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2022 St Hilda's Crime Fiction Weekend

Beth Lewis

The St Hilda’s Crime Fiction Weekend returns this August (12th to 14th August) both online and in person. This year's theme is 'Town and Country: green lanes to mean streets', comparing urban crime with those of a more rural variety.

One of the guests is author Beth Lewis. Daily Info sat down them to discuss their latest novel, the upcoming weekend and Oxford’s place in crime fiction.

Daily Info: Your latest novel, The Origins of Iris, came out in May. Tell us a bit about it.

Beth Lewis: The Origins of Iris is the story of a woman who escapes an abusive relationship. She flees her wife after a terrible fight and essentially disappears into the wilderness. While there, she meets another version of herself, one who made different, and seemingly all the right, choices. It’s a novel about love, regret, following dreams and letting them go, and the big question we ask ourselves, what if…?

DI: Is there anything in particular that inspires your writing?

BL: This is such a tough question because it depends on the book I’m writing but largely, it’s the setting and that’s always inspired by nature. I don’t feel truly relaxed unless I’m under trees or atop cliffs so I love writing about wild or rural settings as I get to live in them a bit myself.

DI: What are you looking forward to about the St Hilda's Crime Fiction Weekend?

BL: I’m so excited to be involved with such a great celebration of crime fiction, especially in such hallowed surroundings. Mainly, I can’t wait to see the other speakers and hear their talks, especially Abir Mukherjee and Anna Bailey. I love their books.

DI: Why do you feel Oxford and the surrounding areas is such a rich inspiration and setting for crime fiction?

BL: Oxford is full of stories. It’s got such a rich heritage and dichotomies between past and present, town and university, it makes it fertile ground for any writer, but especially crime. When you have contrasting social spheres and longstanding organisations, undoubtedly with skeletons and secrets in their closets, the potential for conflict and tension is too much to ignore.

DI: Where do you feel the crime fiction genre is right now? What are the trends that stand out for you?

BL: I think Crime fiction is going from strength to strength. We’re seeing more diverse voices gain traction, authors are taking more risks, exploring new themes and publishers are allowing them that space. Unfortunately, when a genre is as big and open as Crime, we always get the celebrities adding their novels to the pile and inevitably gobbling up all the promotional space. I am also enjoying the resurgence of ‘cosy’ crime, which is just what we need after the last few years.

St Hilda's Crime Fiction Weekend runs this year from 12th to 14th August.

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