Can creative writing be taught?  Should it be taught?  

The latest issue of the Dublin Review of Books is online at with my review of Imagination in the Classroom: Teaching & Learning Creative Writing in Ireland, a recent collection of essays on the topic edited by Anne Fogarty, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne and Eibhear Walshe, published this year by Irish Academic Press.

What do you think?

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4 Responses to Can creative writing be taught?  Should it be taught?  

  1. What a terrific review – and what an interesting publication it addresses, teasing out so many of the vexed questions around the teaching of creative writing. ‘Imagination in the Classroom’ is now firmly on my reading list. The issues highlighted in the review are fascinating, even for an occasional teacher of creative writing. I find myself instinctively drawn towards that whole notion, beautifully expressed by Richard Hugo, of the ‘single microscopic moment of personal triumph’ – that moment of creativity when a workshop participant exceeds their own expectations and brings something luminous into their lives. Apart from acquiring more academically-verifiable skills, this ‘moment’ is where the truth of teaching creative writing lies for me, and is the ‘moment’ I most treasure as a facilitator. Congratulations for distilling so many important issues, for clarity and cogency.

    • libranwriter says:

      Thanks, C.J & Catherine. I love the Richard Hugo quote (which is from his book The Triggering Town). And I love that moment in a workshop where a person lights up, when they suddenly realise what they’ve done, what they can do.

  2. C.J. Black says:

    I believe yes is the answer to both questions – if only we were allowed express ourselves way back in the dim distant past perhaps I just might now be travelling a different road entirely.

  3. estyree says:

    I think that Creative Writing is much like other required topics in that it can help some students and cause severe anxiety in others. One student recently shut down and cried in class because he insisted that he ‘can not do any of this’ during a creative writing assignment, but another one discovered that not only is she an imaginative girl, but writing helps keep from telling ‘lies’ to let that creativity have an outlet. It helps teach children self-control, rules, creativity, imagination, study techniques…etc etc etc…you just have to have the right tools and the right approach.
    that’s my two cents anyway. But then again, I’m a writer 😀

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