I was fortunate to have been offered the opportunity to present my paper “Detecting the movement of meaning: A examination of Christie in both world and national context” at the third annual Ageless Agatha Christie Conference organised by Mia Dormer and Dr Jamie Bernthal. The one and a half day conference was held at the University of Exeter and featured a variety of papers all around the Queen of Crime as well as readings by crime authors Sophie Hannah, Andrew Wilson and Alison Joseph. Besides giving an exclusive reading of her new Poirot novel Closed Casket (2016), keynote speaker Sophie Hannah also gave a fascinating and thought-provoking talk about fidelity when adapting and continuing Agatha Christie’s work in her novel The Monogram Murders (2014).
As part of the ‘Global Christie’ panel, my paper focused on two epitextual statues drawn from Christie’s work, one in London and one in Ellezelles, Belgium. By examining these two epitexts, my paper argued that Christie’s work takes on different national and transnational meanings. While the memorial statue of Christie in the heart of London seeks to maintain Britain’s status as one of the most important popular culture exporters in the world, the statue of her famous detective Hercule Poirot begins to represent a unifying symbol for the fragmented identity of Belgium.
As this was my very first conference outside of the Postgraduate Community at Bournemouth University, it was a challenging experience for me and pushed me out of my comfort zone. It provided me with the chance to broaden my horizon, network with experts in the field and receive feedback on my paper as well as develop valuable skills, which I am convinced will be highly beneficial on my future academic path.