The creative writing courses controversy?

With the uptick in indie authors, so a corresponding uptick in organisations offering creative writing courses, but are they worth the money, or just another way for commercial interests to milk money out of would-be writers? Radio 4 examines both side of the arguments in this week’s You and Yours episode. This piece ran on the radio today, and will be available as a streaming on-line repeat to UK-based license fee payers at shortly (e.g. you’ll need a British IP address not to get bounced).

Well worth a listen to hear both sides of the coin. There was a great quote from the lady being pitted against the idea of courses (Publisher’s Lunch blog? Have to listen again to confirm her name/affiliation), who said that a famous author had cynically told her this about creative writing courses… “Lots of lovely money flowing towards me from people who haven’t got a hope in hell of ever being published.”

The ‘for’ argument was put by one of the executives behind, who noted that you wouldn’t expect a concert violinist to train alone and become a master without the feedback of peers and teachers, so why expect the same from authors? The idea that authors have to wander into the wilderness alone for years and come back a fully fledged genius seems to be unique to the literary field, and isn’t one you’ll find in stage, painting, music etc arts.

The creative writing courses con?


I am an author of various fantasy, science fiction, crime and other genre books from Gollancz, Hachette and HarperCollins. Some day I hope to grow up and be an astronaut. Exploring Mars would be nice.

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