190 – What Is Literary Fiction?

The Mythcreant Podcast
Have you heard of this thing called literary fiction? We have, but we’re not quite certain what it is or why it matters. And we’re not the only ones who are confused. This week we get deep into what “literary” means, and how much writers should think about it when creating their stories. Prepare for an epic debate over art, craft, and books about whales.

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Opening and closing theme: The Princess Who Saved Herself by Jonathan Coulton. Used with permission.

Show Notes:

The Grapes of Wrath

Fahrenheit 451


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Moby Dick

The Southern Reach


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  1. Julia

    Sometimes I think the main thing separating literary fiction from genre fiction is just where the bookstores decide to shelve them. A lot of books under the general ‘literature’ section have spec fic elements: Beloved has a ghost, The Night Circus is pretty fantastical, and The Time Traveler’s Wife has, well, time travel.

    • Oren Ashkenazi

      That’s certainly how it seems to me. A lot like how YA is more of a publisher’s genre than a reader’s genre.

      • Cay Reet

        Same goes for pulp. You can write any kind of story pulp-ish.

  2. Bryony

    Literary fiction is the book version of Oscar bait ?

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