Hamline News

Professor O’Connor Gets State Arts Board Grant

Sheila O’Connor, a professor in Hamline’s Creative Writing Program, recently received a 2019 Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant.

In part, the $10,000 award will allow her to share her forthcoming novel with residents across the state. As yet untitled, O’Connor’s hybrid novel combines fiction, fact and historical documents to tell the story of a fifteen-year-old girl incarcerated in 1935 for immorality.

“With the generous support of the State Arts Board, I will travel throughout Minnesota presenting to groups and organizations on the book, my own research, and the story of these girls who were silenced,” said O’Connor.

O’Connor previously received a similar grant from the same agency in 2016 to write the novel. The book is based on the historical practice of imprisoning girls for perceived moral transgressions.

“Given the concerns of our time, both in terms of prison reform and the ongoing abuse of girls and women, this little-known history is pressingly relevant today,” said O’Connor. “I am incredibly grateful to the Minnesota State Arts Board for making this work possible, and for believing this history deserves to be both told and shared,”

This year also saw the publication of Until Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth, O’Connor’s young adult novel structured around letters between an 11-year old girl and an elderly pacifist during the Vietnam War.

Sheila O’Connor is an award-winning author and educator. She is a Professor in the Creative Writing Programs at Hamline University where she serves as Fiction Editor for Water~Stone Review.


Written by staff.