Appearing at Hay, Hanif Kureishi slams university creative writing classes.
Kureishi, himself a research associate on the creative writing course at Kingston University in London said, “One of the things you notice is that when you switch on the television and a student has gone mad with a machine gun on a campus in America, it’s always a writing student.
“The writing courses, particularly when they have the word ‘creative’ in them, are the new mental hospitals. But the people are very nice.”
Kureishi – whose most famous work includes The Buddha of Suburbia, My Beautiful Laundrette and The Black Album – was speaking at the Guardian Hay festival about his latest novel, Something To Tell You.
He said that he was impelled to start teaching writing by the example of his children, who have tennis lessons, piano lessons and the like. He became convinced that teaching a skill was an honourable calling: “I felt if I knew something, I should pass it on.”
But he said of his students, “When I teach them, they are always better at the end – and more unhappy.”