So many great books have been written in and about Alaska. With a few notable exceptions, most are nonfiction.

It’s not that we don’t recognize the value of book-length fiction. Seth Kantner’s novel Ordinary Wolves was chosen by readers at 49 Writers as the best book to send to candidate Barack Obama to help him get to know Alaska.

And note that I’m not speaking of genre fiction. A number of Alaskans pen regional mysteries. I’m wondering about literary fiction, which I define simply as good, publishable books that don’t fit in the usual genres – books find in the general “fiction” sections at libraries and bookstores. (For a more insightful definition of literary fiction, check out this post by agent Nathan Bransford.)

Literary fiction is hard to sell, so maybe it’s a combination of our collective practicality coupled with lingering insecurities over being so far removed, internet aside, from the “real” publishing scene. And as Kassia Krozser points out in a recent Booksquare post, most of publishing isn’t about the literary stuff anyhow.

Still, I’d love to see another Ordinary Wolves, written by an Alaskan and about Alaska. Heck, I’d love to write it. But right now I have to get back to my genre project.

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