The Mookse and the Gripes discussion

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Talking Points > One work, two authors

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message 1: by Michele (new)

Michele | 46 comments Can anyone offer me insight into why there are no literary fiction books (I can think of) that are written by co-authors? I can think of several SFF books that are. Does it make books ineligible for awards?

Thanks for any information.


message 2: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments There is the Wu Ming collective aka Luther Blissett (and maybe others can think of a handful of other examples), but this is an interesting question. I've not noticed anything in Booker rules about this, and it's quite common for fiction to have more than one translator.

It might seem a bit glib to connect it to the Romantic/continuing idea of the individual artist/auteur, and that this is probably one of the ways litfic differentiates itself from SFF and crime, but maybe that is a lot of it...


message 3: by Michele (new)

Michele | 46 comments Antonomasia wrote: "There is the Wu Ming collective aka Luther Blissett (and maybe others can think of a handful of other examples), but this is an interesting question. I've not noticed..."

Thank you so much for your ideas. This helps me to understand it much more. The insight that it is, at least in part, about meeting some ideal is a great one.


message 4: by Antonomasia (last edited Jun 08, 2020 06:08AM) (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments Coincidentally I found myself reading about another one shortly after posting.
Borges and Bioy Casares had several collaborations. There is a bit more about them, and a list, on Wikipedia:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolfo_Bioy_Cas...
Yet of course both were magic realist writers and that can be seen as a sort of literary fantasy...


message 5: by Jibran (new)

Jibran (marbles5) | 283 comments I can think of A Nest of Ninnies, which started as a little fun project but eventually developed into a novel.

https://www.dalkeyarchive.com/the-mak...

But co-authorship or collaboration seems a rare occurrence in literary fiction.


message 6: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 257 comments Antonomasia, have you read anything by Wu Ming? They've been on my radar for a few years, but I've yet to read any of their work. I had no idea Borges had done some collaboriations!

Some fun/interesting related links:
- Wikipedia Collaborative Fiction Entry
- A Kind of Artistic Seance: The New Phase of Literary Collaborations
- A couple books I have yet to read: S. (J.J. Abrams & Doug Dorst), And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks (Burroughs & Kerouac)
- New Yorker piece: Can You Write A Novel As A Group?


message 7: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 8744 comments I read Shaun Whiteside's translation of Q back on 2004 - was rather a disappointment though to find it hadn't been written by the real Luther Blissett, although the man himself did play up to the idea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bRuT...


message 8: by WndyJW (new)

WndyJW | 4862 comments Bill Clinton and James Patterson co-wrote a political thriller, The President Is Missing (if only it were true!) and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was written by an aunt and niece team.


message 9: by MisterHobgoblin (last edited Jun 08, 2020 09:08PM) (new)

MisterHobgoblin Somerville and Ross wrote works that are now considered to be literary fiction - although when Violet Martin (aka Martin Ross) died, E ΠSomerville continued to write as Somerville and Ross.

Luke Williams included two chapters by Natasha Soobramanien in The Echo Chamber - which was literary fiction even though I didn't rate it.

The original translation of Doctor Zhivago must surely count as a joint authorship project between Boris Pasternak and Max Hayward.

Then there was Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist - which aspired to be literary fiction.

So it can happen, but I agree that it is rare. Probably in part because marketing would be such a problem.


message 10: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments It wouldn't be a problem if it were two big-name writers collaborating (like Borges and Bioy Casares, or in fantasy Pratchett and Gaiman with Good Omens) - there could even be readings in two different places at the same time.


message 11: by MisterHobgoblin (new)

MisterHobgoblin If we're allowed fantasy then I would cite The Warlock of Firetop Mountain by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson. This was the first of a long running series of choose your own adventures. This one was set in what was presumably a Covid-like lockdown where every room had a resident monster (or group of monsters) which never left the room and had no visible means of sustaining itself.


message 12: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments Though the original point of the thread was that there are very few collaborative works in literary fiction, whereas they are plentiful in SFF (and there are also quite a few in crime and thriller).


message 13: by WndyJW (new)

WndyJW | 4862 comments I missed the literary fiction part of that question. Neither of the books I mentioned are literary.


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