Is creative writing a pyramid scheme?

It’s been an exciting couple of weeks but I’ve not been blogging as much as I should have done.  The next few days are likely to see a succession of announcements as I catch up.  Some exciting things are in the works.

One thing I should have announced is my second EMLN blog post: Is Creative Writing a Pyramid Scheme?

Creative Writing is a big business. A few years ago the BBC claimed there were more than 600 full time creative writing degree courses at British universities. These included options such as Accountancy with Creative Writing (currently available at the University of Derby).  Hundreds of less-formal courses are available, as well as shorter seminars and residential breaks. Requiring little more than desk space and a tutor, such courses are easy to put on and profitable.” [continues here]

This post is something I’ve been thinking about for a while (I almost gave a brief presentation on it in the 10-minute zone at last year’s Litcamp).  In between my article being submitted on May 1st and published on the 8th, an excellent article appeared on the Guardian website covering similar ground.  Ian Jack’s post, The Age of the Gifted Amateur has returned, argues that the profession of author is a  recent, and likely short-lived, occupation.  It includes the staggering figure that “Britain is probably turning out about 1,300 “creative writers” every year.”  What are they all doing with their qualifications?  Jack concludes:

We need to weigh the smashed hopes of creative writers against the financial needs of their tutors, who are themselves writers, and earning the kind of money that writing would never supply. A closed little dance: tutors teach students who in turn teach other students, like silversmiths in a medieval guild where a bangle is rarely bought though many are crafted, and everyone lives in a previous world.” [continues here]

Some interesting follow-ups to Ian Jack’s article can be found here, here, here and here.  There are also some thoughtful responses in the comments of my blog post which I hope to respond to later this week.

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