Spring 2023 - ENGL 439W D100

Seminar in World Literatures in English (4)


Class Number: 4302

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu, Th 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM
    RCB 6100, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Mary Ann Gillies
    Office: AQ 6145
    Office Hours: Tues and Thurs 1-2; and by appointment
  • Prerequisites:

    45 units or two 300-division English courses.



Advanced seminar in literary works in English, mainly from regions other than Canada, Britain and the United States. The course may focus on one or several literatures or individual authors, and will be organized according to specific critical methodologies. This course may be repeated for credit if a different topic is taught. Writing.


Aotearoa/New Zealand Crime Fiction

When we think of Aotearoa/New Zealand literature, we tend to think of names such as the early 20th century short story writer Katherine Mansfield or the mid-century novelist Janet Frame or the contemporary author Witi Ihimaera who was the first Māori writer to publish both a book of short stories and a novel. The works of these writers, and others, attest to the fact that there is a robust and multifaceted literary scene in this island nation.

In this course, we will shift our attention away from canonical literature and onto the genre of crime fiction. Aotearoa/New Zealand boasts some of the 20th and 21st centuries'  most interesting and accomplished crime fiction writers. We’ll start with Christchurch’s Ngaio Marsh who was considered one of the early 20th century’s “Queens of Crime.” We then move on to contemporary writers Paul Thomas, Vanda Symon, Paul Cleave, and Jonathan Cullinane, all of whom have written award winning and/or best-selling crime novels. We will end the course with a "collaboration" between Ngaio Marsh and contemporary author Stella Duffy.

We will start by establishing the genre’s conventions: the British country house tradition, the American hardboiled PI, and the police procedural. We will then look at how the genre travels – how do crime fiction conventions hold up when the crimes they detail are committed, and investigated, in a nation far from the genre’s English and American birthplaces?  And how do the national, cultural, political, and ethnic realities of contemporary Aotearoa/New Zealand reshape the genre? These are some of the questions this course will explore.

Please be aware that some of these texts deal with explicit and violent material that some students may find troubling.


  • Seminar Presentation 15%
  • Essay 1 (5-6 pages) 15%
  • Reflective Learning Journal 1 (3 entries @ 250-300 words each) 15%
  • Reflective Learning Journal 2 (3 entries @ 250-300 words each) 15%
  • Research Essay Proposal and Annotated Bibliography 10%
  • Research Essay (10-12 pages) 30%



Marsh, Ngaio   Died in the Wool (1945)

Cullinane, Jonothan  Red Herring (2017)

Thomas, Paul   Death on Demand (2012)

Symon, Vanda    Overkill (2007)

Cleave, Paul   Cemetery Lake (2009)

Marsh, Ngaio & Stella Duffy   Money in the Morgue (2018)

There will be additional readings placed in Canvas.

Books will be read in the order listed above.

I have NOT ordered books via the SFU Bookstore for this course. You can find copies of all of these texts either at local bookstores or online bookstores.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

IMPORTANT NOTE Re 300 and 400 level courses: 75% of spaces in 300 level English courses, and 100% of spaces in 400 level English courses, are reserved for declared English Major, Minor, Extended Minor, Joint Major, and Honours students only, until open enrollment begins.

For all On-Campus Courses, please note the following:
- To receive credit for the course, students must complete all requirements.
- Tutorials/Seminars WILL be held the first week of classes.
- When choosing your schedule, remember to check "Show lab/tutorial sections" to see all Lecture/Seminar/Tutorial times required.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html