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Press Release Fun: A 2016 Children’s Literature Fellow Program Accepts New Applications

MFA in Creative Writing and Literature

CONTACT: Emma Walton Hamilton
Stony Brook Southampton                                   emma.waltonhamilton@stonybrook.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

2016 Children’s Literature Fellows Program
Now Accepting Applications from Aspiring Children’s Authors Worldwide

August, 2015. Southampton, NY. The Children’s Literature Fellows, a one-year graduate level certificate program sponsored by Stony Brook Southampton’s MFA in Creative Writing and Literature, is now accepting applications for 2016.

The year-long course of instruction—accomplished mostly in distance learning format—was developed by author and Children’s Literature Conference Director Emma Walton Hamilton, MFA in Creative Writing Director Julie Sheehan and YA author/faculty member Patricia McCormick to offer aspiring children’s and young adult authors a more affordable and flexible option than matriculation in a two- or three-year MFA program.

Because not all writers who want to complete projects have the time or the funds to complete a full degree program, the Children’s Literature Fellows do their work within a framework tailored to their needs. The program bears 16 graduate level credits, and is customized, affordable, comprehensive, and professionally useful. Twelve Fellows are accepted into the program per year. The Fellows work independently with award-winning, best-selling authors who serve as faculty mentors—such as Christopher Barton, Samantha Berger, Rachel Cohn, Donna Freitas, Cindy Kane, Megan McCafferty, Patricia McCormick, Margaret McMullan, Trica Rayburn, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Tor Seidler, Amy Sklansky, Emma Walton Hamilton, Ann Whitford Paul and Maryrose Wood—in a highly individualized curriculum that is primarily accomplished from home.

Twice a year, the Fellows come together as a cohort: once in July during the annual Southampton Arts Writers Conference and a second time in January for a special Publishing and Editing Conference, during which they study with visiting faculty such as Libba Bray, Peter Lerangis, Grace Lin and Dan Yaccarino – and meet with editors, agents and other members of the publishing industry.

During their year, each Fellow completes either one publishable YA or middle grade manuscript, or, for chapter and picture book writers, three to four separate manuscripts.

“There are very few programs like this out there for aspiring children’s literature authors,” says Walton Hamilton. “But children’s literature and YA are among the strongest and fastest growing sectors of the publishing industry right now, so this is valuable for writers on a number of levels. And thanks to the program’s distance learning format, aspiring authors from all over the world are able to take advantage of what it offers. We have participants in California, Arizona, Texas, Philadelphia, Florida—even Australia.”

She adds that the few places where graduate level programs like this are offered tend to be remote, while Stony Brook Southampton, with its satellite campus in Manhattan, is near to the heart of the publishing industry in New York City, and therefore offers more opportunities than most. In addition, the publishing industry tends to be closed to writers not represented by agents. The Editing and Publishing Conference and the access it provides are a key part of the program.

Picture book author Julie Gribble, a 2013 Children’s Lit Fellow, says, “Being a Children’s Lit Fellow is like having a guided tour of a city you’d always wanted to explore—you learn so much more than you could traveling about on your own!”

“The Children’s Literature Fellowship was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself,” says Florida-based middle grade novelist Janas Byrd. “It is a one-on-one mentorship with award winning authors who are also brilliant teachers.   As a middle school teacher and mother of two, time is a hot commodity. This fellowship allowed me the flexibility to write when it was most convenient for me. I finished and polished my novel in nine months, a feat that would not have been possible to accomplish on my own.”

Admission to the Children’s Lit Fellows program is highly selective, and the application process is now open and underway. The application deadline for 2016 is December 1, 2015.

For more information about the Stony Brook Southampton Children’s Literature Fellows program and the application process, go to http://childrenslitfellows.org or visit http://www.stonybrook.edu/mfa and click on Children’s Lit Fellows.

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About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.