Will Martin writes: Stephanie Vanderslice directs the Arkansas Writers M.F.A. Workshop at the University of Central Arkansas. She is the author of our latest publication, Rethinking Creative Writing.
First off, what do you write?
I write fiction, creative nonfiction and essays and books about creative writing in higher education. I also blog as The Writing Geek for The Huffington Post.
Where did you get your experience in the creative writing field?
I have been writing since I was a teenager. You couldn’t major in creative writing at my college but I would have if it was possible. After my BA, I got an MFA in fiction at George Mason University, then a PhD in English with a creative dissertation (novel and critical introduction) from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.
Did you have to do a lot of research in writing Rethinking Creative Writing?
I did a great deal of research on creative writing programs in the UK, including a study tour of several UK universities in 2006, originally intending to write solely about that. After I returned and began to shape the book, though, I realized I needed to expand it to look at the US and the UK, which required several more years of research.
As a Creative Writing graduate myself, I am aware that creative writing courses in the UK and in America are very different. Do you think both English and American courses need a rethink?
The theme of Rethinking Creative Writing is that creative writing programs really need to be more reflective about the extent to which they’re preparing students for writing in the twenty-first century, to be more responsive to the world in which writers write today. Some programs do this better than others.
What are you working on now?
I have a novel, The Lost Son, that’s out right now, represented by Pen and Ink Literary, and I’m finishing a book based on my Huffington Post column titled The Geek’s Guide to the Writing Life: An Instructional Memoir for the Rest of Us. After that, I have another novel planned about 9/11 and the 1904 Steamship General Slocum disaster in New York Harbor and another memoir.
I’m also working on a new project with the Professional and Higher Partnership that will be an American version of Studying Creative Writing.
Tell me more!
Like other titles in the Creative Writing Studies series, this new project is going to be an edited collection for writing students, but in this case it will be specially focused on helping them navigate their experiences in creative writing in higher education.