Spectre of popular agent looms over Spy Week

A history of Britain's favourite fictional agent and a talk on women's roles in espionage are among the highlights in a celebration of spy fiction and film.

Literature and film experts as well as best-selling authors will also discuss double agents and notions of citizenship during Spy week, which is being hosted by the University from 5 to 12 April.

Fictional spy

The world of Ian Fleming’s celebrated fictional spy, James Bond will be probed by a panel of academics who will discuss the many faces of the British secret service agent on screen. 

Film experts will examine how different actors, such as Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Daniel Craig, have changed the cultural perception and physical image of James Bond.

Expert panel

Among the specialists taking part are Lucy Bolton, of Queen Mary University of London, Nick Jones, of the University York and Julie Lobalzo Wright, of the University of Warwick.

Each film that features a new Bond actor will be screened at the Edinburgh Filmhouse.  

Best-selling author Anthony Horowitz will discuss his novel Forever and A Day, a prequel to Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale, which he wrote following the release of the 2006 film. 

Best-selling authors

The role of women in politics and espionage in the 17th century will be discussed by Nadine Akkerman, author of the prize-winning Invisible Agents.

Elsewhere best-selling detective writer Val McDermid and spy novelist Adam Brookes will explore the differences between crime and espionage fiction and talk about their own work.

Spy literature

Double agents and notions of citizenship in literature are being investigated at the annual Professor Susan Manning Memorial Lecture. The talk is being presented by Professor Adam Piette, of the University of Sheffield, who is author of The Literary Cold War, 1945 to Hi Vietnam.

Award-winning novelist Adam Roberts will lift the curtain on secrecy, conspiracy and surveillance in science fiction in a discussion with Professor John Plotz, of Harvard University.  

The hidden literary world of Bletchey Park – once the top-secret home of Second World War codebreakers – will be uncovered by Dr Natalie Ferris, of the University of Edinburgh.

Dr Ferris will examine the creative lives of the people who worked there.

Another highlight will be Spies Like Us – a panel discussion where students will showcase their research on spying, secrecy and literature.

We are delighted to work with other cultural bodies in Edinburgh to bring together some of the leading experts in this genre. Edinburgh Spy Week is a unique public event that focuses on espionage fiction and film and the ways in which secrecy and spying run through our history and culture.

Professor Penny FieldingSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures 

The events taking place across Edinburgh, are mostly free but ticketed.

Edinburgh Spy Week is organised by the University of Edinburgh in partnership with the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh Filmhouse, and Blackwell’s bookshop.

Related links

Edinburgh Spy Week 2019

School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

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