I was honoured to be asked to run a creative writing workshop for the AS and A2 students at Exeter College today. I worked with two groups and came away feeling that this is most definitely a subject that 16-18 year olds should be offered nationwide. And Exeter College are doing it very well. From my perspective, even the initially reluctant students entered into the spirit of the workshop which was to, well, actually write. After all, if you want to be a writer that is what you have to do. And they gave it a go and were brave enough to read out their pieces. I was really impressed and encouraged.
These are my five reasons why Creative Writing should be an A Level subject:
1. Creative Writing complements either English Language or English Literature as an A Level choice. It allows students to reflect on the nature of writing, in the same way that a bi-ligual student has the upper hand when it comes to learning a language.
2. Creative Writing allows those students who are quirky and maybe off-centre to find a place that they fit.
3. Creative Writing allows those students who are quiet and introverted to have a voice.
4. We human beings have a primal need to tell stories. It’s what makes us human. Stories help shape our personal pasts and collective futures. Once upon a time and forever and ever.
5. The art of Creative Writing can be learned and honed through structured teaching, just like Fine Art and Engineering and Geography.
I wish I had been able to choose this as an A Level subject. I was 33 before I had the chance to study creative writing – an adult education class led by Jan Henley at Worthing College. I’ve never looked back.