'Whether creative writing can be taught is a question that has been debated on and off for decades. Are writers born, is the question, or can they be made? Neither side of the debate has offered incontrovertible evidence for either position.
'Those who believe writing cannot be taught tend to rely on outmoded Romantic ideas about creative genius to bolster their argument. Creativity and literary skill, they argue, are aspects of the writer’s character or personality —mysterious and ineffable. Therefore they cannot be taught, but only honed and refined through experience.
'This side of the debate has evolved into a critique of the value of the creative writing programs offered by universities. Some, such as Horace Engdahl, one of the current judges for the Nobel Prize for Literature, go so far as to claim that creative writing courses are killing western literature.'