Lisa Jahn Clough Faculty Profile

Lisa Jahn-Clough

Graduate Adjunct

Lisa Jahn-Clough is the author and illustrator of picture books and the author of young adult novels, a series of early-reader comic books, and young chapter books. Her first book Alicia Has a Bad Day was published in 1994 and is still in print! Her most recent publication is The Kids Of Cattywampus Street, a collection of surreal stories for early chapter book readers. It is an Amazon Editor’s pick and has been hailed as “so extraordinary it will make you lose your mind” by Lemony Snicket.

Lisa’s work has won awards from Child Magazine, Parent's Choice, Bank Street, Raising Readers, Entertainment Weekly, and YALSA.  She earned a BA from Hampshire College and an MFA from Emerson College and has been writing, illustrating, and teaching for the last twenty-five years. She is a tenured professor at Rowan University in southern New Jersey and every summer heads to an island in Maine where she runs a small art gallery and a low-key gift and card publishing company.

Visit Lisa's website

Q&A with Lisa Jahn-Clough

How did you come to teach at Hamline MFAC?
I’ve been in the field for over 25 years and have been teaching for just as long. I was familiar with the low-residency program having taught at one before and really loved that way of working with students. I knew several of the faculty who started at Hamline in the first residency and soon after, when there was an opening, I applied and began that second residency, summer 2008. After a few years, I had to take some time off for other things, but I returned to Hamline in 2017 because I missed it so.
What’s your favorite part of residency?
What I love about residency is the delightful and complex, often profound, jumble of creative ideas that bounce around between a group of supportive writers who converge on campus for twelve days with nobody to tell them to stop talking about these creative ideas. In fact, the talking, and even the jumbling, is encouraged. It all makes the mind and the heart swirl around in profound and unexpected ways. What a gift!
How would you describe your faculty advising style?
I ask questions and make suggestions that I believe are relevant to the work. I listen to answers and then ask more questions and make more suggestions based on our conversations. Similar to what happens at residency, we bounce ideas around, but now it is much deeper since it relates to a specific project and the writers’ personal goals. All this leads to new discoveries—and probably new questions—over the course of several months. Oh, and I also ask students to commit to a short monthly assignment to engage in some form of creative activity that is NOT writing in order to help them return to their writing with new understanding or even a new experimental process.
What’s your favorite book to recommend to MFAC students?
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud covers so much about writing, narrative, and creative expression. It is much more than a text about comics and can really expand one’s thoughts about being part of the creative world.
MFAC (MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults) faculty member Lisa Jahn-Clough with alumna (and author) Karuna Riazi
We asked you to send a photo that represents a favorite Hamline memory. What's happening in your photo?
This is a recent photo of MFAC alum Karuna Riazi and myself at Books Of Wonder in Manhattan for the launch of Karuna’s newest middle-grade novel, A Bit of Earth. This is a stunning middle-grade novel of prose and verse that reimagines The Secret Garden. I worked with Karuna in her first semester when she experimented with writing picture books. So many Hamline students are sponges, soaking up information and trying new things, and Karuna was incredibly receptive to everything. We had inspiring conversations and she, like many excellent students, pushed me to teach to her needs the best I can. It is such a delight when I get a chance to meet up with students, current or former, “in the wild” and we continue a lasting rapport. I get to watch that creativity continue.


Young adult

Nothing But Blue
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013
Me, Penelope (illustrated by Natalie Andrewson)
Houghton Mifflin, 2007

Middle grade

The Kids Of Cattywampus Street (Short Stories)
Penguin/Random House/Anne Schwartz Books, 2021 
Country Girl, City Girl
Clarion Books, 2009

Early reader

Petal and Poppy and the Mystery Valentine (illustrated by Ed Briant)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015
Petal and Poppy and the Spooky Halloween (illustrated by Ed Briant)
Clarion Books, 2014
Petal and Poppy and the Penguin (illustrated by Ed Briant)
Clarion Books, 2014
Petal and Poppy (illustrated by Ed Briant)
Clarion Books, 2014

Picture book

Felicity and Cordelia: A Tale of Two Bunnies
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011
Simon and Molly plus Hester
Houghton Mifflin / Walter Lorraine Books, 2009
Little Dog
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt / Walter Lorraine Books, 2006
My Friend and I
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003

On the Hill
Houghton Mifflin / Walter Lorraine Books, 2004

Alicia's Best Friends
Houghton Mifflin / Walter Lorraine Books, 2003
Alicia Has a Bad Day
Houghton Mifflin / Walter Lorraine Books, 2002
Missing Molly
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2000

123 Yippie
Houghton Mifflin / Walter Lorraine Books, 1998
ABC Yummy
Houghton Mifflin / Walter Lorraine Books, 1997