Friday, 20 February 2009

A quick link to today's rant

And today, the subject is 'literary' vs. 'genre' fiction, and how frustrating I find the terms...


Len Tyler said...

May I briefly join your rant?

I agree that dividing the written word into “genre” and “literature” makes little sense. But it seems to be a problem that we are up against. As far as I know (correct me if I’m wrong) no crime novel has ever won the Booker Prize or the Whitbread/Costa. I don’t think that a crime novel has even been short-listed for the Booker. Are we all really writing that badly? Obviously not all crime novels are great literature, but there’s some excellent writing out there.

Of course, there is a plus side with a genre – people who already enjoy (say) crime or historical are more likely to give a new writer in that field a look. It is perhaps easier to build up a following. And (assuming other genres are like crime) you can count on advice and support from other authors writing in that field.

But it would still be good if, just occasionally, crime novels (and those from other genres) made it onto the short-lists for the major prizes.

Eliza Graham said...

I know--it's such a tired old distinction, isn't it? I keep coming back to crime fiction, to name just one 'genre' category, again and again. Because it's so good: well-written, illuminating, thought-provoking.