Literary Blog Hop

Literary Blog Hop

This week's question is:
Is the such a thing as literary non-fiction? If so, how do you define it?
Yes there is such a thing as literary fiction.  While I don't read it a lot, I define it as a piece of prose in the non-fiction world.  Usually it takes the form of a what would be called the non-fiction novel, or a piece of travel writing.  It can also include biographies or memoirs or an essay.  It is generally thought to be a very broad and quite vague in the range of books that it includes.    To put it simply, it reports on actual people, places or events.  One thing it is not is poetry.  It is the latest memoir that has hit the bookseller list or the history book that looks at a particular person or a particular event or a particular person within the context of an event.

A good example of literary non-fiction would Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, which he described as a non-fiction novel.  It has the elements of what people would consider to be a novel: prose and a good story to tell, but its based in reality and on true events.

But above all, the thing that separates it from most other non-fiction, is the quality of the writing.  It has a story that draws the reader in, much like a literary fiction book would have, and has a larger message to the book, rather than being a book simply of facts or a collection of literature.


Poetry too is literary non-fiction. In its purest form.

Here is my Literary Blog Hop post!
Anonymous said…
I agree- it's all about the quality of the writing (eg. I Am Charlotte Simmons- takes a chick lit topic and makes it literary).
parrish lantern said…
As with Gautami, I believe poetry is the purest form of non fiction (literary).My reasoning is, as I've stated elsewhere is that poetry tends to be the distilled essence. whether this is of a feeling or a chair doesn't matter ,it's this distillation that takes the raw material & converts it to something precious.An example would be this Haiku by Masaoka Shiki

behind the stand
of winter trees
a red sunset

Sorry about being slightly off topic here, Have enjoyed your post & your reasoning of why Capote's work is literary non fiction, also due to the amount of Bloggers that have championed this book ,I'm kind of embarrassed that I haven't a situation that will have to be remedied.
Anonymous said…
Travel writing is a great example of literary nonfiction (if well written of course). Poetry is a good example too. In Cold Blood to me is the most obvious example. I loved that book and didn't expect to based on its subject matter.
I very much enjoy literary non-fiction -- and I have yet to read In Cold Blood. I'm going to have to remedy that. Here's my Literary view...: Coffee and a Book Chick -- Literary Blog Hop...

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