Conversations With Slate

Can Creative Writing Really Be Taught?

Jonathan Lethem on why he decided to teach.

Jonathan Lethem is a college dropout. He’s also one of his generation’s most successful writers. What does it mean that he is now a college professor who teaches creative writing? In this third segment of his interview with the novelist, Slate’s Jacob Weisberg asks Lethem why he decided to accept a teaching job once held by David Foster Wallace when he took such a different path himself.

Part 1 of the interview focused on Lethem’s scathing look at the American left in his new novel, Dissident Gardens, while Part 2 concerned the book’s purported shift in tone from his earlier work. Check back for the final part on Friday about Lethem’s famous writing on the Talking Heads.