Monday, September 01, 2008

Tom Wolfe on Fiction, Himself

Here's an interview with the always-quotable Tom Wolfe. Predictably, he criticizes the state of contemporary fiction:

There's so little of it now that it's pathetic, and it's pathetic all over. Writers come from master-of-fine-arts programs now. If you add up the college education of Steinbeck, Hemingway and Faulkner, you get to spring break of freshman year.

MFA programs are an easy target. Their advantages: the best programs give young writers an opportunity to learn from writers they admire; they provide a community with which to share one's work; and they help establish connections with agents, publishers, etc. But it is a shame that they're becoming almost obligatory, and based on what I've seen from them, MFA seminars often foster conformity and sameness among the stories and poems they generate.

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