→ MFA vs. NYC: America now has two distinct literary cultures. Which one will last? | Slate Magazine

MFA vs. NYC: America now has two distinct literary cultures. Which one will last?

As long as we’re on the subject of “the Steady State” of theater, how about a look at the state of fiction writing? This article by Chad Harbach, published in n+1 back in 2010 and excerpted on Slate, looked at the difference between MFA culture and NYC culture, and posited that we may be seeing the triumph of the MFA system. Which leads to this:

It was announced recently that Zadie Smith — one of the few writers equipped by fame to do otherwise — has accepted a tenured position at NYU, presumably for the health insurance; perhaps this marks the beginning of the end, a sign that in the future there will be no NYC writers at all, just a handful of writers accomplished enough to teach in NYC.

New York will have become — as it has long been becoming — a place where some writers go for a wanderjahr or two between the completion of their MFAs and the commencement of their teaching careers….The lit-lovers who used to become editors and agents will direct MFA programs instead; the book industry will become as rational — that is, as single-mindedly devoted to profit — as every other capitalist industry. The writers, even more so than now, will write for other writers.

Interesting similarities between this article and the one by 99Seats that I linked to.

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