Human rights are increasingly described as in crisis. One reason for this is that existing legal accountability mechanisms cannot adequately deal with intricate and multilayered human rights violations that occur in vastly complex social contexts. Thus, if human rights are to continue to offer a widely accepted framework for thinking about (social) justice, we urgently need to revisit the very notion of human rights accountability in ways that allow for better protection as well as for a more ambitious normative project. This requires re-focusing the debate about human rights accountability on questions of human rights normativity. This article explores which roles literature can play in this regard. It proposes the notion of literary accountability as a conceptual device to (a) recenter the debate around the normative objectives of human rights accountability, (b) offer modalities for ensuring some form of responsibility attribution, notably where other accountability venues are closed or deemed insufficient, and (c) operate within the paradigm of legal accountability to push the boundaries of this paradigm. What each of these three manifestations of literary accountability have in common is that they foreground the need for a more forward-looking and multi-dimensional approach to accountability that seeks to reconnect the normative reality of human rights on one hand, with their imbrication in the concrete worlds of law, politics, and practicalities on the other.