Event explores Bible’s role in crime writing

The Bible’s influence on crime fiction and drama is the focus of a University event featuring award-winning writers and scholars.

A day-long conference, organised by Dr Alison Jack from the School of Divinity and Dr Caroline Blyth from the University of Auckland, will examine much-loved books and dramas from the 20th century to the modern day.

Speakers will highlight how authors such as Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and Peter May have drawn on biblical traditions to explore social anxieties about violence, religion and the search for justice and truth.

The Bible in Crime Fiction and Drama

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

New College

Tickets cost £25 and the event is open to the public, although pre-booking is essential.

Booking details

Acclaimed speaker

Professor Liam McIlvanney, of the University of Otago in New Zealand, will deliver the keynote speech.

A crime writer himself, Professor McIlvanney has won numerous awards for The Quaker, a novel loosely based on the unsolved case of a Glaswegian serial killer – the so-called Bible John.

Professor McIlvanney is also the son of the highly revered late novelist and poet William McIlvanney, often cited as the father of the tartan noir genre.

Insightful event

The conference will draw on a collection of essays co-edited by Dr Jack and Dr Blyth.

Books covered during the event include a Sherlock Holmes story, Peter May’s Lewis trilogy, Henning Mankell’s novel Before the Frost and Agatha Christie’s post-war novels.

Further speakers include Dr JC Bernthal from the University of Cambridge, Dr Matthew Collins from the University of Chester and Edinburgh’s Professor Penny Fielding.


The Bible has always enjoyed notoriety within crime fiction and drama. At this event, we will look at how 20th and 21st century crime writers use the text in new ways to develop layers of meaning to their work. Whether you are an amateur sleuth, or an expert in the field, we hope that this conference will enhance your understanding of the genre and spark new ways of thinking.

Dr Alison JackSchool of Divinity 

Related links

The Bible in Crime Fiction and Drama

Conference booking details

Study at the University’s School of Divinity

Dr Alison Jack

Dr Caroline Blyth

Professor McIlvanney