Mailer and the World/Plagiarism/Too Many Writing Schools?

April 25, 2006

Norman Mailer on the World
What else would Norman Mailer talk about? His book, The Big Empty, in which he wrote: “The more powerful we become, the more ignorance we reveal of the nature of other cultures because knowledge is now too easy to acquire.” Not really.
Financial Times writer Daniel Swift talks to Mailer– “the grandest liberal journalist alive in the U.S.”–before Mailer was to receive the the French press's Legion d'Honneur for his contribution to literature and connection to France.

Oh My God! Did I Plagiarize? Asks Harvard Student
Chic-lit wunderkid Kaavya Viswanathan might have plagiarized parts of her novel How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life. Not one of the more insightful pieces of literature that came out this year, but a book with such commercial promise that its publisher Little Brown signed her with a half million dollar contract, not bad for a nineteen year old. Read
Dinitia Smith's article in the New York Times. Read the Harvard Crimson's version. The Harvard paper broke the story.

Writing School Fervor Hits Britain
Following in the footsteps of American universities, British institutions are hiring Britain's authors to teach an unprecedented number of students, according to Julie Henry for the London
Telegraph. A decade ago, only 10 universities had post-graduate writing courses. The number leaped to 85. That's nothing. MFA's in creative writing are popping like mushrooms, especially the distant learning type of which there was once just one, Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. Within driving distance of my home, Western Connecticut State University opened a program a year ago and Fairfield University announced its intentions to start one. Now here comes the question. Are there too many? Personally I believe that all MFA applications should include a warning: CAUTION: Writing for a living is hazardous to your financial health.


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