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The crime novel as trauma fiction

conference contribution
posted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Leanne DoddLeanne Dodd
The subject matter of crime fiction makes this form of creative writing an ideal vehicle for representing trauma as a subset of trauma literature, however, the ongoing debate about the definition of ‘literature’ has meant that crime fiction has received little critical attention in this respect. Drawing on the latest research in the field of trauma literature, this paper presents the benefits of writing across the threshold of literary and genre fiction and investigates how trauma might be represented in a crime fiction novel so it performs similar functions as in trauma literature. The proposition emerging is that a number of the narrative strategies identified in contemporary trauma literature can be aligned to those used in crime fiction, allowing the creation of a crime novel with an authentic representation of trauma, while retaining the elements that make crime fiction popular. An initial framework for incorporating the narrative strategies of trauma literature into crime fiction will be proposed which will not only be informative for those writing and researching genre fiction, but also provide a foundation for further study into the value and power narrative has to evoke cathartic outcomes for a widespread genre fiction audience.


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Minding the gap : writing across thresholds and fault lines papers – the refereed proceedings of the 19th conference of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs, 30 November - 2 December 2014, Wellington NZ

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Wellington, New Zealand


Australian Association of Writing Programs

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Peer Reviewed


Open Access


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Australasian Association of Writing Programs