Premium Virtual Edition | Syllabus

From the 7th to the 9th of July, 2020, the EACWP launches a Premium Virtual Edition of its European Course for Teachers of Creative Writing, involving three of our most expert European teachers. In this occasion, we have made extensive the invitation to a selection of teachers that, for logistic reasons, would be more difficult, perhaps, to bring on spot for a week to Belgium. The sessions will be celebrated through Zoom. Worldwide participants are welcome to join us. Enrollments are already open until July, 6th, 2020

Teaching approaches to creative writing

General Guidelines

This Premium Virtual Edition will comprise three different masterclasses that will take place on Tuesday, 7th, Wednesday, 8th and Thursday, 9th of July from 18.00 to 20.00 (CET). As in the regular format of our Teachers Training Course, over these sessions, our EACWP teachers will share their different methodologies, approaches and experiences in the teaching of creative writing by offering a so called “auteur workshop” by performing and explaining their own ars pedagogica and didactics from both a theoretical and practical approach. All the working sessions will be focused on pedagogical training and guidelines to empower the participants to develop their own teaching interests and new possibilities.

Workshop 1: Understanding your students’ poetics

By Frank Tazelaar (ArtEZ / The Nethelands) / Tuesday, 7th

In writing schools all over the world, we teach how to create and what to make. My course will be about understanding your students’ poetics: we will talk about why your students write.

Thinking about and talking about poetics can help you understand your students’ motives, as your poetics are more than the conception of your own work. It is the totality of ideas, opinions and thoughts you have about what literature and art should be. It is, therefore, also a statement about the work of others and a representation of your world view.

You will be mapping your own poetics, in order to eventually understand the poetics of your students. We will look at your, and your students’ internal poetics: the way in which your vision is expressed in your work.

And we will discuss your external poetics: the way in which you talk about your work, in the classroom, in interviews, essays, etc. It helps you to understand the motivs of your students, how they want to shape their artistic careers, and in which way they manifest themselves in style and genre.

Workshop 2: How to work with literary tradition in a creative writing class

by Daniel Soukup (Faculty of Arts, Charles University / Czech Republic) / Wednesday, 8th

The class will focus on how creative writing students can benefit from, avoid being overwhelmed by, and respond to great literary works. The class will draw broadly on T. S. Eliot’s essay Tradition and the Individual Talent and Paul Dawson’s book Creative Writing and the New Humanities, but its focus will be practical and pedagogical, not theoretical.

Using concrete examples, some possible approaches will be outlined, such as 1) “reading like a writer” (focusing on “how it is made”), 2) retracing the creative choices made by the author of the work (and thus, as it were, partaking of his/her creative process), 3) responding creatively, in various ways, to the work (mentioning some familiar and not-so-familiar techniques: rewriting from a different point of view, filling in gaps, quarrelling etc.).

Whereas Frank Tazelaar and Risto Ahti will deal with the “inside” (the teacher’s and students motives for writing, their internal poetics, and the creative self), this class will concentrate on how something coming from the “outside” can give you inspiration and shape your writing.

Workshop 3: How to protect, strengthen and empower self-expression

By Risto Ahti (Oriveden Opisto / Finland) / Thursday, 9th

The circle of creativity leads to difficulties – it is a dilemma: there are so few people that will be ready to really understand and love the creative self. In Finnish, we have a word for the “I”, which literally means nothing else but a constantly changing answer to the question “what”. When we speak about the “I”, we keep all the time changing our view and keep asking “what am I, I am what” of ourselves. I think that is one of the most ingenious features of our language.

I think that the English word “myself” is a total misunderstanding. The self can never be controlled by the conscious “I”. All those that call themselves “I” will write only such text that their role and game demands to the extend that they have no contact to any creative force. Hence, self-expression here will be eclipsed by the “I”. Reading such text alienates the reader and she will be rewarded only with the knowledge of a role well played.

Instead, there are some “I’s” (guardians and protectors) that are allowed to serve the creative self. There are only few of those that can really speak for the inner wisdom that the self possesses. An artist is aware of that.

This course aims to deepen into the vision of the creative self through theoretical and practical aspects regarding the ‘new’ and vivid usage of words and language. Understanding the difference between the dead words and the living words in order to develop a greater understanding of human, a greater freedom and truth concerning real self-expression.

About the tutors


Frank Tazelaar (1968) is a Dutch publisher, writer and director of independent literary production house Wintertuin in het Netherlands; he is also the head of the creating writing department at ArtEZ university of the Arts Arnhem, Netherlands. Frank is founder and artistic director of the CELA project, which stands for Connecting Emerging Literary Artist, a large scale EU funded project aiming to create an international context for emerging writers, translators and literary professionals. He is also the EACWP vice-president





Daniel Soukup (1976) is a Czech translator, poet, non-fiction author, and literary scholar. Between 2002 and 2014, he taught at the Literary Academy (Prague). Since 2014, he has worked at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University (Prague), currently as the Vice-Dean for Admissions and External Relations. He was a co-founder of the European Network of Creative Writing Programmes, the predecessor of EACWP, and served as its first coordinator (2005–2010).



Risto Ahti (1943) is a Finnish poet and essayist. He has worked as a teacher at the Orivesi College of Arts (Oriveden Opisto) and has held different workshops all around Finland for more than 40 years. Risto has published above 50 different books and has been aknowledged for his literary careeer with a series of prizes such as the Eino Leino Prize (1994), Runeberg Prize (2002) and Pro Finlandia Medal (2003). Within the EACWP, he is known as our “Jedi master.”