Quote Du Jour: “Fuck the Prose”

Blowhard, Esq. writes:

Hanif-Kureishi

A lot of my students just can’t tell a story. They can write sentences but they don’t know how to make a story go from there all the way through to the end without people dying of boredom in between. It’s a difficult thing to do and it’s a great skill to have. Can you teach that? I don’t think you can…

It’s the story that really helps you. They worry about the writing and the prose and you think: ‘Fuck the prose, no one’s going to read your book for the writing, all they want to do is find out what happens in the story next.’

— Novelist and creative writing professor Hanif Kureishi, as quoted in The Guardian

About Blowhard, Esq.

Amateur, dilettante, wannabe.
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2 Responses to Quote Du Jour: “Fuck the Prose”

  1. This all came up b/c I was talking to PR about a friend of mine who was accepted to the MFA programs at Iowa and Michigan. He chose Michigan b/c that’s where he went for law school, and he loved Ann Arbor. That Michigan’s MFA program just got a $50 million grant was also a significant factor. He’s not just getting full tuition, he gets a yearly stipend, so they’re actually paying HIM to go there.

    The program is three years. He’ll have classes the first two years and he’ll be expected to teach a few 101-level classes to undergrads his second year. His third year is no classes or teaching — he’s expected to hang around Ann Arbor and finish his novel. To that end, the third year students get a $26,000 stipend for living expenses. (Another perk of the program: they give you travel stipends too. You want to write a story set in Argentina? Great! They’ll pay for your airfare and give you a modest per diem.)

    I was curious about his application, what work he submitted. He said he did a lot of research before applying — reading message boards, talking to people — and they all said the same thing: all that counts is your writing samples. The personal statement, the biographical essay — none of that shit matters. Josh submitted two short stories, Jewish fiction influence by Saul Bellow and Saul Alinsky. When the head of Iowa admissions called to congratulate him in on getting in, the dude had no idea he was a lawyer, so it was clear the admissions guy hadn’t read his entire application.

    So, come 2018 or so will I be able to buy his RandomHousePenguinFarrarStrausGiroux-published book? Who knows. “Literature,” eh?

    Like

  2. Fenster says:

    Easy for Kureishi to say since he is a gifted stylist. If it’s all about what happens next we could stop with Dan Brown.

    Like

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