‘Up Lit’ is the new literary buzz word, described as a trend for books with an emphasis on empathy, books that are uplifting and life-affirming, and which explore themes of family bonds and the human spirit. These types of novels focus on kinder, gentler human connections, but have an element that preserves realism. They do not shy away from dark themes or real-life issues, they just preserve an element of hope.
Up Lit has been around forever. My feeling is that it’s nothing new. It’s a reinvention of something that’s always been available in fiction; it is just that people (ie. the publishing industry) like to label things.
If I was still working in my position of fiction cataloger for a public library, I would probably create a genre heading for Up Lit so patrons could search the catalogue for these sort of titles. Readers want to recognize themselves in the fiction they read. They want to be able to empathize and have an understanding and connection with the characters they read about.
Why is Up Lit popular now?
Is it the readers’ need for escapism from current events that has played a big part in the success of up lit? With all the sadness and turmoil in the world today we want to recall that there IS still kindness in the world.
Definition of ‘Up Lit’:
A newly recognized genre of literature, Up Lit focuses on human connections and life-affirming stories filled with joy, kindness, humor, heroism, hope, empathy, compassion and love. The goal here is not to bury our heads in the sand and write off our turbulent times. Up Lit is simply modern literature with the power to remind ourselves of – and celebrate! – some of the many joys to be found in our human existence.
A few examples of ‘Up Lit’:
“Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine” by Gail Honeyman
“Three things about Elsie“, and “The trouble with goats and sheep” by Joanna Cannon
“A man called Ove“, and “Britt-Marie was here” by Fredrik Backman
“The music shop” by Rachel Joyce
“How to stop time” by Matt Haig