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A new face at a major creative-writing program

Following the recent death of Frank Conroy, novelist Lan Samantha Chang is taking over as the director of the venerated Iowa Writers’ Workshop. The New York Times looks at Chang’s plans going into the job and her views on what makes writing classes successful. “I don’t think they should advocate one aesthetic over another,” she says. “I don’t believe in singling out particular people or destroying them in public, though I make my opinions known.” Novelist Marilynne Robinson, who was on the hiring committee, tells the Times that Chang beat out Jim Shepard, Ben Marcus, and Richard Bausch for the job. “We felt we couldn’t go wrong choosing any of the candidates,” says Robinson, who then seems to suggest that one plus for Chang’s case was that “her career [as a novelist] is on the upswing.” Ouch.

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Click here for the New York Times story