Body of Work Cover
Book Cover

Body of Work, Edited by Giles Foden

4/5 stars
Book review by David Agnew.
Published 15 December 2011

Body of Work is a celebration of 40 years of the creative writing course at the University of East Anglia. It’s important to note the word celebration here; this isn’t a collection of the creative writing the course has produced. The course started in the earliest days of the 1970s, and was run then by Angus Wilson and Malcolm Bradbury, two then famous novelists whose reputations seem to have dimmed a little since. Perhaps, ironically, the novelists they nurtured formed part of a wave of new writers who drew attention away from them. And it would be a large part, because those novelists included Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro early on, both of whom have pieces here about their time at UEA, and many others later, up to ‘newer’ novelists like Joe Dunthorne. There’s an introduction by Giles Foden, the University's current professor of creative writing, which discusses the notion of creative writing courses as a whole, gently pushing aside the various objections to it, and this, like much of the rest of the book, will certainly whet the appetite of anyone considering, already doing, or even teaching a creative writing course. A fascinating anthology around a fascinating subject. [David Agnew]

 

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