Being An Author Is Glamorous Again

Posted on April 25, 2006

British students are now flocking to creative writing courses taught by published authors in droves. Why? The Telegraph says students are being lured by the lucrative book deals reported in the news and the excitement at the possibility of being a celebrity author. British universities are cashing in on this interest by offering creative writing courses. The Telegraph says the number of universities offering ostgraduate creative writing courses has climbed from 10 to 85 in the past decade.

As competition to attract quality applicants grows, leading figures in the literary world are being enticed to head departments. Brunel University, in Middlesex, is the latest to capitalise on the trend and has just appointed the veteran novelist Fay Weldon, 74, to be the chairman of its new creative writing MA.

She told The Sunday Telegraph: "It is a growing industry. I don't think it is about being a name, what is important is having practical experience. "It is in the initial stages, when people have an idea but they don't quite know how to start, that you can help, making sure that they don't set out on a path that will be intolerably difficult."

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According to Russell Celyn Jones, a professor of creative writing at Birkbeck College, London, only one in five graduates goes on to be published. But even those who succeed can expect to earn as little as £15,000 per book, according to the Society of Authors.

So let's see, at current exchange rates £15,000 is the equivalent to $26,785.37 (U.S) over several years, with an average book advance of about $6,000. So, although it sounds glamorous to be an author once again, the pay scale is about the same as it's always been. Unless your name is J.K. Rowling or Dan Brown, of course.