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Authors and publishers who produce true crime stories have given us printed works as moral tales and as pieces of entertainment. Focusing on Australian murder cases, historian Rachel Franks suggests that reading true crime also offers something richer: it allows us to connect with processes of punishment. We feel outrage in reaction to terrible violence but also feel satisfaction when a murderer is made to pay for their crimes. True crime – a type of storytelling that deals, primarily, in the business of death – is often described as cheap and trashy; yet these works facilitate opportunities for us to reiterate our shared values, making true crime one of the most important literatures we have.

Dr Rachel Franks is the Coordinator, Education & Scholarship at the State Library of New South Wales, a Conjoint Fellow at the University of Newcastle, Australia and is at The University of Sydney researching true crime. Rachel holds a PhD in Australian crime fiction and her research on crime fiction, true crime, popular culture and information science has been presented at numerous conferences. An award-winning writer, her work can be found in a wide variety of books, journals and magazines as well as on social media.

When: Thursday 6 September 2018, 10:30am
Where: Redleaf (Woollahra Council Chambers), 536 New South Head Road, Double Bay
Cost: Free – book online
Contact:, 02 9391 7100
Hosted by Woollahra Libraries

Proudly presented as part of the History Council of NSW’s Speaker Connect program for History Week 2018, supported by Create NSW.

Image: courtesy Rachel Franks