Genre tips

#AtoZChallenge: Genres–Academic Novels

The A to Z Challenge asks bloggers to post 26 articles on a themed topic. It’s supposed to be every day except Sundays during the month of April but I find that too busy and decided to post mine ‘about’ twice a month. Yes, it’ll take me a year. Sigh.

My topic, like the last three times, will be writing genres.

This genre:

Academic Novels


set on a campus; sometimes called a ‘campus novel’

Tipsa to z

  1. Place the main action in and around the campus of a university or a boarding school.
  2. Tell the story from the viewpoint of faculty rather than students (the latter are called varsity novels).
  3. Make the characters idiosyncratic, and thus engaging and interesting.
  4. Students should face unambiguous hierarchies as they progress through the plot.
  5. A popular approach is to compare older academic views with younger student ones.
  6. Sprinkle in cliques and class details and charismatic professors.

Popular Books

  1. The Groves of Academe by Mary McCarty
  2. The Professor’s House by Willa Cather
  3. Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
  4. The Masters by CP Snow
  5. Normal People by Sally Rooney 
  6. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
  7. Real Life by Brandon Taylor
  8. Girl Unknown by Karen Perry

Click for complete list of these 26 genres

Click for a complete list of all genres I’ve written about

More A Genres:

Help me crowdsource the books for my genres

This year, instead of searching for popular books in each genre, I’ll crowdsource them–include books as often as possible written by Indie authors. That means yours. Here’s how you get involved:

  • Go through the list of genres (and subgenres) below. They are less common than the usual so you’ll have to read the definitions and decide where your books fit. If you’re close, that’s good enough. For example: If you write suspenseful historical fiction, add your name to “historical suspense”.
  • In the comments, tell me your name, your book, a link to where it’s sold, and the genre it fits.
  • If no genre fits your books, give me your favorites in a genre. I’ll still credit you with a linkback.
  • When I get to that genre (between April 1, 2021 and about two years later), I’ll put your book in the list of examples with a link to where it can be purchased. If you suggested a book, I’ll link to your blog.

That’s it! I sure hope you play along with me on this!

Here’s the genre list (links aren’t live until publication).

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Man vs. Nature saga, and the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Summer 2021. 

79 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge: Genres–Academic Novels

  1. I never thought of academic novels as a genre. I’ve read two of Diane L. Wolfe’s (IWSG: Spunk on a Stick) “Circle of Friends” series, and they are definitely in this genre. I plan to read to read the other three because the books are great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some on this list are sub-genres but no less enticing. I like how they let you find exactly what you want to read. Like ‘prehistoric fiction’. My sub-genre is so different from the main genre, historical fiction.


  2. Thank you for sharing!!… I am afraid my book will not fit in because it is the “Book of Life” and I am still living it, haven’t put it in so many words… perhaps I will someday… 🙂

    Have a wonderful Easter and until we meet again..
    May flowers always line your path
    and sunshine light your way,
    May songbirds serenade your
    every step along the way,
    May a rainbow run beside you
    in a sky that’s always blue,
    And may happiness fill your heart
    each day your whole life through.
    May the sun shine all day long
    Everything go right, nothing go wrong
    May those you love bring love back to you
    And may all the wishes you wish come true
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oddly, neither of those came up in my search but Harry Potter does sound appropriate. Maybe the sites I visited narrowly defined ‘academic’ as colleges/universities. Good additions, Ankur.


  3. Sounds like an interesting genre, Jacqui. It made me think of all those TV soaps of the nineties that were set in colleges and high schools. I have to think that each book belongs in different categories, though. It would be hard for some novels to catalogue it in one main genre.

    Liked by 1 person

      • A tad too hot at 93 degrees! Sigh. We never find the perfect weather anywhere… But, if that’s our only issue in the world, it’s not too bad. Heading to MA tomorrow.

        I actually type our location in the side bar of my blog and if it’s specific, Google Maps tags an image of this location on the map to it. I like it as well. In WordPress it’s called a widget or something like that, I believe. Happy weekend, Jacqui!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. One of my favorite genres. There have been a few that you introduced recently that I’d never heard of. You gave us an easier one this time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I once had a class that assigned the novel, “In the Long Run We’re All Dead,” It was for an economics class and the novel was a murder mystery that along the way taught about monetary policy. That was when I decided not to go into economics as a major – didn’t want to get murdered for my views on monetary policies …

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love reading your posts especially for this challenge as you come up with really interesting ideas and topics. 26 genres! This will definitely help any author in the making who is stuck for ideas .

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My husband is a retired academic. If anyone could write an academic book about college campuses he could. I hear his stories all the time. He has written thirteen academic books on business management. Snore.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve written a professor, but I’ve never written an academic novel. It might be fun. Actually, having been a professor and experiencing the interesting things that happen in that world, I know it could be.

    Great post, Jacqui.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The academic novels I now avoid (read too darn many of ’em) are the middle-aged male professor cheats on his wife with his students, blows off his classes, and expects the reader to feel sorry for him because he’s having a mid-life crisis.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Hi Jacqui – what a great idea … – I’ll definitely be along with you on these and appreciate all the ideas you recommend or suggest. Thanks … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

  11. This is such a wonderful way to start the A-Z challenge and you’ve given us lots of new books to add to our to-read list. Looking forward to reading the rest of the genres you use! 🙂 Our first one was A for Archives!

    Liked by 1 person

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