Monday, July 28, 2008

Hancock, Penny. "Novel Thinking." TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION July 10, 2008.

Until the 1990s, masters in creative writing existed only at the University of East Anglia and Lancaster University. Even ten years ago, courses at BA and MA level were virtually unheard of. English departments at universities focused on the study of literature, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Being a writer of fiction or poetry did not require a degree, and writers evolved regardless - as many, of course, always have. Nobel prizewinners Harold Pinter and Doris Lessing, for example, didn't do a BA, let alone an MA, in anything. So how is it that there are now, in addition to more than 70 universities offering undergraduate degrees in creative writing, at least 50 masters programmes? There are various theories to explain this proliferation. One is that the courses replace the editorial input once provided by small publishing houses to promising new writers. Another is that students erroneously imagine that writing will offer a glamorous career - and one that can be achieved by taking creative writing at postgraduate level. Yet another suggests that there may be a crisis in traditional English studies, and that creative writing is taking over where the dusty academic study of literature leaves off. . . . Read the rest here:

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