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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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first people he consulted about it. I was again rather dubious; but, when I heard what their idea was, I was much more enthusiastic because they proposed to try not only to coach writers of fiction, but--I think much more important for the actual contribution that they are making--to teach professors how to write straight English and teach businessmen, lawyers, and scientists how to write straight English. I think that they've had a great success teaching people who were doing theses on scientific subjects to at least make them intelligible. Most of these people would write a kind of a jargon that no layman could understand so the school is making a genuine contribution by teaching them how to write decent, straight, intelligible reports. The part concerning fiction writers--this you can argue about for hours. I have always said, and I tell everybody who asks me about this school, that you cannot create a writer. A writer is born, but you can polish him. It's like a diamond polisher. You can't create a genuine diamond, but the polisher can take a rough diamond, as you know, and make it into a magnificent, glittery object. By the same token, if an author's got the native talent, a system of rules and regulations and advice and suggestions can bring out the best in him. This the Famous Writers School actually does.

When it was started and they got a very distinguished faculty together, my contribution was to spend several days with Gordon Carroll, who was the head of the school, talking about the actual mechanics of book publishing. One of the





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