Friday, February 16, 2007

Youth, Age and the Universities

It is a truth universally acknowledged by publishers that writers must not grow older, and a truth which must be dealt with by writers that they do. Pricking up her ears for the current lingo at the bus stop at school coming-out time is one of the Bitch's now customary practices, and even Zadie Smith, hardly any time ago considered The Voice of Cool Youth, must now, in the Acknowledgements for On Beauty, thank her younger brothers for advice on all the things I am too old to know. And now here's Martin Amis giving as one of his reasons for taking on a Creative Writing Professorship at the University of Manchester the fact that he wants to keep in touch with how young people think.

Martin Amis getting down with the students - I guess their recruitment will go through the roof. Meanwhile, in the other, Metropolitan University just down the road, Andrew Biswell's Writing School continues to flourish and to hold practically weekly author readings to which the public is invited. Last night an almost full house gathered to hear Rose Bailey and UA Fanthorpe and was saved the disappointment of their non-attendance due to flu by a last-minute stand-in from tutor Simon Armitage, and treated to extracts from his alliterative translation of Gawain and the Green Knight, and to some pretty funny new prose poems.
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