"Why should we prefer our literature to be about things that didn’t happen? Wouldn’t, say, Steven Pinker be a good candidate for the literature prize?"
Good idea. (An idea in the form of 3 questions.)
This is related to my strong belief that schools should teach reading through nonfiction literature. This opinion was surprisingly controversial, and it heightened my suspicion of those who become adamant about the lofty regard that belongs writing in the fictional mode. It's funny that what's not true must control the highest position.
The 3 questions above are from the famously atheist Richard Dawkins, and my statement that begins with "It's funny" feels like an invitation to atheists to say something about religion.
And in my mind, I hear — though there is no sound — religionists and fiction lovers alike clamoring to talk about greater truths.