Girls, Girls, Girls!: Defining and Deconstructing ‘Domestic Noir’

deadline for submissions: 
May 1, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Trinity College Dublin

Call for Papers:

Girls, Girls, Girls!: Defining and Deconstructing ‘Domestic Noir’


Deadline for Submission: 1 May 2019


Contact email:



A free-of-charge one-day symposium on domestic noir fiction, hosted by the School of English at Trinity College Dublin in association with the Trinity Long Room Hub, on Friday 23 August 2019.

In recent years, the ‘domestic noir’ genre has seen a surge in popularity, with bestsellers like Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and A.J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window garnering critical acclaim and commercial success. These narratives of domestic suspense are the latest incarnations of a genre which has existed in various forms since the nineteenth century, from the ‘had I but known’ intrigue of the sensation novel to the mid-20th-century marriage thriller. These narratives invariably centre on the domestic sphere, with a particular focus on the lived experience of the women for whom these spaces may prove treacherous or psychologically stifling. Author Julia Crouch, the originator of the term ‘domestic noir’, defines it as fiction that “takes place primarily in homes and workplaces, concerns itself largely (but not exclusively) with the female experience, is based around relationships and takes as its base a broadly feminist view that the domestic sphere is a challenging and sometimes dangerous prospect for its inhabitants.” This symposium is the first of its kind, focusing exclusively on narratives which broadly fit these criteria.


We are delighted to have secured the author and originator of the term ‘domestic noir,’ Julia Crouch, as a keynote speaker for this event. Our second keynote speaker is Dr Bernice Murphy F.T.C.D. (Trinity College Dublin), world-renowned expert on popular literature.


We are pleased to announce that we have in place an agreement with the peer-reviewed journal CLUES: A Journal of Detection to publish a special issue on domestic noir in Spring 2020 based on the best papers from this event.


We invite proposals to take part in informal 3-person panels where each contributor will present a 10-minute mini-paper on their topic, to be followed by a chaired group Q and A discussion.


Papers may focus on, but are not limited to:


  • Early examples of ‘domestic noir’ fiction (e.g. sensation novels or mid-century marriage suspense thrillers which centre female experiences).
  • The complexity of the female characters who often populate the pages of these narratives - the deliberate ‘unlikability’ of some of these women
  • the relationship between reader and (female) victim or perpetrator.
  • Domestic suspense and class positioning.
  • The inversion of gothic imagery in the contemporary ‘domestic noir’ thriller –
  • violence or psychological breakdown in the supposedly safe confines of the pristine middle-class home.
  • The intimacy of the crimes these narratives typically focus on.
  • The popularity of the ‘girl’ novel, particularly among female readers.
  • Motherhood and ‘domestic noir’
  • The femme fatale and domestic noir

Abstracts (around 300 words) along with a short biography should be sent to Dr. Clare Clarke and Eva Burke at by 1 May 2019.


Event website and booking:


We are pleased to announce that we will have 10 travel bursaries of €100 available for unfunded students or ECRs. Please include a short statement about your circumstances along with your proposal if you would like to be considered for one of these bursaries. (Bursaries will be provided after the event on production of vouched travel receipts).