Category Archives: Noir Con

Wanda (1970): Barbara Loden’s film as a noir

The highlight of my Noirvember viewing so far has been Barbara Loden’s Wanda (1970). Most of the writing about Loden’s sole directorial effort has understandably focused on the marginalisation of women in the American film industry and Loden’s role as an, until recently, unacknowledged pioneer in this regard. But I want to discuss another reading I think can be made of the film, Wanda as a noir.

When I ventured this opinion on social media several people questioned my characterisation. But it seems a pretty solid interpretation to me. It is not just that Wanda contains the strong elements of a heist thriller. Its central narrative, a woman dealing with a world in which she has little control and getting slowly sucked into committing a serious criminal act, seems like core noir territory. I wonder whether the reticence to see Wanda in this light comes from the perception that a film can’t simultaneously be feminist, a serious piece of art and a noir crime film.

Wanda first came to my attention while I was attending 2016 Noircon in Philadelphia. One of the panels was about little seen crime films of the 1970s that deserved to be better known. Among the panelists was a film maker called Jennifer Dean, who nominated two female directed crime films – the only two American crime films directed by women I am aware of from that era – Elaine May’s Mikey and Nicky (1976) and Wanda.… Read more

My NoirCon places

goodisIn just under a month from now, one of the most interesting literary festivals I have had the pleasure of attending kicks off in the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, the home of Edgar Allen Poe and David Goodis: NoirCon.

This year, NoirCon runs from October 26 to 30. If you already plan on attending, see you there. If not, now is the time to register.

It’s runs is not your common or garden-variety festival. No way. And that is a very good thing. The focus is firmly on noir, mainly fiction, but also film, poetry or whatever (and that last category, ‘whatever’, encapsulates some pretty bizarre material). It is great to sit in a room of people who, more or less, are all on the same page about their love of noir.

Anyway, NoirCon’s organiser, Lou Boxer, has come up with another terrific program, including some special guest, which you can view in detail here.

This year, I am thrilled to say I will be part of the program. I’ll be presenting on the morning of Friday, October 28, on the history of Australian pulp paperback publishing. I’m also reading at the Noir at the Bar as part of NoirCon, which will take place from 6.30pm at the Pen & Pencil Club, 1522 Latimer Street, Philadelphia, hosted by the inevitable Philly crime fiction identity, Peter Rozovsky.… Read more

Adventures in noir land

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It has been a while since I’ve posted here on Pulp Curry. This is because I’ve spent the last few weeks travelling in the US. I spent time in New York and Washington DC. I also visited the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, the home of Edgar Allen Poe, David Goodis and, every two years, one of the most interesting literary festivals I have experienced, NoirCon.

NoirCon is not your common or garden-variety festival. No way. And that is a very good thing.

First of all, the focus is firmly on noir, mainly fiction, but also film, poetry or whatever (and that last category, ‘whatever’, encapsulates some pretty bizarre material). I’m not saying there’s not a place for broader events that include a wider range of contributors and crime fiction sub-genres. But it’s also great to sit in a room of people who are, for once, more or less, all on the same page in terms of their love of noir, and not have to feel you have to justify or explain the focus.

Second, although it’s not exactly an exclusive event, neither does it try to be any bigger than need be. I get the feeling that while organiser, Lou Boxer, does his best to come up with new presenters and topics, he’s happy for the event not to get out of control or stray beyond the noir remit.… Read more

The first and last time I’ll talk about starting my new novel

The series of guest posts by US crime writers I’ve hosted over the last month on this site were sub-titled ‘Noir Con or Bust’.

Looks like, in this instance, it was bust.

Super storm Sandy and my daughter’s broken collarbone put paid to my carefully worked out plans to visit New York and Philadelphia.

Yes, I’m pissed off about it. But not half as pissed off as all those in the US and the Caribbean who have had to deal with the storm’s consequences.

Anyway, with an extra two weeks up my sleeve, it’s time to do something I’ve been putting off for a while now – start novel number 2.

And this post is the first and last time I’m going to talk about it until it’s finished.

That means I’m not going to Tweet, Facebook or blog any further about my daily word count, any trouble I’m having with certain plot points, my writers’ block or lack of it, and what progress generally I’m making with the manuscript.

End of story.

Full stop.

I don’t mean any disrespect to those writers out there who do this a part of your writing regimen, but it’s not my thing.

What else will I say about the new novel?

It’s a heist story.… Read more

Noir Con or bust guest post #6: a place to start

For my last ‘Noir Con or bust’ guest post, please welcome Sandra Seamans. As I’ve mentioned many times on this blog, one of the things about the crime fiction scene in the US I’m most envious of, is the incredibly vibrant network on on-line websites and print magazines that specialise in short crime fiction.

Not only do they produce some top notch crime fiction, they’re a great place for new and emerging crime writers to start cutting their teeth on their craft. This short fiction is also read by other authors, agents, and publishers. A number of crime writers have gone from submitting to these sites to getting their first publishing deal. 

Sandra has been published on a number of these sites. A collection of her stories, Cold Rifts, is published by Snubnose Press. Her blog, My Little Corner, is a great source of information about the US crime fiction scene, particular the short fiction scene. Read her post then check it out. You’ll see what I mean.

You’ve taken classes, got a handle on putting words together and you’ve written the most brilliant story in the world.  Yeah.  We’ve all felt that way about our first story and that’s what makes us fear the next step in the process. … Read more