How critical is Creative Writing? Malcolm Bradbury and the figure of the writer-critic

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The MA in Creative Writing at UEA established by Malcolm Bradbury and Angus Wilson began with a greater emphasis on literary criticism. Indeed, Ian McEwan did not take an MA in Creative Writing in 1970, but rather the MA in The Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Novel (today’s equivalent being the MA Modern and Contemporary Writing), for which he submitted a selection of short stories instead of a dissertation. This paper will examine the ways in which the MA in Creative Writing as taught by Bradbury emphasised a closer relationship between writing and criticism, taking as an example Bradbury’s innovative ‘Fiction and the Creative Process’ module from 1989, which was offered to students from both MAs and designed to ‘move between a “creative” and a “critical” perspective’. These two perspectives have now since diverged within the academy, and a student taking the MA Prose Fiction in 2021 could conceivably complete the course without taking a single critical module or writing a single essay. From recent work on the ‘creative-critical’ we have seen that much innovation in criticism involves a closer relationship to the creative. Might the future of Creative Writing be a return to the critical?
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventFutures for Creative Writing - University of East Anglia (online), Norwich, United Kingdom
Duration: 21 May 202122 Sep 2021


ConferenceFutures for Creative Writing
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

Cite this