Friday, September 21, 2012

Betty Azar and Angus Wilson

 Betty Azar photo from ESL mini-conference 2002

The life of one who takes up the pen or computer to earn a living producing words is full of uncertainty. It was only when the great novelist Angus Wilson left his day job as a cataloger in the British Museum that he was able to turn to full-time fiction writing.

Literary giant though Sir Angus Wilson was (he was knighted for his literary work), his pocketbook did not reflect that status. Indeed, it was due to financial pressures that he began later in life to teach the craft of fiction. Yet that worked out very well, both at the then still-new University of East Anglia, where he and Malcolm Bradbury established the pioneering Creative Writing Program in 1970, and at the University of Iowa, home of the Writers' Workshop.

On the other hand, whether she intended to or not, great American grammarian Betty Schrampfer Azar has demonstrated that practicality pays. Azar kept to her teaching work while she produced several paper and cd editions of Understanding and Using English Grammar and other ESL-friendly texts. The other day somebody told me she owns an island.

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