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25th of March; The Christie Cases – Merja Makinen

Are you an Agatha Christie fan? Then come along and hear Associate Professor Merja Makinen speak about Agatha Christie and her work, on Wednesday 25th March at 3.30 until 5.00.

Merja Makinen

Merja MakinenMerja Makinen has a BA(Hons) First Class in English Literature with Art History in 1977 at Middlesex Polytechnic, an MA in Later Victorian and Edwardian Literature in 1979 at the University of Manchester, and a PhD in English Literature. She is also Principal Lecturer in English Literature and Director of Programmes for the Culture and Communications group within the Media department at Middlesex University.

Merja writes on feminist twentieth century fiction (particularly on Angela Carter and Jeanette Winterson), gender and popular fiction, which includes detective and crime writing. She has previously written criticisms on Agatha Christie’s work, focusing on Christie’s work in relation to gender roles and femininity. She has published on feminist writing in the Twentieth-century (especially on Angela Carter and Jeanette Winterson) and on popular genre fiction, including detective and crime writing.

Christie’s books depict women as adventurous, independent figures who renegotiate sexual relationships along more equal lines. Women are also allowed to disrupt society and yet the texts refuse to see them as double deviant because of their femininity. Merja’s book ‘Agatha Christie: Investigating Femininity’  demonstrates exactly how quietly innovatory Christie was in relation to gender.

Dr. Merja Markinen has featured as a speaker in many international conferences and symposiums on gender, women leaders and Agatha Christie. Most recently she was a keynote speaker at the 2014 conference ‘Agatha Christie: Crime, Culture, Celebrity’. The first in Britain to engage with Christie’s life, work, and popularity. An interdisciplinary event, Agatha Christie: Crime, Celebrity, Culture sought to unite researchers across the humanities with an interest in Agatha Christie’s work, life, and her afterlife in TV, film, and, popular culture.

Merja’s work chronicles how quietly innovatory Agatha Christie was in relation to gender, beginning in 1920 and concluding in the early 1970s.


Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie was born in Wallingford, Oxfordshire in 1890. The children of upper middle-class parents, she enjoyed a happy childhood and was surrounded by a series of strong and independent women. She didn’t have many friends as a young girl and spent much of her time reading, and as she got older she explored the surreal world of writers such as Lewis Carroll.

Her first detective novel was The Mysterious Affair at Styles featuring the character of Hercule Poirot, who became a frequent star of Christie’s detective novels. Subsequent novels included characters like Miss Marple and cemented Christie as a famous detective writer.

She eventually was named Dame, three years after her second husband had been knighted for his archaeological work. Christie’s health began to deteriorate and she passed away due to natural causes in 1976, her works still inspiring many crime writers today.


The festival is free and open to students, staff and the public, and is free to attend.


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