In the early 1990s, there were very few creative writing degrees in the UK but lots of creative writing workshops in the community. Many writers, including me, taught creative writing in libraries, prisons, hospitals, schools, even living rooms. The students were hugely varied, from enthusiastic poets to prospective autobiographers and hopeful screenwriters and everything in between. I’m no longer involved in that way but such groups are still very popular, and they often provide a valuable income for self-employed writers.
The idea for ‘Creative Writing: A Handbook for Workshop Leaders’ came from a collaboration between East Midlands Arts and the University of Nottingham’s Department of Adult Education, both now defunct. Its aim was to support creative writing teachers by collecting the wisdom of those East Midlands writers who were already involved in the practice. Many writers who teach writing have no formal training in teaching or facilitation and can find very few resources to help them when they’re starting out, or support them as they develop their skills. The book is divided into the following sections: