Hamline News

June 04, 2012

Publishing Success

mfac success main

Hamline’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults (MFAC) is one of only two programs in the nation that focuses exclusively on crafting stories for younger readers. Faculty members are all award-winning, respected authors in the field of literature for young people, and their students are already establishing themselves as up-and-coming authors themselves.

Alumna Naomi Kinsman came to the program with dreams of publishing one day. Now, less that a year after graduation, her four-book series of realistic fiction for middle grade girls, From Sadie’s Sketchbook, is complete, with the final book to be released in August.

“The process of writing, editing and publishing these four books has been a whirlwind over the past two years,” Kinsman said. “Hamline built my work ethic and helped me build the stamina I needed to keep writing, to meet deadlines, and to trust the journey even when I doubted that I would ever find my way to the end of each book.”

Kinsman says the low-residency program blended well with her writing goals while allowing her to continue to run her company, The Society of Young Inklings. She now plans to return to the creative thesis, a book draft that she nearly finished during her two years in the Hamline MFAC.

“My MFA has been invaluable in my work with young writers, and the degree certainly opens professional doors,” Kinsman said. “Still, I’d say the true value of my learning was that the faculty and other students challenged me to push past my own creative blocks, past my own fears and doubts, and through the process, I learned what it means to be a writer.”

Molly Beth Griffin
, who graduated from the program in 2009, is also a busy author and teacher in her own right. She is currently promoting her newest picture book, Loon Baby, preparing for the publication of her young adult novel, Silhouette of a Sparrow, this fall, and teaching writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.

“I think the most important thing the program taught me was how to be a professional writer,” Griffin said. “I learned how to explore an idea, develop a draft, revise my work, and see a project through to completion. My craft improved dramatically during the program, but so did my relationship to my writing, and I think that is what really helped me transform my writing from a hobby into a career.“

Hamline’s MFAC began only five years ago, but already 75 alumni have published nearly 30 books with many other manuscripts in progress. Learn more about the two-year, low residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young adults on the web and consider applying for the mini-immersion (one 11-day residency on campus and one semester of distance learning). And, watch the video below featuring another talented MFAC alumna, and award winning author, Loretta Ellsworth.