Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Whither The Radical Crime Novel?

Yes, I know I said I’d be taking a break from blogging, but (a) this came via a request from the winningly handsome Andrew Pepper (right), and (b) it sounds like a cracking opportunity for any crime writer out there with a ‘radical’ crime novel in their drawer. To wit:

The School of English, Queen’s University Belfast, is pleased to announce A CREATIVE WRITING DOCTORAL STUDENTSHIP in ‘RADICAL CRIME FICTION’ commencing in September 2013.

Supervisors: Dr Andrew Pepper (English) and Dr Dominique Jeannerod (French)

Applications for this award must be submitted through the Queen’s online application system (on the prospective students’ portal) before the closing date of FRIDAY 22nd February, 2013. Applications are similar to those invited for ‘open’ PhD studentships, but applicants are not required to upload a description of the intended thesis. Applicants for this ‘themed’ awards should supply, instead of the thesis description, a personal statement (maximum 1500 words) outlining the distinctive contribution they could make to the research for the thesis.

Informal enquiries are very welcome and should be directed to Dr. Andrew Pepper ( or to the School’s Director of PG Education: Dr Adrian Streete (

Project Description:
This project is a hybrid creative-critical one that involves writing a ‘radical’ crime novel and critically reflecting on what radical crime fiction is, whether such a thing, in fact, exists and whether a popular genre, especially one typically concerned with the activities of the state and the production of order, can ever be considered radical. Its starting point lies in the rise to prominence of a particular kind of formally disruptive and politically leftist crime novel across the U.S. and Europe in the 1960s and 1970s (e.g. by Chester Himes, Jean-Patrick Manchette) and the relative decline of such work in the contemporary era. The issue of whether crime stories are able to further radical political agendas and if so what is the relationship between political agitation and formal and/or aesthetic innovation, will be addressed through creative practice and critical reflection. At the heart of the project is the question of how creativity is deployed in the contemporary era and what its relationship to commercial enterprise is. Rather than assuming that this relationship is harmonious and mutually reinforcing, however, this project considers whether it is possible to write and produce a radical crime novel in today’s commercial environment and by the same logic why so much crime fiction is so derivative and predictable, The intention, then, is to imagine a more disruptive and antagonistic relationship between art and the marketplace but to do so in the form of a creative piece that, crucially, still conforms to at least some of our assumptions about what a crime novel is.

Candidates will be expected to demonstrate a history of research and/or publication in creative writing. Demonstrable experience of writing or researching crime fiction is considered desirable but not essential.

Eligibility: UK residents.

Closing date for applications: Friday 22nd February, 2013

Important Note: Please state on the on-line application form that you are applying for the Creative Writing themed Studentship in ‘Radical Crime Fiction’ in the School of English and provide a supporting statement (1500 words maximum) outlining the distinctive contribution you could make to the project.


bookwitch said...

And here I was, just typing Adrian McKinty on Stieg Larsson and walking the walk... Could you hear us?

Declan Burke said...

I think I've told you before, Ms Witch. You offer a kind of reverse ESP ...

Rob Kitchin said...

The eligibility of being a UK resident seems unfortunate as you are prime candidate for this Declan, given AZC must fit the radical tag and Down These Green Streets covers off some of the other stuff. I assume someone willing to take up residence in the UK could apply, rather than already being in situ.