CFP: Animals in Detective Fiction

CFP: Animals in Detective Fiction

Since its origins in the mid nineteenth century, detective fiction has been populated by a huge array of beasts. If the genre begins, as is widely supposed (though not without some debate), with Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue’ (1841), then detective fiction’s very first culprit is an animal. Such beastly instances of criminal violence are among the genre’s most recurrent figurings of the non-human. Accordingly, like Poe’s frenzied ourang-outang on the spree in Paris, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles (1902) identifies a murderous aggression as part-and-parcel of animal nature. Detective fiction accommodates gentler and more law-abiding creatures too, however. Wilkie Collins, often thought of as the founder of the British detective novel, depicts the villain Count Fosco in The Woman in White (1859) surrounded by his ‘pretties’, ‘a cockatoo, two canary-birds and a whole family of white mice’, while Koko and Yum Yum, the feline sidekicks of Lillian Jackson Braun’s popular The Cat Who… series from the 1960s show animals living on the right side of the law. Detective fiction is also consistently concerned with the human as animal. From the ‘bloodhound’ Sherlock Holmes to Dashiell Hammett’s ‘wolfish’ Sam Spade, detection involves the development of beastly characteristics. Comparably, the criminal is often imagined as the animal in human form, a sign of the descent back down the evolutionary ladder towards a savage state the founder of criminology Cesare Lombroso identified as ‘criminal atavism’. Though often described as an essentially conservative form, the best examples of detective fiction unsettle rigid binarisms to intersect with developing concerns in animal studies: animal agency, the complexities of human/animal interaction, the politics and literary aesthetics of animal violence and victimhood, animal metaphor and the intricate ideological work of ‘animality’.

This volume will be the first to engage thoroughly with the manifold animal lives in this enduringly popular and continually morphing literary form. We are interested in essays that investigate the portrayal of animals in the detective fiction of any period and any region. It is anticipated that the volume will include essays that explore the genre’s most celebrated figures (Poe, Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Raymond Chandler, Georges Simenon, Hammett, Walter Mosley etc), alongside less well-known authors. We particularly welcome essays which combine questions of genre with attention to broader ethical and political concerns regarding the representation of animals, encompassing relevant theoretical developments in, for example, animal studies, posthumanism and ecocriticism.

Topics may include, but are not restricted to:

Animals as detectives

Detectives as animals


Detection, empire and the traffic in animal bodies

Red herrings

Animal victims


Queer identities

Anthropocene noir

Animal sidekicks

Detective fiction and natural history

Animal clues

Taxonomic mysteries

Animals, animality and discourses of race

Questions of species and questions of gender

Animals as weapons



The volume is intended to form part of Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature, edited by Susan McHugh, Robert McKay and John Miller (

Please email abstracts of no more than 300 words along with a short biographical statement to Ruth Hawthorn ( and John Miller ( by 31st March 2017. Essays will be commissioned by 1st May 2017 for delivery in Winter 2017/2018.



The 6th Warsaw Literary Meeting – – – I-DAY WORKSHOP

DATE: 19 May 2017

COORDINATOR: Dr Lucyna Krawczyk-Żywko, University of Warsaw


The 19th century is described as the time of sensational crimes, (developing) police detection, and “the ascent of the detective” (Shpayer-Makov); it is also the period when crime and its investigation were offered as entertainment on a mass scale in penny dreadfuls, shilling shockers, sensation fiction, and daily papers. However, it is the 18th century that witnessed the beginnings of the attempts at organising official crime prevention (with Henry Fielding, a writer and a London magistrate, as the man behind it), and Victorian detective and sensational fiction have its roots in 18th-century gothic tales and The Newgate Calendar.

We invite scholars working in various disciplines and fields of study to discuss the ways in which they perceive historic and fictional crime and detection across media and centuries.


  • Night Watch, thief-takers, Bow Street Runners,

‘bobbies’ and plainclothes policemen

  • The Metropolitan Police and/vs local police forces
  • the ways and means of detection
  • the ‘gentleman detective’ and the ‘gentleman criminal’
  • fictional female detectives’ exploits
  • class, gender, and race in detective stories
  • crime in London and in the regions; railway crimes; penal colonies
  • the spectacle of crime: public executions, crime and detection on stage
  • narrating crime in literature and the press
  • adapting and appropriating 18th- and 19th- century criminals and detectives

CFP: Captivating Criminality 4

Captivating Criminality 4

Crime Fiction: Detection, Public and Private, Past and Present

29th June – 1st July 2017

Corsham Court, Bath Spa University, UK

The Captivating Criminality Network is delighted to announce its fourth UK conference. Building upon and developing ideas and themes from the previous three successful conferences, Crime Fiction: Detection, Public and Private, Past and Present will examine what is arguably the very heart of this field of critical study.

Crime fiction narratives continue to gain in both popularity and critical appreciation. This conference will consider the ways in which both the public and private aspects of criminality and detection merge and differ from each other. The police detective, bound by laws of the state (however loosely adhered to) brings a different set of skills and methods of detection than the often maverick private eye. Of course, detection includes the criminals who attempt to avoid capture – the term ‘anti-hero’ can apply to both upholders of the law and to those evading it.

A key question that this conference will address is the enduring appeal of crime fiction and its ability to incorporate other disciplines such as Criminology, Film, and Psychology. From the ‘sensational’ novelists of the 1860s to today’s ‘Domestic Noir’ narratives, crime fiction has proved itself exceptionally proficient in expanding its parameters to encompass changes in the wider culture. With this in mind, we are interested in submissions that approach crime narratives from the earliest days of crime fiction up until the present day.

This international, interdisciplinary event is organised by Bath Spa University and the Captivating Criminality Network, and we invite scholars, practitioners and fans of crime writing, as well as interested parties from Criminology, Psychology, Sociology, and Film and Media, to participate in this conference that will address these key elements of crime fiction and real crime. Topics may include, but are not restricted to:

  • The Detective, Then and Now
  • The Anti-Hero
  • True Crime
  • Contemporary Crime Fiction
  • Victorian Crime Fiction
  • The Golden Age
  • Hardboiled Fiction
  • Forensics and Detection
  • The Body as Evidence (silent witness)
  • Crime and Clues
  • Dostoevsky and Beyond: The Genealogy of Crime Writing
  • Fatal Femininity
  • Seduction and Sexuality
  • The Criminal Analyst
  • Others and Otherness
  • Landscape and Identity
  • The Country and the City
  • The Media and Detection
  • Adaptation and Interpretation
  • Justice Versus Punishment
  • Lack of Order and Resolution

Please send 300 word proposals to Dr. Fiona Peters ( by 13th February 2017. The abstract should include your name, email address, and affiliation, as well as the title of your paper. Please feel free to submit abstracts presenting work in progress as well as completed projects. Postgraduate students are welcome. Papers will be a maximum of 20 minutes in length. Proposals for suggested panels are also welcome.

Attendance fees: £155 (£105 students)

(Scottish) Crime Fiction Here and There

Nowe Szkoty

Between the 13th and 15th of September the 3rd Crime Fiction Here and There conference took place at the University of Gdańsk. This bi-annual conference is organised by Dr Agnieszka Sienkiewicz-Charlish. This year the theme of the conference was “Time and Space”.  The previous conferences included panels devoted to Scottish crime fiction and in 2014 a special guest event with a Scottish crime writer – Paul Johnston.

Although this year there was no special panel devoted to Tartan Noir, the following papers focused on Scottish authors:

  • Jean Bearton, “Converging Routes and Channels in Lin Anderson’s Paths of Dead (2014)”
  • Wolfgang Goertschacher, “Geopolitics, the Yugoslav Wars and Val McDermid’s Poetics of Crime Fiction in The Skeleton Road
  • Emma Robertson, “Reconstructing the Regional Capital in the 1990’s Noir: To Rebuild or to Remember?” (This paper focused on, among other texts, the representation of Edinburgh in Ian Rankin’s…

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The Collaborative Crime Creation

Nowe Szkoty

Have you heard about #ScotLitFest? During that virtual festival which took place in June 2016, sixteen Scottish crime writers created an exciting story on Twitter. Here is the link to the Polish version of the story translated by a group of Gdansk University students under the supervision of Dr Marta Crickmar. Enjoy!

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CFP:Criminal America: Reading, Studying and Teaching American Crime Fiction

Call for Papers

American Literature Symposium  

“Criminal America:  Reading, Studying and Teaching  American Crime Fiction”

March 3-4 2017

Keynote Speaker: Charles Rzepka, Boston University

ALA symposia provide opportunities for scholars to meet in pleasant settings, present papers, and share ideas and resources. The March 2017 symposium will focus on American crime fiction, ranging from Poe to the present and beyond, and including all varieties of the genre, from hard-boiled to puzzle mysteries, locked rooms to global conspiracies, dime novels to experimental texts. Subjects might include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Crime fiction and space
  • Representing class, race, and gender
  • Periodizing the genre
  • Poe’s precursors
  • Narrative technique
  • Adaptations
  • The future of the genre
  • Teaching crime fiction
  • Literary vs genre fiction

While we welcome individual proposals, panels and roundtable discussions are also encouraged.


Palmer House Hilton

17 E Monroe St

Chicago, IL 60603

Hotel Rate: The Palmer House Hilton is offering a special rate of $149 (plus tax) per night for a single or double room. This is a great location in the heart of downtown Chicago.

Conference Director: David Schmid, University at Buffalo

 Conference Fee:  $150

Conference fee includes lunch on both days, as well as a Friday evening reception.

Please email all proposals to David Schmid before December 1, 2016

Deadline reminder: Crime Fiction Here and There 3

Crime Fiction Here and There: Time and Space

13-15 September 2016    (deadline for sending abstracts: 31 May 2016)

3rd International Conference

Organised by the Department of English Language Cultures and Literatures at the University of Gdańsk in cooperation with Captivating Criminality Network and Bath Spa University

From the locked room to the mean streets of the metropolis, the concept of space has always played as important role in crime fiction as the concept of time. A lot has been said in recent years about the importance of a specific locale in crime fiction. Both readers and writers like to divide crime novels into certain national and spatial genre variants: Nordic Noir, Tartan Noir, L.A. Noir etc., but are these variants really so different from each other? How does space define a particular formula? Studies on crime fiction and temporality usually refer to Todorov’s well-known chapter in his book The Poetics of Prose entitled “The Typology of Detective Fiction,” in which he argues that crime fiction narratives are structured by a double temporality: the reconstruction of events leading up to the murder and the progress of the detective’s investigation, with both narratives eventually converging at the point of the crime’s solution. However, if one looks at some contemporary crime novels as well as contemporary criticism this model certainly needs to be revised or at least reformulated. Although the construction of time and space in terms of genre conventions has been discussed quite extensively by critics, there still seems to be room for further analyses.

We invite papers on crime fiction in literature, cinema and the new media which will deal with one or more of the following points (the list is by no means exhaustive):

  • constructing time and space in crime narrative
  • time and space in nation-specific crime writing (e.g. Polish / Scottish / Austrian crime fiction, Nordic noir, etc.)
  • place-specific crime writing (e.g. academic mystery, domestic noir, etc.)
  • oneiric, imaginary or other alternative worlds in crime writing
  • closure and openness in crime fiction (e.g. locked rooms, manor houses, mean streets, prisons and other ‘crime spaces’ )
  • gendered spaces in crime fiction
  • the detective and the city
  • setting as a protagonist?
  • noir city
  • psychogeography
  • across time and space: movement trajectories in crime fiction
  • the aesthetics / theory of space: the ‘spatial turn’ in literature and cinema.


Please send an abstract and a short biographical note to by 31 May 2016. The abstract should include a title, name and affiliation of the speaker and a contact email address. We welcome proposals from both postgraduate students and established scholars. Proposals for suggested panels are also welcome. Papers should be no longer than 20 minutes of presentation time and should be delivered in English.

 Conference fee: 400 PLN (100 Euro/ 75 GBP), Students – 350 PLN (80 Euro/65 GBP)

Conference dinner on Wednesday 14th of September (optional): 25 Euro/20 GBP/ 100 PLN

The fee includes a delegate pack, lunches and other refreshments on all 3 days. Please note that it does not include accommodation. The conference dinner on Wednesday is optional and should be booked during the registration. There is going to be an informal conference warming on Monday, the 12th of September.

For further information, see our conference website

For more information on Captivating Criminality Network, see


Organising committee:

Ludmiła Gruszewska-Blaim

Agnieszka Sienkiewicz-Charlish

Maja Wojdyło


Conference secretaries: Irina Antonenko, Arco van Ieperen