Monday, February 11, 2008

Writers, Writers, Everywhere

When Everyone's An Author in The Australian describes the abundance of writing programs--and writing students-- at colleges in Australia.

Sounds like home, doesn't it?

Interesting points:

"...writing students may well outnumber those studying traditional literature." (I've never seen anything to suggest that's the case in the U.S.)

"The creative writing boom throws up striking paradoxes. It seems students have an insatiable appetite for expressing themselves in print at a time when mainstream publishing opportunities have diminished." (I don't know if we can say that publishing opportunties are diminishing in this country when the number of books being published keeps going up and up and up. But, certainly, the opportunities for making any significant money writing are diminishing, since there are far more books published than the reading public can purchase.)

"And while the under-25s are often perceived as a generation of reluctant readers, more interested in the Ten Network's Big Brother than in the Orwellian version, unprecedented numbers of them apparently want to be writers." (Yeah, that's how under-25s are perceived in this country, too. Presumably an unprecedented number of them want to be writers since there are so many writing programs that didn't exist a generation ago.)

"Tony Birch, creative writing lecturer at the University of Melbourne...'There is little understanding among undergraduates about how difficult it is to be published. They are very naive about that.' (I find that to be the case among people of all age groups, not just college undergrads.)

"The fact is [Nicholas Jose] says bluntly, that most creative writing students will become schoolteachers." (I used to hear that most graduates of writing MFA programs became instructors in writing MFA programs. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Writers who support themselves with their writing are few and far between. Historically, many writers have been teachers. Plus with the number of writing programs skyrocketing, there's probably a bigger need for writing teachers than there is for writers.)

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