#31 Talking about crime writing and PhDs with Luke Deckard and Alex Reeve

Luke Deckard and Alex Reeve are both crime writers studying for a PhD in creative writing. What does it take? How do you do a creative writing PhD? And does it help in the world of publishing?

Way back in the mists of time, when I was too scared to simply sit down and write, I did a PhD in Italian Literature. The focus was reading other people’s work, not creating my own. So I was fascinated to know how a creative writing PhD works. Why do it? Does it help you get published? What about right brain/left brain? Does studying a subject academically for three years help or hinder the creative process? 
 
Luke is an aspiring crime writer who has published in various literary magazines and journals; Alex already has three published historical crime novels to his name. They describe how the creative writing PhD process is its a combination of the writing itself and studying an associated topic that you’ve chosen – such as the appearance and disappearance of trans characters in historical crime fiction, as in Alex's case, or the presentation of socio-political issues in hard-boiled fiction, as in Luke's. In fact, having the opportunity to investigate an area that fascinates you can feed the writing, as well as providing a welcome change from the putting on the wordcount sometimes. It was great to get their different perspectives on it. I love their tips and recommendations. Especially the exhortation NOT to do a PhD unless you’re a particular sort of person. Maybe you weren’t planning to anyway, but there is a lot in this episode about the process and the craft of writing to get your teeth into all the same.

Guardian review of The Butcher of Berner Street by Alex Reeve: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/nov/20/the-best-recent-and-thrillers-review-roundup
Luke Deckard: https://thecwa.co.uk/find-an-author/deckard-luke
Surrey University English Literature PhD: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/postgraduate/english-literature-phd
Kingston University PhD: https://www.kingston.ac.uk/research/research-degrees/available-degrees/phd/
Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters: https://www.waterstones.com/book/tipping-the-velvet/sarah-waters/9781860495243

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© 2020 Sophia Bennett