ellen datlow (ellen_datlow) wrote,
ellen datlow
ellen_datlow

Genre vs literary

I get soooo tired of these diatribes by the "literary" against all genre literature as not being worthy. I'm going to link to Cheryl Morgan's response, a little farther down, which is right on the money.

The original diatribe--and Kelman's defenders and critics--miss the point, which is that writing within a specific genre does not necessarily limit the imagination, or quality/beauty of the writing--only the skill of the writer does. There's plenty of crap "literary" writing out there. Interestingly, Kelman believes that genre fiction reviews drive out literary fiction reviews. Perhaps it does in the UK but that's certainly not the case in the US. Most genre fiction (except for the biggest bestsellers) get short shrift in the US.

The whole thing began with James Kelman attacking at the Edinburgh Book Festival: "deriding Scotland’s obsession with 'upper middle-class young magicians' and 'f****** detective fiction'. He went on to target the whole of the Scottish literary establishment.

Singling out this country’s failure to embrace its 'radical traditions' and its insistence on doling out praise to 'mediocre' writers, he bemoaned a commercialised literary scene in thrall to Harry Potter and Rebus.

'If the Nobel Prize came from Scotland they would give it to a writer of f****** detective fiction, or else some kind of child writer, or something that was not even new when Enid Blyton was writing The Faraway Tree, because she was writing about some upper middle-class young magician or some f****** crap,' he said.

Contemporary literature, he said, was 'derided and sneered at by the Scottish literary establishment' who were 'Anglocentric' and bent on ignoring the edgier talent that is right under their noses – citing poet Tom Leonard as an example of one such cruelly marginalised Scot."

Ok. Here is Cheryl's response: Genre vs Literary: Here we Go again, with links to various opinion pieces in local news venues.

Don't just post here without reading Cheryl's response. It's too important to ignore.
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