Telling Truths: Crime Fiction and National Allegory
Presented by: The Institute for Social Transformation Research and the Faculty of Arts at the University of Wollongong.
Convened by: Professor Ian Buchanan, Professor Catherine Cole and Professor Sue Turnbull
When: 6 - 8 December 2012
Where: University of Wollongong (Australia)
When Peter Temple’s Truth won the Miles Franklin Literary Award in 2010 it was taken as a sign of a long overdue recognition of the fact that today there is no qualitative distinction between genre fiction and so-called literary fiction. Crime writers are every bit the equal (in terms of style and substance) of their less generically bound contemporaries and these days many literary writers turn to crime fiction to frame their works.
But perhaps it was also recognition of something that most crime writers hold to, namely that today it is only crime fiction that is capable of telling the truth about our society. Only crime fiction has the grit needed to bring to light both the dark underbelly of society and the malfeasance and iniquities that hide in plain sight. It is in this sense that crime fiction can be understood as national allegory (to borrow Fredric Jameson’s useful concept) because the truths it has to tell are ultimately all truths about the state of the nation.
Given that crime fiction routinely outsells literary fiction, these are clearly truths that we hunger for. Crime fiction doesn’t dominate airport and train station bookstores because it provides light relief from the tedium of waiting – it dominates because it is the essential intellectual foodstuff we seek when enforced inactivity allows us a rare moment of contemplation.
The aim of this conference, then, is to bring together scholars and writers of crime fiction to investigate and think about the different kinds of truths crime fiction tells and talk about the different images of nation and nations it creates.
Fredric Jameson (Duke University)
Click here for the conference program.
If you wish to join in the discussion at the conference, late Abstracts are being accepted.
Submit your abstract via email to Professor Ian Buchanan at email@example.com. Your abstract will be refereed and you will be notified of acceptance, or not, promptly.
Click here to register for the conference
Click here to register for 'A Murderous Place' Town Hall event
There are three public sessions within the conference program:
- Professor Fredric Jameson (Duke University) will deliver a keynote, 'Australian Crime Fiction and National Allegory' on Friday 7th December at 9.30am. The venue is Room 104, Building 67, University of Wollongong.
- ‘A Murderous Place: Australian Crime Writers Talking about the Significance of Place in their Work’ is a public event on Friday 7th December at the Wollongong Town Hall. Ticket prices are: $15 concession and SCWC member, $20 others. Tickets are on sale through the Wollongong Town Hall, click here for all booking information.
- Award winning true crime and crime fiction author, Peter Robb will deliver a keynote speech, 'People with Secrets', on Saturday 8th December 9.30am. The venue is Room 104, Building 67, University of Wollongong.
Click here for information on 'getting to UOW' and accommodation in Wollongong.