Authors Faith Hogan and Susan Ryan on Fiction’s hottest new trend – Up Lit
Described by The Guardian as ‘the new trend with kindness at its core’, the new Up Lit theme has taken the literary world by storm, with the wonderful and heartwarming stories which are at its heart proving to be a great antidote to the unsettling times we live in. We’re delighted to welcome two authors with books that are very much part of the Up Lit trend to the Eason blog. Here Faith Hogan and Susan Ryan tell us both about their new books, and also a bit more about one of the hottest new literary trends.
Up Lit – Books To Love
‘Secrets We Keep’ is the wonderful new book from bestselling author Faith Hogan, and is a beautifully written, feel-good story about new beginnings and learning to move on from past mistakes.
“When I started writing – I had notions of putting down on paper wonderful mysteries that would confound even the most accomplished puzzle lover. I even wrote a crime novel, set in Limerick; it was conventionally moody and broody. The detectives carried all sorts of angst about with them, but of course, they solved the mystery and saved the girl in the end.
It’s quite a different thing however, when you begin to write for more objective eyes. My crime novels, it turns out were more character led than plot focussed – apparently, there are all sorts of sub categories within the broader genres!
The thing is, I like writing about people – it’s not that I’m a raving social animal, but I have a degree in psychology and people, relationships and choices interest me. The other small detail that I missed when writing all that grit, was that I’m a positive person – I like to keep an upbeat attitude, I’m a can do, will do – no reason not to, sort of gal!
I think, there’s been a movement, a kicking back of recent years, we’re all looking for that positive vibe. The book world too is reflecting this, with books like Eleanor Oliphant, The Keeper of Lost Things, A Man Called Ove and How to Stop Time – all leaving readers with that uplifted feeling.
Secrets We Keep is a story about lost people finding each other, even if it takes a generation or two. It’s a story of hope and redemption, set in the west of Ireland. This is a tale of second chances and if life is still nearing an end, it is a message of optimism and courage, regardless of how the tide pulls what we hold dear to us away.”
Secrets We Keep is Faith Hogan’s second novel, and is available to buy online here and at Easons stores nationwide.
The Importance of Up Lit
‘The King of Lavender Square’ by Susan Ryan is the uplifting and poignant story of a young African-Irish boy Kimba whose arrival transform the lives of a community forever. Here author Susan Ryan tells us about her novel, and about why Up Lit is so important in these trying times.
“The film rights of The King of Lavender Square have just been sold to an American Production Company. It’s like one of those things you read about that happen to other people, not to girls from Gorey but I’m told there’s a reason for it. The story has appeal, it’s on trend. In a world of high-octane tweets, hideous crimes against humanity and reels of bad news, people want to be reminded that most people are good, not perfect but good. Enter Up Lit, the new kid in town taking the literary world by storm and The King of Lavender Square hits the nail on the head apparently. So what’s the big idea?
Take one beautiful Victorian square in Dublin where lavender grows in abundance, add a young African-Irish boy with a dream, Patrick Kimba, his mother and her suitcase of secrets and own ideas about their futures and throw in the neighbours, who want nothing to do with each other or the Kimbas, and you’ve got a good start. The trouble is the residents of Lavender Square soon will have no choice but to get to know each other and it’s where the magical journey begins.
Publishers believe the growing demand for uplifting fiction is a response to the turbulent times we live in. Readers want to escape and are yearning for life-affirming stories that explore the themes of family and the human spirit where communities come together against all odds and The King of Lavender Square ticks those boxes. I buy all that to a point but in reality Up Lit isn’t new. Maeve Binchy was the queen of it. Interestingly, I took part in Maeve’s eponymous course back in 2003 where a couple of hundred other writers like me were hoping that some of the Binchy magic might rub off. The King of Lavender Square has been identified with by audiences both at home and abroad so if we share universal appeal that’s good enough for me. The story has struck a chord with American readers particularly who have connected with the whole notion of our need to create a sense of family in the absence of our own but also with the racial elements in the story due to the current climate in the US of discord and nervousness. There are a score of Irish writers who do Up Lit with aplomb. If I can join the party, I’ll be only too delighted to dance to that tune.”
Up Lit – kind, memorable and uplifting fiction to nurture the soul!
Secrets We Keep by Faith Hogan
The King of Lavender Square by Susan Ryan
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
How to Stop Time by Matt Haig
Oh My God! What a Complete Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen
The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon
Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
The Lido by Libby Page
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce