Now Dr Jansson is hosting another course for the upcoming CCE semester: "Women Writing Contemporary Crime Fiction". I think it's terrific that the University clearly got a good enough response to continue with more crime fiction courses, and it's great that some of the excellent female crime writers of modern times are being looked at. Here's the blurb for the course:
"Why are women such prolific writers - and readers - of crime fiction? Historically and in modern-day crime writing the woman writer, it could be argued, dominates the genre. This course aims to explore why, with reference to six major female crime authors currently writing, such as P.D. James, Elizabeth George and Kathy Reichs."
The course runs over six consecutive Saturday mornings (10.30am-12.30pm) from 5 March to 6 April 2010. Looking at the 'course outline' and 'learning outcomes', they state:
Course outlineThe purpose of the course will be to consider why there are so many successful women writers of crime fiction: what attracts both female writer and reader to the genre, and what may differentiate their writing from male crime writers; secondly, to look at each of these writers, considering narrative style, characterisation, and approach to genre and subject-matter. Participants will need to have read at least one novel by each author.
- Week 1 PD James
- Week 2 Ruth Rendell
- Week 3 Sara Paretsky
- Week 4 Elizabeth George
- Week 5 Linda Fairstein
- Week 6 Kathy Reichs
On completion of the course learners will be able to:
- Demonstrate a wider knowledge of crime fiction, particularly that written by women
- Identify stylistic features which may be specific to women crime writers
- Analyse crime fiction from a gender and genre point of view.
It certainly looks like an interesting course, and it's also fascinating to see which six contemporary female crime writers Jansson has chosen as the required reading. Once again, I think she has done a fairly good job, although there are some weaknesses with the most recent/modern choices - in my opinion it may have been better to include at least one or more of the likes of Val McDermid, Sue Grafton, Louise Penny, Patricia Cornwell, Karin Slaughter, Mo Hayder, Camilla Lackberg, Liza Marklund, Faye Kellerman, Tami Hoag, Tess Gerritsen, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Denise Mina etc than the trio of George/Fairstein/Reichs. There could have been a little more international flavour, or recognition of some of those other (even more influential, in several cases) authors, perhaps.
From a New Zealand perspective, it would have been great to see Jansson include Vanda Symon or Paddy Richardson too, introducing local readers to our own 'contemporary' female crime writers and perhaps looking at how they compared to overseas authors or similarly or differently reflected the trends she is looking to discuss - but oh well. Jansson does appear to have a particular fondness for George and Reichs (she included them both in her 'classic' course required reading as well).
What do you think of the women crime writers course? Does it sound like something you would be interested in? Which six contemporary crime writers would you choose if you were setting up such a course, and why? I'd love to read what you think, please leave a comment.