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Hibernian Hardboiled: Race & Gender in Contemporary Irish Crime Fiction

A recording of a talk by Professor Maureen Reddy (Rhode Island University) which took place on Thursday 14th November in theUCD Humanities Institute. Listen to it below or download it on iTunes.

About the lecture: Hibernian Hardboiled: Race & Gender in Contemporary Irish Crime Fiction. Prior to the 2000s, there was no tradition of Irish crime fiction as such. Although several Irish writers produced crime novels and even a few series before 2000, most of these books were set outside of Ireland, published by non-Irish houses, and sold mainly in the US and the UK. That situation changed radically in the early years of the 21st century, when numerous Irish-authored/Irish-set series came into print and began selling very well both at home and abroad. Most of these books draw their plots from the successive waves of scandal that engulfed Ireland during the years of the economic boom and bust.

One key feature of the emerging Irish tradition in crime fiction is a radical absence of authority, which links it to American feminist crime fiction and also to black-authored hardboiled novels of the 1990s, both of which attempted to revise hardboiled ideology through a Foucauldian reverse discourse. However, the Irish version of the hardboiled tends to reinscribe that genre's original conventions, in which a white, male, heterosexual consciousness embodies an ideology that valorizes that tripled subject position. This talk examines some of the implications of the rise of Hibernian hardboiled in the 21st century. Writers discussed include Declan Hughes, Ken Bruen, Tana French, and Cormac Millar. The seminar was co-hosted by UCD Centre for Gender, Culture and Identities, and NUI Maynooth Gender, Performativity and Play research strand.