David Lodge is by far the best of those academics who explore the practice of creative writing and write creatively themselves. His earlier collection of essays, The Art of Fiction, is an essential primer for would-be creative writers. The Practice of Writing is a deeper and more academic collection, but entirely accessible and free from the jargon of literary theory (which has yet to contribute anything to the study of practice). The book is in two parts, the first concerned with analysis of novelists' techniques. Graham Greene, Henry Green, D H Lawrence, James Joyce and Vladimir Nabokov are among the subjects. The second part of the book is entitled 'Mixed Media', and concerns adaptation, screenplays and stage plays. The last item is a diary of the process involved in producing Lodge's play The Writing Game - and is an excellent record of the practical and artistic issues (and their effects on the text) that have to be overcome before a play can be seen. I have used both these books in creative writing courses for some time, and find them endlessly useful and inspiring.