Queens of Crime
Senate House, University of London, 12-13 June 2013
Women authors have had a unique impact on crime fiction from the Victorian era to the present day. What is the relationship between gender and genre? What makes a Queen of Crime, in the past or the present?
Dr Lee Horsley
For over 100 years, women have been among the most prolific and influential authors of crime fiction. Some of the best-known heroes and anti-heroes of fiction are also women. From pioneers in the genre, such as Anna Katherine Green and the Baroness Orczy, through Golden Age queens of crime, like Agatha Christie (for whom the term was invented), Dorothy L. Sayers and Margery Allingham, to the innovators of the present day, including Sara Paretsky, Val McDermid, and Kate Atkinson, the female of the species has been more deadly than the male.
This conference will address the relationship of gender and genre, past and present, and the known and the unknown. Many Queens of Crime are famous and much-studied, but their work continues to inspire fresh scholarship and novel perspectives. Others are continually in print but have not received equal academic attention. Some are too new in the field to have been thoroughly considered. Some have been unjustly forgotten. We welcome papers on thematic issues as well as those about individual writers and their creations.
The conference will include a public evening of readings by well-known members of the Crime Writers’ Association.
Possible topics for research papers and panels include but are not limited to:
•What makes a “Queen of Crime”
•Unknown, lesser-known, or forgotten Queens of Crime
•Contemporary contenders for the title
•Features of the genre established by the classic writers
•New perspectives on established authors
•Constructions of femininity and/or masculinity
•Gender, sexuality, and identity
•Crime fiction and domesticity
•Crime writing (or detection) as a profession
•Rewriting, revising, or re-appropriating the past
•The influence of the “classic”
•Canon, pastiche, and parody
•Trends in contemporary crime writing
•Crossing genres or crossing media
We welcome proposals for 20-minute papers or 60-minute panels.
We will also be proposing an edited collection of essays based on the conference theme.
Please send a 300-word abstract to Jamie Bernthal and Brittain Bright at firstname.lastname@example.org by 14 February 2014.
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