Monday, April 1, 2013

"Folk Fiction"

I'm reading The Welsh Healer by Ginger Myrick, a novel set in 15th Century Wales and England during the Hundred Years' War. Myrick delves into Welsh herbal medicine, mystical healing, family customs, and many other aspects of the Welsh culture. In trying to describe the novel on Twitter (yes, I'm addicted!), I thought of the terms "historical fiction" and, perhaps more apt, "folk fiction." Because that's what The Welsh Healer is really about -- the customs, the beliefs and superstitions, the character of 15th-Century Welsh people.

And I got to thinking... Southern fiction is also folk fiction. What is it many of us really value about Southern literature? The fact that it describes the culture of the South, the people, the traditions, the food, the values ... all those things that Myrick also discusses in The Welsh Healer. So, why haven't I heard the term "folk fiction" bantered about in literary circles? Am I just out of the loop? Has anyone else heard of this genre? Should it be a genre? I sure think so! And should we differentiate between "Southern folk fiction" and other types?