Thursday 24 June 2010

Great Writing 2010

This was another successful conference. There were some old faces there and some new ones. As usual, there was as much value in the discussions over coffee and at mealtimes as in the sessions themselves. We were blessed with warm sunny weather and much time was spent on the balcony outside. This enhanced our mood as did the wonderful food provided during breaks.
The old debate about why do a Masters or a Ph D in Creative Writing was there again. Two sessions addressed this in particular: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, presented by Sara Bailey, Craig Batty and Sandra Cain. In the audience and the panel, some people have completed a Ph D, others are part way through and others can’t or don’t want to find the time. Those of us who have them are pleased that we do, but we still grapple with the question. We were partly answered by Sally O’ Reilly, who started on her Ph D after being published. What she said resonated with my take on it: it is another way of being given permission to write and another way of having your writing endorsed. One investigates that whole practice with a view to evaluating one’s own and improving it and investigates more deeply a particular part of it. I actually think that writing within the academy is about more than being published.
I was struck by two items in particular this year. Many presentations contained a delightful mix of the creative and the reflective and even the critical and seemed to epitomise what we are all about.
The pursuit of excellence and the practice / training needed for that – in other words, the need to write and write and write – was something else that became clear to me. I’ve come back determined to write more and better.

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