One question that came up a couple of times at Shared Worlds from the older students was: What creative writing programs would you recommend?
The answer isn’t as easy as you might think, because for those writers whose work veers toward non-realist fiction–whether you call it fantasy/SF, surreal, magic realism, or whatever–the best programs may or may not be those traditionally thought of as “elite”.
Why? Because not every creative writing program is sympathetic to non-realist writers or to the idea of “genre fiction”. I know, for example, that Brian Evenson and Robert Coover at Brown University almost certainly have to be sympathetic to such writers–the same for the program that John Kessel is part of at North Carolina State University. Seton Hill is another example.
So my question is: Based on your own personal experience or other information, which creative writing programs in North America and the United Kingdom (in particular) are supportive of all kinds of fiction, not just realism?
I phrase the question in this manner because I am not necessarily looking to compile a list of programs that skew toward non-realist fiction, either. (The best, most healthy environment is probably one in which non-realist fiction is no more or less exhalted than any other kind of fiction, especially since many writers, like myself, write in both a fantastical and non-fantastical vein–there’s a lot of cross-pollination that’s aided by a holistic approach.)
Nor can this be anything approaching a scientific study. Nor does a program not being mentioned mean it is hostile to non-realist fiction. But, in a loose and disorganized way, I’d love feedback on this question. If there’s no current resource online (and if there is, I’m sure Cheryl Morgan will guide me to it), then I might even codify some of the results on a webpage.
At the very least, you will be helping us provide information to Shared Worlds students who are making that very important decision about the next step in their lives…
(If you’re coming here from Facebook, please comment here, on the blog, not on the Facebook status message–much easier to collate answers.)