St Andrews plots novel developments in crime

Monday 26 February 2007

The University of St Andrews will host a unique event that brings four celebrated crime writers together with distinguished academics to discuss the state of crime fiction as a genre.

The Crime Fiction Masterclass will feature discussion of the future of crime fiction and its current challenges by Ian Rankin, author of the Inspector Rebus novels; Denise Mina, author of the Garnethill trilogy, Sanctum, and The Field of Blood; Paul Johnston author of the Quint Dalrymple and Alex Mavros series; and J. Wallis Martin, author of A Likeness in Stone, The Bird Yard, and The Long Close Call. They will be joined by academics specialising in the study of crime writing, presenting papers on subjects including ‘Crime Fiction and National Self-Consciousness’ and ‘Myth and Social Criticism in Detective Fiction’.

Organiser Professor Gill Plain said, ‘Part of the fascination of crime fiction is that it is constantly changing to reflect new social conditions and perceptions, yet it retains a strong sense of identity as a genre’.

Professor Plain, of the University’s School of English is author of Twentieth-Century Crime Fiction: Gender, Sexuality and the Body and Ian Rankin’s Black and Blue, A Reader’s Guide.

She continued, ‘It is unusual to bring practitioners and researchers of crime writing together. I hope that this event will offer them an enjoyable opportunity to talk to one another about recent developments in the field, what traditional and new forces are driving the modern crime novel, and what lies ahead. Scotland has been a remarkably fertile territory for crime writing in recent years. It seems appropriate to draw on that strength to foster debate about crime fiction both as a literary genre and a cultural phenomenon.’

The Crime Fiction Masterclass is the second in a series of annual masterclasses hosted by the School of English to explore particular forms of writing. Last year’s Biography Masterclass saw lively conversation between biographers, academics, and members of the public on the principles, prerogatives and practices of biography.

‘Like last year’s biography event, this isn’t a masterclass designed to teach budding authors writing techniques’, emphasised Professor Plain, ‘it’s a facilitated discussion in an academic setting. Nonetheless, it is open to the public and I hope that a wide variety of people will come to hear a stimulating range of speakers offer insights on a genre that is so widely enjoyed. One of the most exciting aspects of the day is that even I can’t tell you where the trail of evidence will lead.’

The Crime Fiction Masterclass will take place in Parliament Hall, South Street, St Andrews between 10 am and 6 pm on Saturday 3rd March. It is free and all are welcome, but those intending to attend must register their names in advance with the School of English, telephone 01334 462666.




Issued by Press Office, University of St Andrews Contact Gayle Cook, Press Officer on 01334 467227 / 462529, mobile 07900 050 103, or email gec3@st- Ref: Crime Masterclass 260207 View the latest University press releases at


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