Novelist Hanif Kureishi has dismissed creative writing courses as "a waste of time" and said he would never have gone on one himself, despite teaching a writing course at Kingston University.
Kureishi was speaking at the Independent Bath Literature Festival, at an event supported by the creative writing department of Bath Spa University.
According to an Independent report, he told the audience that the fundamentals of storytelling could not be taught, saying: "A lot of my students just can’t tell a story. They can write sentences but they don’t know how to make a story go from there all the way through to the end without people dying of boredom in between. It’s a difficult thing to do and it’s a great skill to have. Can you teach that? I don’t think you can."
Asked if he would have taken a course, he said: "No. I wouldn’t do it like that. That would be madness. I would find one teacher who I thought would be really good for me."
He added that his own role as a creative writing teacher was to be part-mentor, part-therapist, and said: "I can’t give them talent but I can say to them: ‘Look, if you do that, you’re going to waste a lot of time."
Kureishi's comments prompted a range of responses online, including one from agent Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown, which runs its own creative writing academy, Curtis Brown Creative. Geller tweeted: "Creative writing courses are a 'waste of time' Hanif Kureishi. Tell the 11 students of @cbcreative with publishers."
Kureishi latest novel The Last Word is published by Faber, which also runs creative writing courses through Faber Academy.
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