True crime regularly tops poll as one of the most popular literary genres and it often focuses on the worst of humanity: murderers, necrophiles, .. Read more cannibals, and the like. Only a small percentage of the world’s murders are committed by serial killers, yet approximately 40% of true crime books focus on serial murder, often promising a glimpse into the mind of fiends such as Ted Bundy, Andrei Chikatilo and Myra Hindley. Although generally considered to be ‘low culture’, salacious and disreputable, true crime narratives have also garnered critical plaudits, with Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood becoming a classic of American literature and Normal Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1980. True crime’s focus has also shifted; salacious retellings of serial murders have been replaced by thoughtful examinations of neglected cold cases, and righteous opposition to corrupt and prejudiced institutions. Against this backdrop, our True Crime conference will explore the popularity of true crime, past and present, considering how these stories expose deeper societal issues and tensions. We will examine the links between real crimes and crime fiction, how one feeds into the other with sometimes horrifying consequences; and examine the moral landscape of true crime, including its potential to re-traumatise survivors, victims’ families and witnesses. Please feel free to put forward proposals that you think will get the message across, in whatever form.
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