Magical Realism vs. Surrealism

Hello everyone!

While submitting picture books to agents and editors, I noticed that some of them were interested in magical realism manuscripts.  Originally, I thought this was a synonym for surrealism, but their are some subtle differences.

Merriam Webster offers the following definitions:

magic realism:

  • painting in a meticulously realistic style of imaginary or fantastic scenes or images
  • a literary genre or style associated especially with Latin America that incorporates fantastic or mythical elements into otherwise realistic fiction —called also magical realism (


  • a 20th-century art form in which an artist or writer combines unrelated images or events in a very strange and dreamlike way
  • the principles, ideals, or practice of producing fantastic or incongruous imagery or effects in art, literature, film, or theater by means of unnatural or irrational juxtapositions and combinations (

For anyone who is still confused about the difference between the two terms, here are two articles that will hopefully clear up any remaining ambiguity.

Comparison of Magical Realism and Surrealism:

Explanation of Magical Realism:

Happy writing!