Genre Bending
This from a recent issue of the London Times Literary Supplement-
Autobiografiction: "We are familiar with the idea that all creative writing must be autobiographical in some way", but the Edwardian writer Stephen Reynolds understood that foggy notion, as Max Saunders shows, in a valuable and almost wholly overlooked contribution to literature. "Fiction can be 'autobiographical' in many different ways; yet the relation between the two remains a major blind spot in the theory of modern literature."
Along the same lines, what would be the proper name for “non-fiction?” This tag tells us what the genre purports not to be, but what is it, really, especially since it allows for fictionalization?
Banned Books Week
We’ve just been through Banned Books Weeks, a noble attempt by libraries to bite those who would ban books. Cynically, I think it’s a non-issue, particularly for the near-two-thirds of the U.S. public who don’t read, or read only pulp and Cosmo. Still, a few good readers in a nation mean a lot. One of the primary tenets of literature is that challenging your beliefs, preconceptions, cultural biases, etc. makes you a better thinker, despite your reaction after having read a given controversial book. Without that gauntlet being tossed between the book covers, you become narrower and shallower, which is bad news for any political state that purports to be a democracy.
Poets and Writers
There’s an excellent interview in the latest copy of P&W with Molly Friedrich, one of the big name NY agents. I urge you to read it on the P&W website, but a couple of her comments deserve mention.
First, for the fiction writers out there, she’s yet one more voice saying: “Fiction is being published less and less. The stakes are higher.” What she means is that the big pub houses are still willing to put out major bucks for fiction, but it has to have an immediate payoff. And she’s yet one more proponent of upping royalties and cutting advances.
Another point: When asked what thing makes her job the hardest, she’s not talking pitching a book. Or rejections. Or slowly bringing a writer with talent along. “It’s the whining,” she says. To be succinct, she wants, demands, professionalism from editors, as well as authors.
Read the article – this is what life is like at the top of the publishing food chain.


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