Student Stories

Christine Hepperman

Launching a Career: Christine Heppermann MFAC '10

Christine Heppermann had been a book reviewer of children’s and young adult literature for such publications as the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Hungry Mind Review, and The Horn Book Magazine for years and always planned on writing her own children’s book, but the demands of her career as a reviewer prevented her carving out the necessary time to really develop her craft.

When she learned of Hamline’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults (MFAC), Heppermann MFAC ’10 attended an information session and, after meeting with the faculty and staff, knew the program was just what she needed. 

“It set up my career by leaps and bounds,” she said of the MFAC program. “Not only would I have not devoted the concentrated time to my writing without it, it focused me and exposed me to faculty advisors who gave me permission to pursue avenues I wouldn’t have otherwise considered.”

Heppermann entered the program thinking she would only write nonfiction. She was first paired with faculty member Claire Rudolph Murphy and began working on her nonfiction book, City Chickens, about Chicken Run Rescue in Minneapolis, an organization that fosters homeless birds. City Chickens was published right after she graduated. 

Hamline, though, pairs students with a variety of faculty mentors while in the program. Heppermann later worked with award-winning author Jane Resh Thomas. She said of Resh Thomas, “Jane is known for nudging people to get out of their comfort zone and to try new things. She gave me permission to explore poetry and that was what really launched my career.”  

Heppermann published Poisoned Apples, a collection of fifty poems that challenges the ideals of fairy tales by putting them alongside the life of the modern teenage girl. E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars and MFAC faculty member, calls it "a bloody poetic attack on the beauty myth that's caustic, funny, and heartbreaking." The book has also received rave reviews in Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, The Horn Book, Booklist, and Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

During her time at Hamline, Heppermann formed many relationships with students and faculty in the program. “All of my best friends are people I met in the program,” she said.  She also continues to work professionally with many of them.

Heppermann joins MFAC faculty members Anne Ursu and Laura Ruby each year at the Highlights Foundation. She has also formed a close friendship and creative collaboration with MFAC faculty member, Ron Koertge. Koertge, who was also one of Heppermann’s advisors, and Heppermann have their first book Backyard Witch coming out in July of 2015. Backyard Witch is the first in a three-part series starring three young girls and a mysterious visitor.

Hamline’s program isn’t like any other, Heppermann effusively remarked. “They take care of the whole person. You really feel part of something special. The faculty are such gifted teachers and always accessible. It is the most nurturing place to be as a writer. It’s no wonder so many students tell me that the program completely changed their lives."

“And Hamline’s graduates are getting published left and right,” she said. For anyone considering whether or not to pursue their MFAC with Hamline, Heppermann declared, “Do it! Take the leap, you won’t regret it. I am where I am today because of it.”

Find out more about Hamline’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program on its Creative Writing Programs website or contact Hamline's Graduate Admission Office to learn more about joining the Hamline community.