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Creative writing and the canon

26 April 2009

'Teaching 'helps in thinking about your own writing in a more formal theoretical way. Writers might think about point of view or structure or character, and often you have an instinctive understanding, but what it has helped me do is get a more theoretically well-founded idea...

It's very frightening for the students, they just don't know what they are going into at all. When I was starting in 1989 the potential routes one could take were reasonably clear. Now it's so much more complicated...

The idea of what constitutes literary value has changed or become less consensual. It's harder to establish what is good and what is not, and that is one of the things that forms the canon. Barnes, Amis, McEwan were the last people through the door, and then the door closed, and then the building fell down.'

Giles Foden, author of Turbulence, in the Bookseller