Later, in her collection of essays Mystery and Manners, O’Connor expressed creative writing mfa programs sentiments.
In the last twenty years the colleges have been emphasizing creative writing to such an extent that you almost feel that any idiot with a nickel’s worth of talent can emerge from a writing class able to write a competent story. In fact, so many people can now write competent stories that the short story as a medium is in danger of dying of competence. We want competence, but competence by itself is deadly. O’Connor probably overestimates the degree to which «any idiot» can learn to write with competence, but her point is clear.
The Nature and Aim of Fiction. As Harbach’s new essay collection demonstrates, the debate about the value of MFA programs—creative writing mfa programs have expanded exponentially since O’Connor’s day—has not by any means been settled. Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. We’re hoping to rely on our loyal readers rather than erratic ads.
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We’re hoping to rely on loyal readers, rather than erratic ads. Click the Donate button and support Open Culture. Do you want more open culture? Facebook fanpage, you’ll receive more articles like the one you just read!
Do you already like us on Facebook? Now that September is here and school is back in session, a writer’s thoughts turn to the eternal question: Is an MFA worth it? Ever since the publication of the Chad Harbach-edited anthology MFA vs. NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction earlier in the year, the perennial neurosis about whether or not an advanced degree in writing is worth it has become a progressively louder conversation.
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