Student Stories

Miriam Busch - 762

Migrating to Writing: Miriam Busch MFAC '14

Transitioning from planning for elephant migrations to a writing career might be challenging, but that’s exactly what Miriam Busch Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults (MFAC) '14 managed to do. 

Busch’s segue into writing for children wasn’t too much of a stretch—her first published book was nonfiction, an early reader about storms that National Geographic contracted her to write—but she never thought she’d end up going back to school to study the art of writing children’s books. 

It wasn’t until she attended a Highlights Foundation writing workshop and met Hamline professors Anne Ursu and Laura Ruby, as well as alum Christine Heppermann, that Busch really began to consider the merits of attending a writing program.

For the Highlights workshop, Busch sent a draft of a middle-grade novel manuscript. Anne Ursu read the draft and sent back an eight-page, single-spaced response.

“To have someone give such extensive feedback was remarkable,” Busch said. “This was absolute confirmation that someone took me seriously as a writer. It’s crucial to believe in ourselves; sometimes we need someone else to believe in us first.” 

“You can learn about how to write through all sort of means, right?” Busch said. “There’s all sort of information out there on the Internet, books about how to write, classes you can take, little bits and pieces here and there; I figured I could probably do that. But -- and granted, I don’t have any scientific way to measure this -- it might take me maybe two decades to get what I would get at Hamline in four semesters.” 

The Highlights workshop was in May. In July, Busch attended the Hamline open house, and by January she had begun her cohort. 

“To have somebody say, yes, you have something to say, and it needs to be out there in the world, and we’re going to help you shape it and find your voice and hone your craft—how do you say no to that? That’s magic.” 

“Whether that piecemeal approach is measurable or not, what I never would have gotten from following that path is this Hamline community. Faculty, students, and alumni: everyone is so extraordinarily generous with time and knowledge and information. It’s remarkable, and remarkably helpful.”

Although she had previously written and published a nonfiction children’s book, Busch ended up writing in a whole spectrum of different genres during her time at Hamline.

“In this program, we’re asked to try everything.” Busch said. “And story is story no matter what the genre. So everything you learn, even if you think that you’re not going to write in that genre, informs your other work.”

Which has come in handy for Busch, as she has published one picture book, Lion, Lion (Balzer + Bray, 2014), has another picture book (Raisin, the Littlest Cow) coming out in 2017, and is working on manuscripts for a nonfiction graphic novel and two middle-grade fantasies.

Hamline’s MFAC helped Busch transition into her writing career by not only introducing her to new genres, but by morphing the lens with which she saw herself.

“I’m an accidental picture book writer. What they teach you in this program is how to be a writer, including the discovery and development your own writing practice,” Busch said. “There’s that oft-mentioned technical aspect of figuring out how to get yourself into that chair and write -- even on days you don’t think you have anything to say.”

And now that Busch has found her place in the world of professional writing, she’s hooked.

“I’ve had many careers in my life; coming to Hamline and meeting this community is the best thing I’ve ever done.”

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