Surely people can pick up the basic rules of storytelling? So you want to be a writer …. But those hoping to make writing a more central part of their lives should subject their dreams to hard scrutiny. In January, one of our graduates, who now lectures at the university, won the Costa book of the year award. Five hundred words a day is too few.

Chair of judges Mariella Frostrup says prize’s second all-female shortlist shows it’s ‘suited to women’s innovative brilliance’. Students in graduate writing programmes are already seriously committed writers by the time they enrol for a workshop; prospective students must apply, and only a small number are selected. Five hundred words a day is too few. Students react to sharp odours. When student work is discussed, it has to be a safe but rigorous process. Today’s MFA students expect you to be awake.

So you want to be a writer …

To show them that writing is both bomb and bomb disposal — a necessary shattering of cliche and assumption, and a powerful defusing of the soul-destroying messages of modern life that nothing matters, nothing changes, money is everything, etc.

In the short-story class, we spent lots of time thinking creztive endings. They’re a dime a dozen.

hanif kureishi creative writing guardian

But I soon became troubled by the relationship between academia and the craft of writing. Quite apart from the commercial aspect, creative writing students are being encouraged to tell stories that matter to them.

At some point in the relationship between a creative writing tutor and a student, there will be a conversation that runs exactly like the closing lines of Samuel Beckett’s novel, The Unnamable:. Rehearsing these things collectively loosens the tight fit of fear and inhibition, imagination relaxes.


So you want to be a writer … | Books | The Guardian

This great man of American letters should be judged by his body of work and the success of his students, not by his editing of Raymond Carver. Creative writing, as a discipline, may not be entirely selfless, despite any beneficial results. My experience of introducing and teaching the subject at the University of Glamorgan, now the University of South Wales, beginning inwas more positive, with some undergraduates and postgraduates going on to writkng.

A spokesperson for Kingston University told the Independent that Kureishi’s course was “extremely demanding and valuable”, and that the author, playwright and screenwriter “is employed for his thought-provoking, inspirational contribution which he provides through supportive masterclasses, tutorials and PhD supervisions. Classes, at Bath Spa and elsewhere, differ greatly. Most of what I teach involves encouraging students to exteriorise their subjective world by fixing it to objects, instead of routing everything through the persona of Jane or John.

Today’s MFA students expect you to driting awake. The desire to write comes easily; writing itself is technical and hard. All-woman shortlist for BBC short story award The object represents the impingement of reality, and it nearly always has the effect of turning their writing inside out.

Hanif Kureishi | Page 2 of 6 | Books | The Guardian

Plus most psychotherapists don’t slag off their patients at literary festivals. After a long silence, one of the student’s best friends, primed, says: A key problem for a writing course is this: The other thing that impacts massively on the success of a course any course is the tutor and peer group. The stories they come up with are often surprisingly good.


Colin Robinson looks on quizzically as a group of aspiring novelists try to create a masterpiece in 30 days. The Last Word by Hanif Kureishi — review.

Children’s fiction is not great literature Jonathan Myerson.

hanif kureishi creative writing guardian

Loading comments… Witing loading? Kureishi speaks out on immigration in wake of European elections. Order by newest oldest recommendations. A story that starts with “Jane looked out of the kitchen window and thought about her life” — despite the fact that it may be perfectly true — will always be struggling to free itself from a basic unreality.

You help them work out how to do that. Everyone lifts their game in response to the exacting readers they’ll face next Tuesday. Similarly, don’t go back and revise until you’ve completed a first draft. Share your experiences below. The Pixar film process is highly iterative — what could fiction writers eriting from its collaborative and experimental approach?

When student work is discussed, it has to be a safe but rigorous process.