Professor writes books on creative writing

September 27, 2021
Two newly published books co-authored by Northwestern Qatar professor and novelist Sam Meekings explore creative writing pedagogy and issues of diversity and representation in the field.
Meekings, who teaches creative writing courses as part of the school’s Liberal Arts Program, said both books “highlight voices from outside the traditional poles of English-language scholarship and decolonize creative writing assumptions and lore by demonstrating the importance of localized and intersectional adaptions to practice and pedagogy.”
The first book, The Place and the Writer is part of Bloomsbury’s new Research in Creative Writing series. In the book, Meekings, together with co-editor Marshall Moore, examine the best approaches for teaching and practicing creative writing globally and ways to adapt creative writing lore to be more deeply connected to local contexts.
With viewpoints from Brazil, Hong Kong, Finland, and South Africa challenging the aesthetics and politics of institutionalized creative writing, the book offers a global perspective on looking beyond Western-centric ideas about writing and for embracing a range of new voices from the Global South that have previously been excluded from the practice.
“If you look at writing traditions in different local contexts, especially in previously colonized countries and the Global South, the oral storytelling traditions and the way people tell stories do not always conform to Western-centric practices of writing,” noted Meekings. “The Place and the Writer shows how teaching practices can be adapted to engage with and reflect the richness of local traditions of storytelling.”
In Creative Writing Scholars on the Publishing Trade: Practice, Praxis, Print, Meekings, with co-author Moore, examines the intersection of creative writing scholarship and the publishing industry by looking at the digital transformation publishing industry underwent as well as rapid evolution and development in academic creative writing programs.
“The past decade brought about many significant changes to the publishing industry and the way audiences consume books, but the contents of the creative writing courses around the world have not adapted enough to these changes,” said Meekings. “Our book is an attempt to highlight the skills and knowledge needed for students and developing writers to stay relevant in the industry as it continues to change.”
From comparing self-publishing and traditional publishing to addressing issues of diversity and representation within the publishing industry and charting possible career pathways for emerging writers, the book addresses issues that inform the practice and understanding of creative writing raised by the sudden changes within the industry. The authors suggest ways to address current issues that will produce significant disciplinary knowledge that will contribute to creative writing success in current and future academic environments.
“Professor Meekings’ books are a compelling look at the current state and future direction of creative writing,” said Marwan M. Kraidy, dean and CEO of Northwestern Qatar. “In addressing creative writing pedagogy and highlighting practices from the Global South, these books demonstrate that creative writing is not merely an art form but also a mode of cross-cultural communication.”
Meekings most recent novel, The Afterlives of Doctor Gachet, uncovers the story behind a painting by Vincent van Gogh of his doctor, Paul Gachet. The book explores the history of Gachet’s life as well as the painting itself and brings nuance to this doctor’s melancholy character.