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Undergraduate Creative Writing in the United States: Buying In Isn’t Selling Out

  • Anna Leahy
Part of the Teaching the New English book series (TENEEN)

Abstract

The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) director, David Fenza, asserts, ‘Creative Writing classes have become among the most popular classes in the humanities’ and member undergraduate programs jumped from 155 in 1984 to 318 just twenty years later.1 The AWP Official Guide to Writing Programs now lists 421 undergraduate programs.2 In addition, a recent report on ‘The Undergraduate English Major’ by the Association of Departments of English (ADE) mentions the addition of Creative Writing as one way that English departments have addressed the drop in percentage of English majors since the 1970s. This report claims, ‘there is at least anecdotal evidence to suggest that when Creative Writing is an option or track within English, it often contributes significantly to the success of the English major’.3 In ADE’s study, ‘Nearly half (49.3%) the chairs identified Creative Writing as second only to literature as the focus chosen by English majors.’4 We are now established as a discipline in universities and colleges and, to some extent, valued. The fear is that, in buying into the academy, we might sell out our art or craft.

Keywords

Undergraduate Program Creative Writer English Department Creative People Teaching Creative 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    David Fenza, ‘About AWP: The Growth of Creative Writing Programs,’ Association of Writers and Writing Programs website, www.awpwriter.org/aboutawp/index.htm(accessed 28 February 2012).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Margaret Schramm, et al., ‘The Undergraduate English Major,’ADE Bulletin (Spring/Fall 2003): 68-91. Schramm, p. 72.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Jane Ciabattari, ‘A Revolution of Sensibility,’Poets & Writers (Jan./Feb. 2005): 69-72.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Francine Prose, Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (New York: HarperCollins, 2006), p. 12.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    Mary Cantrell, ‘Teaching and Evaluation: Why Bother?’Power and Identity in the Creative Writing Classroom, Ed. Anna Leahy (Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 2005), p. 71.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    David Morley, The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 9.
    Nancy C. Andreasen, The Creating Brain: The Neuroscience of Genius (New York: Dana Press, 2005), p. 128.Google Scholar
  8. 10.
    Wallace Stegner, On Teaching and Writing Fiction (New York: Penguin, 2002), p. 52.Google Scholar
  9. 11.
    John Irving, ‘Interview,’The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central, 17 August 2005).Google Scholar
  10. 12.
    Ulrich Kraft, ‘Unleashing Creativity,’Scientific American Mind, 16, 1, (2005): 16-23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 13.
    Robert Frost, Robert Frost: Poetry & Prose (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972), p. 393.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Anna Leahy 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Leahy

There are no affiliations available

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