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The University of Southampton

Ruth Rendell presents "Crime Novels for the 21st Century" at Chawton House Library

Published: 13 November 2003

World famous crime novelist Ruth Rendell will be presenting a lecture and signing copies of her books at Chawton House Library, near Alton in Hampshire on Friday 21 November.

Ruth Rendell is considered by many to be Britain's greatest living crime writer. Her novels are critically acclaimed and she is famous for creating the character, Inspector Wexford, and writing psychological mystery stories under the name Barbara Vine.

Many of her stories have been filmed and adapted for television - some of the adaptations over the years have involved filming at the University of Southampton.

Ruth Rendell will be the first in the series of Contemporary Women Writers at Chawton House Library and Study Centre in conjunction with the University. Her lecture is entitled "Crime Novels for the 21st Century" and will also include a book signing and photograph opportunity after the event.

The Contemporary Women Writer's Series acknowledges the debt today's women writers owe to those of the past. Authors, playwrights and poets will reflect on their own work and their dialogue with women writers from the period represented by the Chawton collection.

A selection of Ruth Rendell novels will be available to purchase on the night and Ruth will be signing copies of her new novel "The Rottweiler" in conjunction with the Little Green Dragon bookshop in Alton, Hampshire.

The lecture takes place on Friday 21 November 2003 at 6.30pm at Chawton House Library. It is open to members of the public and tickets are available from Kathy Quinn at Chawton House on 01420 541010 priced £15 and £12 concessions.

If members of press wish to attend the lecture and book signing please contact Susie Grandfield at Chawton House on 01420 541010 or email

* There is strictly no photography permitted during the lecture.

Notes for editors

  1. Ruth Rendell's first novel, From Doon with Death was published in 1964. She has won many awards, including Crime Writer's Association Gold Dagger for 1976's best crime novel A Demon in My View, and the Arts Council National Book Award, genre fiction, for The Lake of Darkness in 1980. In 1985, Ruth Rendell received the Silver Dagger for The Tree of Hands, and in 1987, writing as Barbara Vine, won her third Edgar from the Mystery Writers of America for A Dark-Adapted Eye. She won the Gold Dagger for Live Flesh in 1986, for King Solomon's Carpet in 1991 and, as Barbara Vine, a Gold Dagger in 1987 for A Fatal Inversion. Ruth Rendell won the Sunday Times Literary Award in 1990, and in 1991 she was awarded the Crime Writer's Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for outstanding contribution to the genre. In 1996 she was awarded a CBE, and in 1997 was made a Life Peer. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Her books have been translated into 25 languages and are also published to great acclaim in the United States.
  2. Chawton House is the Grade II listed Elizabethan manor house in the village of Chawton near Alton in Hampshire which belonged to Jane Austen's brother, Edward Austen Knight. The house, gardens and parkland, which would have been frequently visited by Jane Austen, have undergone ten years of sensitive restoration to establish a Library and Centre for the Study of Early English Women's Writing from 1600-1830. A major contributor to the project has been American businesswoman Sandy Lerner, through her charitable foundation the Leonard X. Bosack and Bette M. Kruger Charitable Foundation.
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