge crime stories, intercut with animated chapters of online, collaborative comic strip ‘Huzzah!! Noir’. Illicit jazz comes from 2009 Mercury nominated ensemble Led Bib, providing improvised and composed response, putting on to simmer a suitably hard-boiled soundtrack. Author and journalist Toby Litt reads from his forthcoming novel King Death. Darting between dingy student pubs, the roofs of Borough Market and the corridors of Guy’s Hospital, it’s a mystery set in the world of young medical students. A human heart found on the tube leads two young investigators on a trail that leads to the hospital’s infamous dissection lecturer – known as ‘King Death’.

Cathi Unsworth, editor of London Noir, reads from her new novel. Set against the background of 1960s London, ‘Bad Penny Blues’ plums the murky depths of the unsolved Jack the Stripper murders in which the bodies of eight working girls were found in or along the Thames. Sixties London explodes in all its ferocious colour: jazz and pop, fascists and Teds, migrants, mystery and one constable Pete Bradley caught in the middle. A tender paean to the city, this is a novel with a twisted mystery at its heart.

West London native Courttia Newland delights in the dark and the uncanny. Drawing inspiration from everything from traditional horror movies via Roald Dahl to everyday life in West London, Newland brings together the literary and the pop cultural in a reading from his collection of grotesque short stories, ‘Music for the Off-Key’. Stylish pulp-fiction given a modern, capital twist.

“Dark, compelling, twisted and grim in all the best ways possible”- Niall Griffiths on Courttia Newland

“Litt rocks!” – Sunday Times on Toby Litt

“smart noir entertainment with the bitter aftertaste of truth” – The Financial Times on Bad Penny Blues

“The future of jazz” – The Times on Led Bib

~ by courttianewland on 23/01/2010.

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