Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice, Editor-in-Chief
Say you're at a party and someone asks what you write. You say "fiction" and they say "What kind?" You say "literary" and they look at you, blinking, wide-eyed, before they disappear behind a crudités display.
This hypothetical story, complete with buckets of ranch dip, is fiction of course. I made it up while pacing around my kitchen, wondering if I will ever not be awkward at parties. This isn't really the point.
The point is: What makes a piece of writing literary? A seriousnesses that doesn't resonate with the general public? Novels not featuring vampires or orphaned wizards? Big words strung between complicated grammatical constructions?
Here at Split Lip HQ, we've been thinking about what kind of work we publish, trying to define our place in the canon of literary journals, from extra-extra-indie to storied university magazines, pages thick with established names.
We want to know. Who coined the term literary anyway?
In preparation for this month's issue, I Googled "literary fiction." Here's a sample: more serious than other writing, artsy, vague titles that do not define the content, character over plot, not an escape from reality. Less popular. More Important.
Putting aside the problematic snobbiness of these definitions, we disagree. Maybe all writing is literary. Maybe the reason our community feels like no one is reading literary writing is because we decided no one would want to.
This month, with work from Hanna Rosenheimer, Melissa Ragsly, Anastasia Stelse, and Todd Morgan, we're looking at storytelling. The stories we tell ourselves, and the stories we tell others. We look at language, how it defines us and boxes us in. And we're looking at writing outside the boundaries of literary fiction. Writing what you want, how you want. Less perfection. More wild.