• Profile: Andrew Cochran

    Profile: Andrew Cochran
     

    With a master’s degree in creative writing already under his belt, Andrew Cochran knew exactly what he was looking for when he enrolled in Hamline’s Master of Fine Arts in writing for children and young adults program. He sought an intensive experience that would allow him to hone his craft and further his writing, and Hamline’s distance-learning program fit the bill. “It’s worked out beautifully,” he says.

    The program’s distance-learning model allows Andrew to remain in his home community -- first Florida, now Wisconsin -- and come to Saint Paul once a semester for a ten-to-twelve-day intensive residency. “This distance-learning model is wonderful for creative writing. So much of a writer’s work is done at home in front of the computer,” he explains. Yet the program also fosters deep connections. “I get one-on-one attention from a mentor, a published author who for four months reads my work closely and challenges me to master my craft,” he says.

    In fact, for Andrew one of the program’s strongest assets is the feeling of community it has fostered. “I’m part of a community of writers now,” he explains. “It’s easy to feel, when you’re at home writing alone, that you’re in a vacuum, but this program has given me a supportive community of people doing the same thing. That alone has been very encouraging.”

    The sense of community Andrew describes stems in part from the intensive residencies, which provide opportunities for writing workshops, lectures, and readings from faculty and students alike. While the days of a residency are long and intense, Andrew finds the experience enriching. “The residency provides time to sit and analyze writing, to think about writing,” he explains. “It’s wonderful to have ten days when we just talk about writing.” During the course of a semester, Andrew reports ongoing contact between students and faculty alike through channels like Facebook and email.

    Andrew is currently at work revising a young-adult novel focusing on themes of independence. “I’m learning a lot about craft,” he reports. “What’s great about this program is the intensity and the rigor. As a writer, I’m years ahead of where I would have been on my own.”