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The Rise of the Detective Novel

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 17:30
Senate House, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Spring 2017 Seminar Series

Open University Contemporary Cultures of Writing, Institute of English Studies

Detective and crime fiction has become increasingly popular over recent years. From its roots in the nineteenth century, it has grown in many directions and we now have several sub genres to choose from: hard-boiled, cosy, procedural, and domestic noir, to name but a few. This raises questions for the writer and the reader. How do crime novels reflect contemporary politics and culture? How have advances in psychology, neuroscience and digital technology changed the fictional landscape? Is there a gender divide in the type of crime fiction written by men and women? Who are the victims in crime fiction – and who are the perpetrators? Does the crime always have to be solved? And does, as T.S. Eliot famously stated, ‘all good detective fiction tend to return and approximate to the practice of Wilkie Collins’?

One writer will speak at each of the seminars, with responding contributions from a related discipline (including crime studies, publishing and forensic psychology. )

The seminars are free and open to all.

Time: All seminars take place on Tuesday evenings from 17:30-19:30.

Venue:  Senate House, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. 

Venue map for Senate House


Seminar 1: 21 February 2017
‘Crime Narrative Structures and Post Conflict Societies’ with Claire McGowan and Christiana Gregoriou

Room: G34 Senate House

Christiana GregoriouChristiana Gregoriou is an English language lecturer at Leeds University’s School of English, and a steering committee member of the Crime Studies Network, a group devoted to the interdisciplinary study of representations of crime. She is a specialist in crime fiction stylistics, and the author of several academic books. Her latest book engages with cognitive stylistics, a field concerned with explaining the linguistic and narratological processes through which literary texts carry meaning.

Claire McGowanClaire McGowan grew up in Northern Ireland and now teaches the UK's first MA in crime writing at City University London. She is the author of seven acclaimed crime novels set in Ireland and has taught writing for many organisations including the Arvon Foundation, Guardian Masterclasses, and the Cheltenham festival. 

Seminar 2: 14 March 2017
‘Contemporary Publishing and the influence of the Gothic in Crime Fiction’ with Graham Pike and Nicky Harlow

Room: 104, Senate House

Graham PikeGraham Pike is Professor of Forensic Cognition at The Open University. His research uses knowledge about how the mind works to develop investigative techniques and technology, and he has worked with more than 20 police forces and agencies.

Graham is currently Associate Director (Research) for the Centre for Policing Research and Learning, and co-writing a new book, Mad or Bad, out in 2017.


Nicky HarlowNicky Harlow is a published novelist living in West Yorkshire’s Bronte country. She is an Associate Lecturer in Creative writing at the Open University, where she is also studying for a PhD in Creative Writing. Her research interest lies in the rendering of setting and imagery in contemporary crime thrillers.

Seminar 3: 21 March 2017
Financial Crime in Fiction, Forensic Cognition and the Insistent Voices of the Dead’  with Joanne Rearon Lloyd and Christina Philippou

Room: G34, Senate House

Christina PhilippouChristina Philippou is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, teaching and researching in the areas of forensic accounting and financial crime. Prior to that, she spent 8 years working as a forensic accountant, undertaking disputes and expert witness work; fraud, insider trading, bribery and corruption investigations; regulatory and US sanctions compliance work; and AML, compliance, and fraud risk reviews. She has also been a member of accounting training teams, including acting as a financial expert for advocacy training for barristers and solicitors. Her debut contemporary fiction novel, Lost in Static, was published in September 2016.

Joanne Reardon LloydJoanne Reardon Lloyd is a Lecturer in Creative Writing for the Open University. Her fiction and drama has been produced on BBC Radio 4 and published in magazines and anthologies including The London Magazine and the Cinnamon Short Story Prize where she was runner up in 2014. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia and a PhD in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and research interests focus on crime fiction and the short story - regular collaborations with fine artists include Still Life with Blackbirds with Richard, Kenton Webb in 2015.


For any queries regarding this seminar series, contact the organiser Nicky Harlow (, The Department of English, The Open University.





Contact Us

Contact Derek Neale or Ed Hogan by email: 

The Postal Address is:

Department of English and Creative Writing
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes

Tel +44-1908-652092