Beyond Pulp – The Futuristic & Fantastic as Literary Fiction AWP 2012

I’m live blogging at AWP. This panel is at the Red Lacquer Room in the Palmer House. Excited that they’re discussing genre writing as literary fiction.

Panelist, Kate Bernheimer
Brian Evenson
Kevin Brockmeier

Kate says that fairy tales (which she’s using to describe all genre fiction) live without Literature, but literature can’t live without fairy tale.

Genre endings aren’t necessarily “happy ever after” – they have an ending that doesn’t end, it just gives you a continuing time ending (the “ever after” part).

People thrive when there’s biodiversity. Kate believes the same is true with story telling. We need all kinds of genres.

Fairy tales are often not considered literature because they’re popular. Which is dumb.

Brian thinks that if we’re told a work is literary fiction, we look at is as literary fiction. If we’re told it’s genre, we look at it as genre.

How did Lovecraft go from “horror’ to “literature” writer? Literature distinctions are more about monetary reasons then writing reasons (i.e. we can sell detective fiction better). It’s a buying/selling tool and it shouldn’t be how we think about writing.

Matthew thanks everyone who write this genre. He works for Unstuck lit journal.

The cool genre literary magazines has a great community, but it’s not really reaching for more readers. Matthew really wants 50/50 genre writers and MFA/literature people.

Small Beer Press literature/fantastic.

Kevin says most of he likes to read lives between literary fiction and and or fantasy.

Kevin believes that a slanted perspective or different perspective is how we see the world most clearly.

Tabz editorial: if you are on a panel after lunch, don’t drone on. Even if your writing is beautiful.

This panel is full of writers. There should be more genre fiction panels at AWP.

Question how do you cross from literature and genre? Stylistic or ideas?

Brian believes there are writers who do both. Consciousness of both literary fiction style and genre style will help.

Kate believes the lines between are either illusionary or permeable.

Everyone told me not to write a novella, so I wrote a novella – Matthew

More traditional genre literary magazines stick to universal characters.

Unstuck really loves great writing at the sentence level and the story level.

Kate didn’t feel like she fit anywhere when she first started writing. Finally she found her place and she celebrates the “losers.”

Question is it still a stigma for being a genre writing?

Kate says that at the formation if English departments genre style writing was not accepted. She thinks now its changing.

Brian thinks its changing. He doesn’t think creative writing workshops shouldn’t straight jacket people.

Yay someone asked about graphic novels.

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