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Creative Writing Courses – Join the Debate

March 7th, 2014

First, thanks to Martin Read, winner of our 2014 Student of the Year Award for last Friday’s post. I think it backs up the point we make so strongly in the course material – to succeed you need to do your market research properly and then tailor your ideas to what editors want.

Listening to the radio this morning, I was surprised by the amount of controversy that Hanif Kureishi’s comments at the Bath Literary festival have caused. Despite being a professor at Kingston University he has come to the decision that writing courses are a waste of time. If I were one of his students I’d be far from happy after paying my annual £9,000 tuition fees!

It’s sparked quite a debate in the media with published novelists on both side of the divide. I’m obviously biased – but I do feel strongly that you don’t have to be a genius to write to a publishable standard. Anyone with a firm grasp of language, a creative imagination and some good ideas can benefit from the advice and discipline that a good, well-structured writing course provides. And writing in The Guardian , Anna Davis had this to say:

“Writing a good novel is not easy – it takes talent and determination. A creative writing course could help you, but find one with a good track record, taught by published authors who treat their students with respect. As creative writing courses proliferate like mould on bread, do your research before you part with your money.” I couldn’t agree more – but I’d be interested to hear what you think!

If you entered our 2013 poetry competition, the winner and three runners up have now been announced and their poems are on the website. They’re all terrific poems and don’t forget to read the adjudicator’s comments so that if you enter next year you’ll know what she might be looking for. In fact, my guest next week is Jacqui Rochford who won third prize with ‘Edge’. She’ll be talking about an unusual poetic form – the ‘Corona’.

The 2014 Short Story Competition is now accepting entries and, as usual, the first prize is £500, with runners up receiving £300, £200 and £100. So it’s definitely worth looking for inspiration and then settling down to turn it into a cracking short story!

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