Wednesday 25 March 2020

Literary lady?

Literary means – of, constituting or occupied with books or written composition. Suppose that means I'm literary to some extent, as I'm often occupied with reading or writing.

To prove it, here are photos of me in libraries and bookshops.

You can also be described as literary if you're well informed about literature. Words or phrases which are used mainly in works of literature or other formal writing are considered literary.

I won't be doing another book signing for a while, but you can get your hands on my books here. (There are a couple of short free ones.)
This competition from Fitzcarraldo is for 'a book-length work of literary fiction written in English by published and unpublished writers around the world.' Entries close 1st July. The prize is publication and an avance of $10,000. 

There is no entry fee.

Even though I don't reckon it's what I write, I don't really know how to define 'literary fiction'? What does that phrase mean to you? What's the alternative?

Are you literary?


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patsy - I might feel literary ... but really only because I love visiting libraries, museums etc and having a range of books to read - thank goodness today. Look after yourselves - cheers Hilary

Frank Carver said...

"Literary Fiction" is indeed a conundrum. It's tempting to assume it is perhaps writing which does not fit one of the other genres, but when you look at books labelled as "literary", they seem to range fairly widely, overlapping many other genres (even though, for example, it's rare to see a sci-fi story labelled as "literary"!)

I have a notion that "literary" implies in some sense that the writing is somehow more important than the story. An odd thing, but I guess that's how you win "literary" prizes!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Literary fiction is not my thing, that much I know.
You'll be doing events again soon. Looks like you have fun with them.

Lynn Love said...

I'm definitely genre, not literary. Though I like to think you can be classed as a genre writer and still write well, if not beautifully. Literary fiction to me means novels that are more focussed on writing style and technique over plot. Some 'literary' novels seem to have very little plot and go out of their way to be obscure and hard to read as if that somehow reinforces their literary credentials. Hoping you get to do some more signings soon. Take care

Marguerite said...

Literary fiction - maybe more focussed on a character or a transient moment in time, leading nowhere (perhaps I have not had many good experiences, sorry). Some, such as the Bronte classics which I deem to be literary (am I right?) have always been of interest to me but possibly not more recent ones.
I agree with Alex: you look as though you enjoy the book signing!
Take care :)

Jane Bettany said...

Thanks, Patsy. I’ve never managed to nail the definition of literary fiction, but I think you recognise it instinctively when you read or write it.

For anyone of a literary bent, I’ve just heard about a free Stay-at-Home festival for readers and writers. There are lots of webinar events over the coming days, which should provide a welcome distraction from other things! In case any of your followers are interested, the festival website is

Lel said...

I am not the only one to be a bit foggy about what literary fiction is! this is good to know. I have noted a sometimes value laden notion that it is related to quality but then... what is quality? Lots of people rubbished Dan Brown but he wrote what people wanted to read.
Last year I set myself a task of reading loads of Guardian recommended books. I read some absolute stinkers! If I am to understand reviewers this was clearly something to do with my lack of understanding about the 'marvellous' books. Hmmm

I am also pondering 'literary fiction' for a forthcoming blog post. i will post the link when it is up.

Bendywriter said...

I've decided that my current style is more shopping list. This is me branching out into full blown sentences! Now need restorative tea and biscuits to get over the shock.

Rosemary Johnson said...

I agree with Lynn Love 100%. My writing is definitely genre-orientated and this is what I read as well as write. I enjoy my reading immensely, the best part of the day. My husband reads literary fiction. He always seem to ploughing through some unremittingly grim work.

Patsy said...

@ Hilary – I reckon that makes you literary.

@ Frank – I agree with your definition of the writing being considered more important than the story (and that this is odd!).

@ Alex – I did enjoy the events and I'm sure such things will happen again sometime.

@ Lynn – Genre novels can certainly be well written. Personally, much as I love beautiful writing, I feel there needs to be a story to hold my attention too. Otherwise it's pretty patters, not a complete picture.

@ Margeurite – Classics often tend to be considered as literary now, but I'm not sure they all were at time of writing.

@ Jane – thanks for the link. There's lots of interesting stuff happening online, isn't there?

@ Lel – I'd far rather read something I can immediately follow than something I'm not cleverer enough to realise is brilliant as I struggle to make sense of it.

@ Bendwriter – Those are excellent sentences!

@ Rosemary – having to plough through something isn't my idea of a good read!