On eBooks and MFA programs.
Earlier this month the Iowa Writer's Workshop celebrated its 75th anniversary with a weekend full of scholarly presentations, panel discussions and readings from some of its most famous alums. Robert Lehrman, writing for The Christian Science Monitor, used the event to sound off on the state of American fiction and the importance of MFA writing programs in general. Lehrman is hopeful, and rightly so: despite scary statistics like, "forty-two percent of college graduates will never read another book, cover to cover, once they walk across the stage and pick up their diploma," there's still plenty of smart, talented writers published every year.
Still, some pundits worry that digital technology and the Internet are turning us all into hyperactive maniacs, too wired into Facebook and Twitter, too distracted by television and video games, to have the kind of focus necessary for reading serious fiction. Consider Johann Hari's recent essay in The Independent: