Thursday, October 26, 2006

Creative Writing Courses – are they any good?

writers inc.
the Arts Council funded writing organisation

presents

THE WRITING CONFERENCE
Sunday 10 December
the Barbican Library in the City of London (1.30 to 5 pm)

Booking at the Barbican Box Office – 020 7628 2326

Attending a creative writing course? Know someone who is thinking of going on a creative writing course? Thinking of going on a writing course yourself?

Poet, Novelist and Arts Critic for The Independent SUE HUBBARD will introduce MARIO PETRUCCI, Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Oxford Brookes University, PHILIP GROSS, Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Glamorgan and MAGGIE BUTT who runs the Media and Communications department of Middlesex University to discuss whether creative writing courses can create a realistic or a false expectation in terms of publication and careers in writing, whether such courses lead to original or to predictable styles of writing and whether a university can nurture and develop creativity or stultify it.

4 comments:

Bob said...

What do you think?

Sarah said...

Well, I'm biaised. I wouldn't teach creative writing unless I believed it worked. And I've heard enough stories from successful writers who have studied themselves to think that - for me - the case is proved. What worries me is when people join creative writing classes simply to get a bestselling novel published, without any thought of the journey - and what else they could gain along the way. But then these are normally the people who want to be writers, rather than actually write. And I've no time for that.

Jan said...

I think the secret is in the way you define that phrase "How It Works"... It "works" in different ways, each of which is no less valuable than another.
I have 2 classes; they consist mainly of people over fifty. Some have never written before. Some have had powerful jobs and at last have more space in their lives. Some discover a major interest in their life for the very first time. Some make friendships/connections which lead them on into a " writing world" ....( Be it a small one, a provincial one, but it's an encouraging one...)
I believe the classes work for them in that some discover ( delightedly, belatedly! ) that they have a talent, that they enjoy something new, that life opens up, provides new experiences, expectations and surprises... I reckon that's why I teach Creative writing and why I enjoy it so much.

Sarah said...

That's really interesting, Jan. You're right - it's impossible to quantify exactly what 'works' means - I love your description of your classes - if I may, I am going to keep that for whenever someone asks me the worth of what I do!