Can you teach writing? Americans think you can. In the UK, we are a bit more skeptical. I’m agnostic on the teaching-of-writing question. I have no doubt that there are some great creative-writing professors, just as there are also plenty of charlatans and timewasters. I certainly do believe that you can show would-be writers examples of good prose, as an inspiration. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that one way to limber up for one’s own writing is to read, at random, from other books…just enough to be reminded about the magic potential of original prose.