29 September 2010

can writing schools close market gaps?

DIE ZEIT has an interview with josef haslinger who is both the managing director of the Deutsches Literaturinstitut in Leipzig and also a writer. in that interview he claims that professionally training authors in writing schools like his own is closing a quality gap in german literature. and better yet, he blames us individuals and for-profit literary magazines for not educating younger writers better - in our free time, of course:

"Durch den Niedergang der Gruppen und die Professionalisierung der Zeitschriften, es gibt ja fast keine Autorenzeitschriften mehr, ist eben die Notwendigkeit entstanden, solche Schulen zu haben, in denen Autoren literarische Erfahrungen sammeln können."

i think he purposely ignores economic realities here. people need to go to work these days, unlike in the seventies, when hanging out in smoke filled uni corners was hip. there is not enough governmental funding for literary endeavours. yadda yadda. i'm boring myself with the perpetual sermon of a self-sustaining literary system, no courage to try new things and the ongoing homogenization professionalization of writing styles. he can tell me about his students' striving for originality all he wants - they voluntarily entered an institution whose aim it is to prepare them for a literary market that resorts to celebrating people like helene hegemann for originality. good for her, i guess, that at least she never attended a factory school like that. in any case, a better title for this post would have been "writing schools must close market gaps or else they'll be shut".

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