Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Two Emails; and the "Value" of Literary Fiction

This afternoon I got two cool emails. One from an editor in the UK accepting a short story of mine for publication - and asking me to send more stories for consideration (he said he liked my writing style); and the other from someone who read another story of mine published in the Sunday Literary pages of the This Day Newspaper earlier this month; and wants me to be part of a magazine project they're working on. Interestingly, it was that email that let me know that the story had been published. I missed that edition of the paper.

If only more Nigerian papers would publish literary short stories. They don't seem to give a damn about good literary fiction, preferring instead those cliched "true-life" stories of romance-turned-sour, and my-mother-is-the-witch-that-destroyed-my-destiny- stuff which of course generates loads of equally cliched/worn-out reader responses and keeps the papers selling (No one can blame them then!)

This leads to a question. What benefits do well-written literary short stories offer us as thinking and feeling human beings, that the poorly-characterised, uninspiring-languaged, predictable stories (whether true-life or imagined) do not or cannot? In other words, is literary fiction simply a pretentious, elitist, unnecesary member of the Fiction Family? I need answers!

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