And while MFA novels do tend to slightly favor certain themes like “family” or “home,” overall there’s no predictable way these topics appear with any regularity in novels written by creative writing graduates more than other people who write novels.
The last time I wrote anything was my freshman year in college for a history class. Fourteen years later, I finally put pen to paper again, and it changed my life.
I was headed to medical school, a life dedicated to science.
Whether you valorize the Romantic ideal of the lonely, humble artist or the neo-liberal belief that education can solve any problem, the MFA has become a kind of Rorschach test for how writers and critics feel about creativity, where it comes from, and how best to nurture it.
Until now, no one has used much evidence beyond the anecdotal to test whether or not the MFA has actually influenced the contemporary novel.