Archive for March, 2008

Gay literature: separate genre or marketing niche?

Sometimes literature is defined by its content and other times simply by its target readership. There is ‘black’ literature, ‘feminist’ literature, ‘Christian’ literature and ‘gay’ literature; and somewhere I’m sure there’ll be black, feminist, Christian gay lit too! It may be argued that these are simply marketing niches rather than literary categories or that they are sub-genre of broader literary categories. For example, is gay literature just romance with homosexual characters? Is a Christian historical any different from an ordinary historical? Is there a more overt ‘message’ when a niche readership is catered for?

The Crafty Writer interviewed gay novelist and short story writer Jay Mandal in the hope of shedding some light on the debate. Continue reading ‘Gay literature: separate genre or marketing niche?’

Remembering ‘the grandfather’ of science fiction

Arthur C. Clarke has died at 90. I’m not sure if it was a grand old age, but it certainly was a grand old literary life. I knew about Arthur C. Clarke before I’d ever read a book of science fiction because of his inspirational adaptation of his short story the ‘Sentinel’ to the screenplay of A Space Odyssey: 2001. I always enjoyed science fiction films – and for a time I even watched Star Trek – but for some reason I resisted reading them. It was only when I read Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness as part of my first year English lit at Rhodes University in 1989 that I first realised that the genre wasn’t so much about science, but the human condition. Continue reading ‘Remembering ‘the grandfather’ of science fiction’

Talking Animal Stories – Wind in the Willows MK II?

In my writing for children classes I often catch myself reciting the mantra: publishers aren’t interested in talking animals anymore. It’s what you hear at every writing conference and read on most publishers’ websites. And yet, I have published my own ‘talking animals’ book, Donovon’s Rainbow and many of the books I read to my three-year-old daughter feature talking animals too. One of her favourites is Bringing Down the Moon by Jonathan Emmett and, to my delight, the Winnie the Pooh stories by A.A. Milne. Continue reading ‘Talking Animal Stories – Wind in the Willows MK II?’