It's a crime! (Or a mystery…)

P.D. James talking about detective fiction at the Bodleian, Oxford, press release

The press release for this event on Friday 2 October flew into my email inbox earlier today.  Full text follows below:


Oxford – A special one-day event will celebrate the launch of Talking about Detective Fiction by P.D. James, the latest Bodleian Library publication. Crime Day at the Bodleian Library will take place on 2 October 2009. Events include talks from a number of eminent authors of detective and crime fiction including P.D. James, Val McDermid, Ruth Rendell and Kate Summerscale. A special display of material from the Library’s collections related to the origins and development of detective fiction over the years will also be on display.
About Talking about the Detective Fiction
After nearly 50 years writing detective novels, P.D. James writes now about the genre which has made her so famous. Talking about Detective Fiction is an engaging ‘personal history’ of the genre of detective fiction, peppered with examples from the author’s own writing experience. The book looks at the origins of detective fiction and its development, the reasons behind its abiding popularity, and its role in society today, as well as the genre’s potential future.
The book is a must-read for all devotees of P.D. James as well as fans of detective novels in general, including would-be writers. Talking about Detective Fiction is destined to become a classic of its kind.
PD James is donating all her royalties from the hardback edition to the Bodleian in support of the Libraries’ activities. Her donation is being used to encourage further philanthropy. A page at the beginning of the hardback publication provides an introduction to the Library and inspires readers to follow her example.
About ‘Crime Day at the Bodleian Library’
On 2 October 2009, a remarkable line-up of authors will take part in ‘Crime Day at the Bodleian’, a special one-day event which celebrates the genre of detective fiction. The occasion marks the launch of Bodleian Library’s latest publication, Talking about Detective Fiction by P.D. James.
P.D. James will be in conversation with Kate Summerscale, author of the best-selling Suspicions of Mr Whicher. Val McDermid, whose novels are currently screened as the series Wire in the Blood by ITV, will also be a guest of honour. In addition, PD James will be in conversation with Ruth Rendell. All events will be followed by author signings.
There will also be a display in the Proscholium featuring manuscripts and rare items from the Library’s collection related to crime writing. Highlights include material linked to a number of crime authors mentioned by P.D. James in the book, including Arthur Conan Doyle, Raymond Chandler, Edmund Crispin (pseudonym of Bruce Montgomery). A manuscript of P.D. James’s work will also be on display.
For more information please contact:
Oana Romocea, Communications Office, Bodleian Library
Tel: 01865 277627 E-mail: oana dot romocea @ bodley dot ox dot ac dot uk


·     Founded in 1602, the Bodleian Library is home to over 8 million volumes and a large number of manuscripts and rare printed books. It is the largest university library in Britain and the second largest library in the UK. More information about the Bodleian Library and its activities can be found at
·     The Bodleian Library Publishing programme publishes books about or related to collections of books and manuscripts found in the Bodleian Library and other OULS libraries, with the aim of increasing knowledge of and access to these historic documents. All the Library’s titles can be viewed and ordered at
·     P.D. James was born in Oxford and is a staunch supporter of the Bodleian. She was awarded the Bodley Medal in 2002 and has spoken at several Library events. P.D. James is widely considered the most pre-eminent author of detective fiction in the UK. In a career spanning over 50 years, she has written 20 books, and has won numerous awards for her writing.
·     Talking about Detective Fiction by P.D. James, 160 pp, Hardback, £12.99, ISBN:  978 1 85124 309 9, approx. 10 black and white cartoons

1–2 pm P.D. James in conversation with Kate Summerscale, author of The Suspicions of Mr Whicher
5-6 pm Val McDermid author of Wire in the Blood
6.30-7.30 pm P.D. James in conversation with Ruth Rendell
Events take place in the Divinity School; tickets are on sale at Borders in Oxford, priced £3 per event.

DISPLAY – Proscholium, Old Schools Quadrangle, Bodleian Library, Catte Street, Oxford; 9.00am – 7.00 pm 2 October 2009. Admissions Free

One comment on “P.D. James talking about detective fiction at the Bodleian, Oxford, press release

  1. Naomi Crowther
    February 9, 2010

    Talk at the French Institute in London
    7.30pm, 17 March 2010
    Dominique Manotti and Joan Smith on the Political Crime Novel
    Dominique Manotti’s latest translation, ‘Affairs of State’, tells of foreign workers in a landscape where murder has a political meaning. Joan Smith’s recent thriller, ‘What Will Survive’ is political in a broader sense. Both writers see the world as something far removed from the cosy village life of traditional crime fiction, more in common with Nordic authors such as Stieg Larsson than Agatha Christie. The pair will discuss their influences, their aims, and why the crime novel is pre-eminently a political form.
    Prices: £5, conc £3
    Venue: Institut français, 17 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2DT
    Advance booking recommended as places limited, box office: 020 7073 1350 /

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This entry was posted on September 24, 2009 by in Author Events.
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