Golden Age of Irish Crime Fiction Celebrated at Festival

Posted on: 25 November 2013

A public interview with US author Michael Connelly by Irish author John Connolly was the highlight of the Irish Crime Fiction Festival organised by Trinity’s School of English in conjunction with New York University’s Glucksman Ireland House. The festival saw 18 of the most exciting Irish and Irish-American crime novelists explore the recent flourishing in crime fiction in Ireland, which has seen Irish crime fiction writers receive wide international critical acclaim.

Six of the 18 crime fiction authors participating in the festival are graduates of Trinity, where the School of English was the first in Ireland to offer students the chance to study crime writing in its seminal course on detective fiction.

The two-day event involved a series of panel discussions featuring leading crime fiction authors such as Declan Burke, John Connolly, Alan Glynn, Declan Hughes, Arlene Hunt, Gene Kerrigan, Stuart Neville, Niamh O’Connor and Louise Phillips. They explored the long and complex history of relations between Ireland and America, which is finding new forms of expression in crime writing. Other topics investigated were historical crime fiction, Irish crime fiction abroad and crime fiction in contemporary Ireland.

The highlight of the festival was a public interview with US crime author Michael Connelly by Irish crime author and Trinity School of English graduate John Connolly in the atmospheric setting of Trinity’s Public Theatre. Michael Connelly launched his new novel The Gods of Guilt at this event.

Festival organiser Dr Brian Cliff, Assistant Professor in English and Director of the Irish Studies degree at Trinity, commented: “Particularly over the past ten years, there has been a remarkable growth in Irish crime fiction. Not only are there more Irish authors writing crime fiction, but their work is wide-ranging in its topics, its settings and its ability to get at some sense of what’s troubling us as a society.”

“Irish crime fiction writing is a very big tent. Irish crime novelists set their work as far afield as Jane Casey’s London, John Connolly’s America and Conor Fitzgerald’s Rome, and they do so with a broad palette, from psychological crime novels to international thrillers, from socially engaged hard-boiled fiction to supernatural mysteries. The writers who’ll be speaking at our festival really capture this range, and we’re particularly excited that so many of them will be in one place for the festival – it’ll be a memorable opportunity to hear what they have to say about their work, and to discuss that with them directly.”

Photographed at Trinity’s Public Theatre at the Irish Crime Fiction Festival, organised by the School of English, were Irish author John Connolly and US author Michael Connelly. 

Leading Irish crime fiction novelist and School of English graduate John Connolly added: “I think this may be Irish crime fiction’s own Golden Age. I don’t think there has ever been a time when so many Irish authors have been writing in the genre, and at such a high level in terms of quality, adventurousness, and critical acclaim. With that in mind, it’s wonderful that Trinity should be hosting this festival, as Trinity was the first Irish university to offer students the chance to study crime writing as part of their undergraduate work – in fact, I was part of that first class of undergraduates, so I owe my career in no small part to Trinity.”

“This festival will not only be a celebration of Irish crime writing but, I hope, an introduction to it for those who might not have been aware of how broad the field has become, and a possible inspiration for the next generation of crime writers to come.”

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Fiona Tyrrell, Press Officer for the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Trinity College Dublin

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