Authorial Intent

Georgetown LibraryStaff Picks

Authorial Intent

Literary Fiction about the literary world

Write what you know.

This maxim takes on new meaning in the following works of Literary Fiction, in which authors explore stories set in or near their own professions.
As the characters in these novels grapple with the challenges of working within the literary landscape, they also struggle with personal lives that are in various states of flux -- often because of their work lives -- and in depicting how these characters negotiate their situations, the authors of the following novels display their own professional excellence.

Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon
Grady Tripp is a writing professor who can’t wrap up his long-awaited next novel, Terry Crabtree is his friend and editor ostensibly in town for a campus literary festival, and James Leer is the student whose skill with fiction -- on the page and in life -- binds him to them over the festival weekend, as Chabon depicts the capers and crisis points they face with his own engaging blend of humor and humanity.

& sons by David Gilbert
Celebrated novelist A.N. Dyer faces his advancing age and, with it, the effects that his choices and actions have had on those around him -- especially his three grown sons, whose relationships with each other are as complex as their connections to him -- in Gilbert’s sharply humorous look at how professional success can intersect with personal limitations. 

10:04 by Ben Lerner
A writer whose debut novel met with some success, the unnamed narrator of Lerner’s thoughtful novel works with difficulty on his anticipated second book while negotiating other challenges -- including his own ill health and his best friend’s interest in having him help her conceive a child -- and considering the nature and significance of time itself.

Lost for Words by Edward St. Aubyn
St. Aubyn satirizes the world of literary prizes in a novel that follows the individuals associated with the fictional Elysium Prize -- including the judges, whose evaluative criteria is diverse and commitment to reading the submissions variable, and the authors invested to varying degrees in securing the award.

Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi
The titular Mr. Fox is a writer whose life is disrupted by the materialization of his imaginary muse, Mary, who arrives to take issue with his tendency to kill off his heroines -- and inadvertently disrupts his marriage in the process -- in Oyeyemi’s exploration of gender and the creative process.