Despite the torrential rain, 150 guests arrived at The Museum on 18th May to hear Denise Mina give our first Heritage Society talk. From our first communication, Denise was keen to support the Heritage Society and the Museum. The excellence of the collections and their inspirational value was something that Denise stressed to potential visitors throughout the talk, stating that ‘if this museum was in St Petersburg, I would go there just to see it, but because things are on our doorstep, we often overlook them’.
Denise’s skills as a storyteller excelled as she gave a personal insight into how she became a crime writer and discussed what some of her influences were. Denise highlighted the personal connections she had gained with patients when working in auxiliary nursing for geriatric and terminal care patients. She also talked of her brief spell as ‘Glasgow’s most surly bar maid’ and her route into academic study, including how PhD study in Criminology had the unexpected outcome of producing, rather than a thesis, her first novel Garnethill. For readers of her work, this gave a fascinating insight into the creation of the characters and the relationships within her writing.
During the Heritage talk Denise covered many topics, including the perception of people due to class, the rise of the graphic novel and the film project documenting the lives of her ‘enormous’ family. Denise also talked of how the perception of female writers and characters has changed during her writing career. When she introduced journalist Paddy Meehan as the protagonist of Garnethill in 1998, she was told it may appear farfetched to have a female lead. However, when reintroducing DI Alex Morrow in her 2011 novel End of the Wasp season, comments were made that a female leading the story and solving the crime could be seen as clichéd. Denise attributed this partly to the rise of Danish and Scandinavian characters, and especially, The Killing character Sarah Lund. We thank Denise for giving a fascinating and entertaining talk and for making our first Heritage event an excellent evening.
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