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Writer as (self) critic: Call for Contributions
Mon 27 Jun 2005
The next NAWE conference will be held this autumn in Lancaster and will explore the relationship between criticism and creativity.
This is certainly a very pertinent issue for writers working in Higher Education at the moment, but we hope that it will raise important and interesting questions for all our members. Those active in schools will no doubt welcome the opportunity to discuss the possible emergence of a GCSE in Creative Writing.

NAWE aims, through its conferences, to bring together writers and others working in education to share practice and learn from each other in a focused and supportive environment. We would be delighted if you would be interested in proposing a contribution to the conference and we hope that our exploratory thoughts below might start to inspire you!

Are critical and creative writing at odds with each other? Are they still perceived as distinct and, if so, should they be?

Where do the roles of writer, critic and teacher overlap? And collide?

As writers working in education we frequently approach both critical and creative texts. Does this produce tension? And how does it affect our own identities as writer-critics? Do we spend so much time and creative energy on analysing others' work and writing critically about it that we have no resources left for our own creative writing?

How do you see the current state of relations between the disciplines of English Literature and Creative Writing in the education system? Should Creative Writing be more closely aligned to practical arts such as drama and visual art than to English?

Should there be a GCSE or A-level in Creative Writing? Would this safeguard young people's right to value their skills and interest in creative writing, or would the inevitable demand for a balance between creative and critical writing to meet perceived academic criteria be damaging?

Which comes first, your creative or your critical self?

The current debate around the balance of critical and creative writing in the Creative Writing PhD is fierce. As creative writing now constitutes research in a great many institutions, does investigating the world through creative practice alone provide enough evidence of knowledge of the field, or is there a need for critical exemplification too? And what ramifications does this have for the kind of writing expected of creative writing tutors by their institutions?

Are we creating a monster by institutionalising creative writing and thereby yoking it with critical writing? Or have creative writers always and necessarily been critics?

If you would like to contribute to the conference by addressing any of these or related questions, we would love to hear from you. Proposals should consist of approximately 100 words on the workshop, paper or presentation you would like to offer with a short biog. They should be emailed to or sent to:
Joanna Ingham, Programme Manager, NAWE
c/o Flat 8, 39 Central Hill, London SE19 1BW

The deadline for submissions is Friday 26 August. If you are invited to deliver your proposed contribution, you will be registered as a conference delegate free of charge.

For more information or to discuss your proposal, please contact Joanna. Your ideas and suggestions will be most welcome and we look forward to hearing from you.

Contact Information:
Contact Name:
Joanna Ingham / 020 8670 5407
Contact Email: