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Jul 2, 2009

So you want to learn to write like Nam Le?

W H Chong — Culture Mulcher

W H Chong

Culture Mulcher

boat190Or Raymond Carver, or Joyce Carol Oates, or Alice Sebold, or John Irving, or Richard Ford? They all attended a Creative Writing course. If you’d like to learn to write but aren’t sure about hanging with all the other wannabes, check out the New Yorker, which asks – at fascinating length – should creative writing be taught?

The creative-writing program is an American invention, and it has recently become an American export. The British were at first contemptuous of the idea of creative-writing courses; they regarded them, as the critic and novelist Malcolm Bradbury once put it, as being “like the hamburger—a vulgar hybrid which, as everyone once knew, no sensible person would ever eat.”

Deliciously, a little later, in a creative writing program he helped set up in 1970, Bradbury himself taught Ian McEwan. Not hamburger, crow.

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