Editorial by Carolyn Jess-Cooke
Can Creative Writing be taught?
It is a contentious question, and one that Writing in Education tackles each issue. But given the recent decision of the Department for Education to scrap the Creative Writing A Level, the question is given a new spin. Should Creative Writing be taught? How, and at what level? Given both the rise and popularity of Creative Writing programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate level, with English departments across the United Kingdom adding Creative Writing to their undergraduate curriculum at frantic pace, why should the DfE seek to abolish Creative Writing at A Level? How is it different from any of the other creative disciplines, like Art and Music Composition? What is it about creative writing that continues to provoke writers like Hanif Kureishi, Professor of Creative Writing at Kingston University, to claim that creative writing courses are “a waste of time”?
The articles in this issue insist, yet again, that the question “can creative writing be taught” is not what we should be asking. Writing can and should be taught, and not just in Higher Education. The assumption that Creative Writing cannot be taught is largely based on the idea that the sole purpose of teaching it at all is to produce more published authors. The proven benefits of taught Creative Writing programmes include enhanced social aspiration, improved mental well-being, and recognition that writing is not an ethereal gift bestowed by Muses upon dead white males. Writing in Education proves to be a valid voice of reason amidst assumptions surrounding the purpose of writing. I am heartened by the range of articles here that engage with progressive educational projects, which offer fresh pedagogical approaches and which challenge critical frameworks.
The National Association of Writers in Education is petitioning the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan MP, to prevent the Creative Writing A Level from being axed. Please sign and share the petition, which can be found at:
Co-editors: George Green and Tom MacAndrew
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