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A term coined by Bill Buford for a 1987 special number of Granta, featuring new novelists and short story writers of the period. Their fiction tended to be minimalist, shorn of adverbs and concerning ordinary working people in ordinary settings, often with little money and few expectations. Writers associated with this genre, include Jayne Anne Phillips, Richard Ford, Raymond Carver and Tobias Wolff. Ford later said it was merely a marketing ploy. The concept was later picked up by a group of Spanish and Latin American writes who called it realismo sucio, a literal translation of the English term.
Books on dirty realism
Robert Rebein: Hicks, Tribes, and Dirty Realists: American Fiction After Postmodernism
Granta special issue on Dirty Realism
How Dirty is Jayne Anne Phillips?
Realismo sucio (in Spanish)