Award-winning journalist and internationally acclaimed writer Margie Orford will present an analysis of The Simple Art of Murder.

Written in 1944, Raymond Chandler’s famous and enduring essay on the ethics and the aesthetics of writing crime and fiction frames so much about the perception of crime and its representations – both fictional and real. Discussing the hardboiled detective novel – from Hitchcock’s films to The Wire, from Chandler’s detective Philip Marlowe to the heroes of the new wave of South African crime fiction – the questions implicit in Chandler’s essay remain, and provide useful illumination towards some South African answers.

Described by top journalist Sue Grant-Marshall as “the queen of South African crime thriller writers”, Orford is well placed to dissect this text. Also the author of several works of non-fiction, her gripping series of Clare Hart novels have been translated into nine languages. “In a country where murder seems like a national sport at times, although I have not found the art of murder that simple, I have found writing about it oddly comforting”, says Orford.

Born in London, Orford grew up in Namibia, the setting for her highly acclaimed second novel in the series, Blood Rose. A Fulbright Scholar, she was educated in at the University of Cape Town and at the CUNY Graduate Centre in New York, where she completed a Masters in Comparative Literature.

Margie Orford is Executive Vice-President of South African PEN, the patron of Rape Crisis and of the children’s book charity, the Little Hands Trust. Her other works include a book on climate change and the Kyoto Protocol’s clean development mechanism; a book called Rural Voices, a portrait of South Africa outside of its cities; and a book to commemorate fifty years of the Black Sash. She was Namibian editor for the ground-breaking archival retrieval project, Women Writing Africa, the Southern Volume published by the Feminist Press at CUNY. She has also written several children’s books and writes a column for the Cape Times.

Refreshments served from 5 pm, lecture commences at 5.30 pm.

Margie Orford audio recording available for download.

Margie Orford video recording:

Start: 1 Mar ’12 5:00 pm

End: 1 Mar ’12 7:00 pm

Cost: Free



Venue: Hiddingh Hall 

Phone: +27 21 480 7156 

Address: Google Map UCT Hiddingh Campus, 31 Orange Street, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa