Adam Roberts and Andrew Pepper
"Science Fiction: The Mock of the New" and "Crime Writing and the Academy"
The point of departure for my talk is the thorny, often antagonistic relationship between crime novelists and academics. Crime writers point to a residual elitism and intellectual narrow-mindedness amongst some academics, while academics argue that crime writers are by no means the best critics of their work or the genre in general – of, say, its formal complexities and political imperatives. In asking whether this has to be so and whether it is possible to imagine a less fractious association, I draw briefly on my own experiences as crime novelist and an academic writing about crime fiction, and on the not-always tangible creative-critical links which led to the creation of my first novel The Last Days of Newgate (2006). But more significantly, I want to use this thinking to (a) subject the critical discourse emerging from government and state funding bodies about creative-critical partnerships to scrutiny and (b) try and imagine what a more fruitful dialogue between novelists and academics might look like and the fora in which these conversations might take place.