Monday, July 23, 2012

Harrogate - Deadlier than the Male

One of the things I did notice at the festival is that despite the reported figure that 80% of crime readers are women which was also borne out by the audience demographic, less than 33% of the authors appearing were women...

From the programme:
Is it women who write the most graphically violent crime fiction? Or has this simply become a myth that should be nailed once and for all? And whether written by men or women, why is it that the majority of this fiction is bought by female readers? Journalist Danuta Kean puts some uncomfortable questions to Jilliane Hoffman, Julia Crouch, Amanda Kyle Williams and Tania Carver aka Martin Waites who (as a man writing as a woman) has a stiletto in both camps.

My notes:
80% readers of crime fiction are women

Are women deadlier than than male?.

MW: There is a perception - he thinks he writes the same level of violence as Martin or Tania. If involved violence should hurt, not keen on graphic violence. Perceived as a blokey writer as Martin - that's because he's a bloke!

AKW: don't think we're more violent, there's a bias as people don't look for females when there is a serial killer on the loose. More shocking for women to write violence but they also have ability to write from victim's perspective.

JC: more in touch with fear; men are more likely to be attacked but they don't feel scared.

JH: rape - women can imagine it. Scene in Retribution doesn't say what attack involved. Women have more imagination than men and  they can imagine what happened. Mustn't cross line and go grotesque.

Why do women read so much crime fiction?

We're drawn to what makes people tick.

MW: men want to find out what people tick too.

JH: has the female come in and save the day. The Cutting Room sees return of CJ Townsend. JH's heroine kills the dragon.

AKW - her heroine kicks ass. Makes no apologies for the fact that it's violent. Readers read crime fiction as drawn to the dark.

JH - impart to readers what it feels to be a victim. We're desensitised to word rape so have to take reader through that night - readers wouldn't understand victim until they understood the crime; what motivates her to prosecute someone who may or may not be guilty and put them on death row.

MW - The Surrogate based on real life case in USA. who would do that? He got his wife Linda involved as of the two she's been more pregnant... Not gratuitous, did it like (film) Se7en and doesn't show much. Would have been different perspective if it was a Joe Donovan book. The last book his wife said read like a MW book so had to scrap it and rewrite as TC.

JH - The Cutting Room features a snuff group - fairly sure that one exists.

AKW - Scaring you is my job and I enjoy it.

MW - The White Room, one of two novels wanted to write as grew up few streets from Mary Bell (child killer) - it was a real miseryfest to write (though Guardian book of the year). He was writer in residence at a prison and one when he was in lockdown wrote male rape scene - later reread it and wondered where it had come from.

AKW - respects readers - entertainment and that's kind of it. Story reads fast and reader is satisfied in the end. Doesn't take self too seriously.

JH - check all is accurate, legally, medically.

JH - "know enough to fake it good"

AKW - would never harm an animal

JC - A French review of Cuckoo said don't harm the children; wouldn't do it in much detail

JH - no harm to children or animals, had to bump up age in Pretty Little Things (child pornography).

1 comment:

Maxine Clarke said...

The only one of these authors I've read is Tania Carver's first book which I thought sensationalistic for the sake of it and poorly written. But as MW says, clearly some people like that stuff!

I think the question addressed by this panel is a straw man (woman?!) argument - as most readers of any type of fiction book are women. So you can't draw generalisations.

Like you, I am always surprised at the sexism of these events, as there are as many female authors as male, and many more female readers (as you point out). So why don't panels reflect this? Science is just the same - well, there are not as many top female scientists as males (but there are plenty!), but panels are usually stacked with men, & invited speakers at conferences are about 90 per cent men.