Is writing a skill that can be taught?
Philip Hensher says: Yes, I think so. I think you can teach writing in the same way you can teach cabinet making. I think you can’t teach somebody to be a great writer, you can’t teach somebody with no aptitude whatsoever for writing how to write. On the other hand, you can teach people how a character can be constructed, teach people how to improve their writing. But you can’t turn somebody from Katie Price into Alan Hollinghurst by the sheer power of your pedagogy.
I love that last line!
Two acclaimed novelists - also friends - shared a stage to discuss their new works. Alan Hollinghurst’s latest novel, The Stranger’s Child, is the eagerly-awaited follow-up to The Line of Beauty, which won the Man Booker Prize in 2004. Philip Hensher combines writing novels with journalism and teaching creative writing at Exeter University. His latest book, King of the Badgers, is set in a fictional Devon town loosely based on Topsham in Devon, where he currently lives. They delivered a masterclass at the (Daily) Telegraph Ways With Words Festival on how to write fiction.
An extract of what they said can be read: http://tinyurl.com/5wwbbpl