I notice the term 'literary' being used in many different ways, and often nothing close to the definition I personally use. Here's how I see it: Literary can mean 'things to do with writing/publishing.' So, you have a 'literary agent' and it doesn't mean the agent is looking to represent dead authors writing literature, nor necessarily alive authors writing in the genre of 'literary fiction.' Literary fiction is a contemporary genre (as it's defined, see below). A construction of marketing, mostly. Opinions on what literary fiction is exactly, differ. But most people agree it's a contemporary genre and has nothing to do with classic literature. Literature usually refers to works that have had time to mature into general appreciation and acceptance. While 'literary' in the sense that literature are written works, most literature is NOT of the 'literary genre,' as this is a contemporary construct. I say most, because these days some books become 'classics' pretty darn fast. The problem I keep seeing is people say they want to be 'literary writers' of 'literary fiction,' yet have practices and methods adopted from the study and mimicking of classic works of literature. The 'literary genre' looks very different from most literature, and writing like some guy who died 100 years ago isn't going to get one too far in the literary fiction genre. In fact, in many ways, when it comes to the form and style of fiction, literary fiction seems often to be pushing into new ground, not reveling in the past. Am I way out of whack here, or are these not general definitions that most people have (if they have them). I just keep seeing confused people, and being confused myself, because people seem to think the literary fiction genre is very different than it actually is. It's poorly named, since 'literary' has such a broad general definition, but still, how could there be a contemporary genre of fiction that included the classics? Boggles my mind Also, it's ironic that an industry of writers often has terms that are awkwardly insufficient. I was taught 'genre' was the format/form you were writing in (short story, poem, novel, etc), not a reference to certain types of writing (sci-fi, fantasy, literary). It makes no sense! Even still, if someone say's they're a genre writer, my instinct is to be confused and ask what genre, expecting them to say 'novels' or 'short stories' not "Young adult paranormal fantasy romance with a speculative world and steam punk vibe." To me that's not the genre, but subject. Sigh. Anyone else get confused by this sort of inadequate labeling? To make matters worse I've been labeled/told I'm a literary writer (studying in college makes it so), but I write across a broad range of subjects, in various genres, so even being told I'm a literary writer I don't exactly understand how or why.