The Case of the Missing Creative Writing Major

Let’s face it — NYU’s Creative Writing Program has a great  reader series this semester. As you know, Jonathan Safron Foer is reading from Eating Animals on Sept 16th (causing a serious dilemma for all the hipsters out there), and other notable authors, such as Junot Diaz and Darin Strauss, will be reading from their recent books throughout the semester.

All of the above-mentioned powerhouse authors (and Zadie Smith, too) are on staff at NYU, which begs the question: why haven’t we developed a creative writing major at NYU when we have a growing number of genuinely famous, and more importantly, actually talented writers on staff?

When I think of NYU, its Creative Writing Program is never one of the first things that comes to mind. Budding Zadies and JSFs must settle for a mere four – class minor. But if we have the power to summon the big shots and other well-respected writers like Amy Bloom and Nicole Krauss (JSF’s wife), as well as hold master classes and Parisian vacations writing intensives, it seems like we could give writers a full 9 – 10 course option.

So if we can attract modern greats, why not expand the undergrad program? Sure, it might end up turning their beautiful brownstone on West 10th into a mecca for chain-smoking hipsters reciting their own poetry, but I think it’s worth the risk.

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    8 Comments

  1. says

    As someone who was a creative writing minor at NYU and loved the program, I’m relieved I didn’t have the option of taking it for a major–I might have actually done it.

    It seems to me that anyone interested in creative writing can benefit a great deal from breadth of knowledge and experience, as well as something to fall back on as a day job. A creative writing major wouldn’t offer either of those things. At best, it would provide more grist for the MFA mill.

  2. Annie Costa says

    Agreed with Ned. I’ve taken plenty of creative writing courses at NYU but am so glad that I’m not leaving school with a creative writing major. I’ll be better off in the job market (fingers crossed) and in the mean time my writing has certainly benefited from the knowledge and academic stimulation that came out of my other, non-writing courses.

  3. Christine Johnson says

    @ Annie and Ned: I completely understand where you’re coming from…but does majoring in something necessarily preclude you from studying other subjects or gaining experience in them? I’m an Anthro major (absolutely useless in terms of jobs), but it’s my Environmental Studies and Urban Design minors that get me my internships, etc…

  4. Brianne Sperber says

    I totally agree with Christine. I’m a European Studies major (i.e. history and cultural crap) and have taken very few English classes. I don’t even have an English minor, but have managed to get myself at least 3 internships in the publishing industry. I think most places look for something different, though I will admit I think the reason I’m not offered editorial positions is because I’m not actually studying literature.

  5. Joss Pentoscope says

    Before trying to be a creative writer, being a creative reader would be helpful: read for example Jérôme POINSOT’s article in MONTRAY KREYOL web site[http://www.montraykreyol.org/spip.php?article4077] for a more detailed analysis of the baroque aesthtetic of the novel On Beauty…

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