In a recent article published in The New Yorker titled, ominously, “The End of the English Major,” the author points out that “[d]uring the past decade, the study of English and history at the collegiate level has fallen by a full third. Humanities enrollment in the United States has declined over all by seventeen per cent.” Troubling statistics, indeed. There are many forces at work behind the decline, not all of them clear cut. But one question that Nathan and I found ourselves asking after reading the piece was whether studying things like English Lit and having the goal of becoming a writer were still reasonable choices in a world that is shifting its focus more and more toward STEM.
Nathan and I both studied English Lit, Nathan as a minor and I as a major. We both found value in our studies and developed writing and editing careers in the years after university. But that process hadn’t been smooth, and we had to admit that there were uncomfortable questions we had to face: Were the humanities still valuable, and if they were, then why? Was writing really a safe career choice with the new advancements in AI tech? Is the promise of the writing career actually a myth? And, if people, young or old, decided to try their hand at a career in the literary field, what could they reasonably expect to find?
We did our best to tackle those questions and explore what becoming a writer means in 2023 in this podcast.
Listen to the full conversation here: