IT'S official, Irish crime fiction is the new chick lit. Crime fiction fans flocked to Ireland's first Crime Fiction Festival at Trinity College in Dublin yesterday.
The two-day festival, presented by the School of English at Trinity College and Glucksman Ireland House at New York University, hosted a number of Irish crime writers, including Gene Kerrigan, Niamh O'Connor, Louise Phillips and John Connolly.
"It's a totally new thing in Ireland," author Jane Casey told the Sunday Independent in the packed Edmund Burke Hall.
"In terms of genre fiction, the Irish took over women's fiction and made it their own very strongly. Crime fiction is something that for various reasons hadn't taken off in quite the same way until more recently, but now there is a big appetite for it," Casey added.
According to best-selling Irish author Connolly, Irish crime fiction is having its moment in the sun.
"We couldn't have had a festival like this 10 years ago, even five years ago we'd have been struggling, but there has been such an increase in crime writers in Ireland in the last number of years," he said.
Author Arlene Hunt believes that the recent surge in popularity for Irish crime fiction is a result of Irish people becoming comfortable with their reflection.
"We're really starting to come into our own," she said. "The themes in Irish crime novels are really good too, it's not just little cosy stories anymore; it's dealing with the fallout of the Celtic Tiger and stuff that is actually happening in Ireland."
The festival concluded with a special guest appearance by best-selling Irish-American crime author Michael Connelly, whose books have sold more than 50 million copies worldwide.
"Crime fiction is a great genre to be a part of," Connelly told the Sunday Independent yesterday.
"Life is complicated and when you read stories where you start with disorder and you bring it to a sense of order and you solve something, there's a reassurance in that for people."