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A Creative Writing Education: Published Author versus Experienced Teacher

/Intro by Rachel Marsh/

You’ve decided to take a writing class. Maybe you’re been thinking about applying to a programme which offers a creative writing qualification. However, there are so many options out there it’s hard to choose. One way students will make a decision as to which creative writing course to take is based on the tutor. Many programmes hire award-winning authors to teach their classes, and it is often the chance to work with these writers that draws many students to the course. While some courses bring-on qualified instructors with years of experience to lead their workshops, and students sign up for these classes comfortable in the knowledge that their instructor has teaching experience.

Of course, the perfect situation would be an award winning author, who has worked in publishing, and has years of teaching experience as well as their qualifications. Unfortunately, this is a rare person to find. Writing a book, and then finding a publisher for that book, can take years. Assuming that this person is a success, they would spend quite a lot time marketing their published books and writing new ones, not leaving a lot of time for other pursuits. Someone who has achieved this while simultaneously gaining their teaching qualifications (or a PhD, as many Universities in the UK require a PhD to teach creative writing), and who also has years of experience as teacher is an unusual find. Additionally, the skills needed to become a published author do not necessarily transfer to the classroom, and the qualities found in good teacher do not automatically help that person to become published. Which is why prospective students often find themselves choosing between the published author or the experienced teacher when picking a writing course.

Henrietta and Jade each have a different opinion on the matter. Henrietta would chose a creative writing teacher who is published, while Jade would prefer a teacher with experience. What makes their debate even more interesting is that both women were on the same writing programme, at the same time, and both were taught by the same series of lecturers.

Second in the ‘A Creative Writing Education’ series this article hopes to lead a discussion on preferences for the perfect creative writing tutor. Henrietta and Jade debate ‘Published Author versus Experienced Teacher’.

Henrietta Evans: Writing with Accolades
Jade Skinner: The Tutor Experience

Join in the discussion on our A Creative Writing Education forum or leave a comment below.

Fancy taking a writing course? ShortbreadStories will be in the Highlands of Scotland for a four-day course this May. Check it out here.

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One thought on “A Creative Writing Education: Published Author versus Experienced Teacher

  1. Absolutely fascinating debate and I’m just glad that we aren’t asked to vote as both participants were so very passionate in their beliefs. Great stuff.

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