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Current Issue 

No. 78: NAWE Conference Collection 2018 (Part 2)

Editorial by Paul Munden

Having held on here for an additional few months while new arrangements are made for the editing and production of this journal, I can firmly say this is the final edition that I will be dealing with! My calculations make it a neat 75 issues that I have edited, during 25 years in the role. Looking back at the first edition I dealt with, I see there is a total absence of the citations that now pepper nearly all the articles, leading me to reflect on the way things have changed. 

Writing in Education evolved from a newsletter, a way for members to be informed of opportunities and to share their experiences of being involved. In one sense, that’s still the mission, with the latter part having burgeoned, and mere “news and information” being handled via the e-bulletin. As our website states: “Its purpose is to assist the peer learning of NAWE members and their colleagues.” But over 25 years, creative writing has grown as a subject in higher education, and the expectations of that sphere have naturally influenced what is published within these pages. That might sound a straightforward trajectory, but perhaps glosses over a problematic shift from what was generally considered to be “pioneering work” to the institutional demands of academic “research”. This, in part, was the reason NAWE decided to introduce a separate journal, Writing in Practice: The Journal of Creative Writing Research.

The publicity material for Writing in Practice states: “We seek scholarly articles about practice and process that contextualize, reflect on and respond to existing knowledge and understanding ... Creative Writing itself is welcome when integral to an article.” This would seem to distinguish it clearly from Writing in Education, for which the parallel statement declares the aim “to explore the work of writers and teachers in educational and community contexts”. 

It is not, however, quite that simple. As a research journal, Writing in Practice also welcomes “critical examinations of the international history and pedagogy of Creative Writing”, insisting that “such work must evidence a wide-reading and contextualization of the existing literature, and make a significant and well-articulated contribution to knowledge in those fields.” Meanwhile, here within Writing in Education, we publish work that relates to writing practice as well as educational practice. Indeed, for creative writing teachers, it is surely almost impossible to keep the two in separate boxes. In this issue alone, we have Alan Bilton discussing Magic Realism in literary critical mode, but adding his wonderfully thoughtful and detailed writing exercises for the classroom. And Julian Stannard gives insight into his major poetic work, Sottoripa – “writing in practice” but for a general readership, rather than styling it as a university’s contribution to a research “exercise”.

So I find myself here offering challenges to both publications, essentially for each to learn from the other. Our guidelines for Writing in Education ask contributors to “Consider what type of article you yourself would find most useful” and I believe this should apply equally to Writing in Practice. Are writers learning from its pages, in their practice? And for those contributing to Writing in Education: Have you read the archive? In these post-pioneering days, does your article show an awareness of the subject’s history (bearing in mind that “awareness” is not the same as including a thousand citations)?

While completing this edition, I’ve also been editing an anthology of poetry marking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Giant Steps, and was pleased to included so many NAWE?members and other writers I have met in the course of being NAWE?Director. My aforementioned 25 years reach halfway back to that momentous occasion and it’s fascinating to think how technology has advanced during those spans. This magazine was first compiled from optical character recognition of typescripts, before the days of email. That seems to me almost as incredible as Apollo 11 operating from a computer less powerful than a mobile phone. As a continuing NAWE?member, I’m looking forward to seeing how this journal (and Writing in Practice) develop. It’s surely time for new “small steps” or indeed “giant leaps”. 

Paul Munden

 



The printed version of the magazine will be mailed to Professional Members and Institutions during November 2018. Any other members - including e-members - may purchase printed copies by following the link below.

Associate/Student Members and those benefiting from Institutional Membership can opt to have the printed magazine sent automatically by upgrading. If you would like to do this, please contact Libby Edison.

For a full list of contents, click on the image or the link below. NAWE members logged into the site can read the full articles. You can also browse the complete back catalogue of previous issues.




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