But those who can’t do… teach, don’t they?

If you check out some of the online debates about creative writing courses, you’ll find people wondering about the teaching staff…  Why would you want to be taught by someone who has published maybe two or three books, and obviously isn’t making a living from them?

But of course, you could also ask whether anyone lucky enough to make a full time salary from writing would bother to teach as well…  And, much more importantly, teaching has it’s own set of skills: I’ve been to so many workshops where successful writers stand up and give ill-prepared, boring or hopeless talks…  Even the late, and very great TV writer Alan Plater was tedious the time I went to see him speak.  (As I only saw  him  once, it may be unfair to judge him too harshly, but the point is that successful writers are not necessarily good speakers or teachers).

Now, some of the teachers on my MA course were also Doctors of English Literature, and it sometimes showed.  But when looking for a university course, I suggest you don’t get too hung up on the so-called writing ‘success’ of the teachers.  By all means take a look at the quality of their work, but more importantly, see what you can find about the quality of their teaching


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