Tuesday, January 28, 2014


From: i-club.com

“At my MFA, most of us are very young–rare is the person who is over 30–and most of us didn’t have careers before coming here. And almost all of us went to an elite college: Stanford and Yale are overrepresented; most others either went to a top 10 public university or top 10 liberal arts college. Almost all of us have degrees in English.
     Furthermore, despite our actual class background, everyone I’ve met in the creative writing world has had that upper-class polish. It’s something I noticed at Stanford: no matter your class, race, or country, within a few semesters we all started sounding the same and acting the same and operating according to the same values and principles. Top colleges whitewash you by teaching you how to ape the mannerisms of the managerial (note, I didn’t say ruling) class—it’s pretty much the main thing you’re buying with your $50k a year.
     Additionally, the people in the creative writing world tend to be very good-looking (also a class marker!).
     Whereas if you meet science fiction writers who are at the same level of their careers as us, there’s something very different about them. They always have jobs: often career-track jobs. Their degrees are generally not in English. They tend to be older. Oftentimes, they didn’t pursue writing seriously when they were in college. They’re not as polished and don’t seem to be from as affluent of a background. […]
     A major university—the recipient of tons of federal research dollars—is paying very privileged people (including me) tens of thousands of dollars to do work that is of little value (since we’re not yet that good) to mankind or society. And beyond that, there’s a whole system of grants, fellowships, professorships, etc, that only go to people who exist within the creative writing industry (i.e. not science fiction writers).
     Obviously, those things are very hard to get. I will probably never get any of them. But that’s not the point. The point is that the people who DO get them tend to be people like me: very privileged, very upper-class people. Which is absurd. And it seems like exactly the wrong way to design a system that’s meant to support art which isn’t commercially successful.
     Because, beyond even the genre/literary distinction, the creative writing industry systematically shuts out would-be literary writers who are from less-wealthy backgrounds.”
— R. H. Kanakia, Blotter Paper
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