Skip to Content

'No better kind of fiction'

5 June 2017

There is still a great deal of snobbery about crime and thriller writing. There are people who think a crime novel can't be proper literature, mainly because they are prejudiced against genre fiction and writing that is plot-based. Whether one ought to care about this, I'm not sure. Personally, I've always thought crime fiction is the best kind of literature. Done well and properly, there is no better kind of fiction. If other people can't see that, then I think that's a shame for them but I am not going to get angry about it. No one should condescend to Agatha Christie - she's a genius

I think the themes that I am interested in writing about are similar in my crime fiction and in my poetry. I want to write about people, the way they behave, their psychology, the whole gamut of relationships - romantic partnerships, family, friendships. Even formally, I think poetry and crime fiction have a lot in common. In a tightly plotted crime novel and a highly metrical poem, for instance, structure is crucially important. Every single element has to be in the right balance and proportion to everything else. I am a real structure freak and I think that's one of the reasons both poetry and crime fiction appeal to me.

Sophie Hannah, author of Did You See Melody? plus 18 other novels and 5 poetry collections in the Guardian