A Theory on Literary vs Genre

Lonely Power Poles


The merits of literary against genre novels is a common discussion among writers, genre writers tend to see ‘literary’ (as a category) a a snobbish, pretentious affair, and visa versa genre novels are touted as low-brow entertainment.

Readers of course scratch their head and say ‘we want to read good books’ which is a fine stance to take of course.

I am however always drawn to try and clarify murky distinctions and the exact differences between literary and genre fictions are not 100% clear. For sure there are many examples of books that firmly fit in either camp, Jack Reacher novels for example are not typically  considered literary and its rare for anything that wins the Booker prize to be considered genre (but not always). However when tries to pin down what exactly makes a book ‘literary’ and why genre fiction isn’t things get a little hazy.

For a long…

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