Writers on Campus: Writing Crime

In this free event, Garry Disher, Vikki Petraitis and Dennis Altman will explore the why and how of writing crime.

Crime writing is one of the most popular genres in the world: from detective novels to television series to scripted podcasts, crime is enjoying another of its golden eras. But what is it about crime? Why do so many readers and writers enjoy it? And what makes it work?

La Trobe is home to some of the country’s most acclaimed crime writers and researchers. In this free event, Garry Disher, Vikki Petraitis and Dennis Altman will explore the why and how of writing crime.

Garry Disher lives on the Mornington Peninsula and has published over 50 books, including the widely translated Hirsch, Wyatt and Peninsula crime novels, which have been on best-seller lists and won several best-crime-novel awards in Australia and Germany including many Ned Kelly awards. The recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the Australian Crime Writers Association, his latest titles are the best-selling Hirsch novel, Day’s End, and a forthcoming stand-alone thriller, Sanctuary. Garry completed his PhD in creative writing at La Trobe in 2021 – his thesis on Australian rural noir won the Nancy Millis prize.

Vikki Petraitis is one of Australia’s queens of true crime. She has written over 20 books, including the ground-breaking The Frankston Murders, and her first, The Phillip Island Murders. In recent years, she has revisited some of her early research for a collection, Inside the Law: 25 years of true crime writing, and hugely successful true crime podcasts for Casefile, including The Vanishing of Vivienne Cameron. In 2017, Vikki started a PhD in Creative Writing at La Trobe, to explore in fiction some of the issues she’d written about in non-fiction. Her PhD novel, The Unbelieved, won the inaugural Allen & Unwin Crime Fiction Prize.

Dennis Altman is the son of Jewish refugees, who first came to attention with the publication of his book Homosexual: Oppression & Liberation in 1972. Since then he has written sixteen books and helped us analyse and understand the world, including Global Sex and the recent God Save the Queen: the strange persistence of monarchies. He is the Patron of the Australian Queer Archives and Pride Foundation Australia. Dennis has long been fascinated by crime writing and particularly Agatha Christie, and his latest book is a murder mystery: Death in the Sauna. Dennis retired recently after many years at La Trobe and was appointed a Vice Chancellor’s Fellow.

The panel will be hosted by Kelly Gardiner, novelist, President of Sisters in Crime, and Adjunct Senior Research Fellow in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

When: Wednesday 20 March, 12.30 pm
Where: Room 1.34, Level 1, Bundoora Library

Register now.