Updated: Dec 29, 2019
If you are like me and want to write books for children and young adults, the MFAC at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, is one of two programs in the country that will help you achieve that. The model is pretty astounding:
You spend eleven glorious days in the summer and winter hanging out with literary geniuses who have written all kinds of books with gold and silver medals on the covers: Printz and Newbery Winners, Caldecotts and Coretta Scott King and Belpres and Globes and National Book Awards. There are those who have sold rights to movie producers.
These summer and winter residencies prep us for the subsequent fall and spring semesters where we are paired with said literary geniuses (a few of whom Netflix has on speed dial) and they are singularly focused on your work for four mind-blowing months.
You heard me... your work.
Picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, graphic novels, verse novels, poetry... fiction and non. Whatever you are inclined to write, you can pretty well find it here.
Since I'm a teacher, I only attend the summer residencies in St. Paul and work with my own personal literary genius online in the fall. This means that, for me, it will take four years instead of two. I do get insanely jealous in January when my fellow Pipers get to be together, but since there is no way I can get eleven days off in January, I make the best of it. In fact, I've come to appreciate this as the gift that it is:
~ I use the spring semesters to read and annotate twenty of the forty books required each semester. These include everything from novels to picture books.
~ I chip away at my tuition throughout the year. This saves me a monumental amount of money in interest.
~ I take the time off to continue working on the manuscripts I've started with my advisers. I will come out of this program with several projects in various stages of completion.
~ I can breathe. The pace and rigor of this program is no joke. It's graduate school, after all. In my off-semesters, I can take my time and contemplate the work I want to do, experiment with different genres, and find the right literary agent. I am not rushed. I can make the most of this experience.
~ I have time to keep up with Nina LaCour's podcast "Keeping a Notebook" which is such a gift to aspiring writers like us. Also, Meg Medina has a wonderful blog where she shares travel tips as well as advice about writing and speaking. She won a Newbery for Merci Suarez Changes Gears my first semester, and I was so thrilled to have her as my adviser. It was all so exciting!
If you are even remotely interested in taking your writing career to the next level, definitely check it out. You can always contact me through this website, and I would be happy to answer any questions you have--especially if you are a teacher like me and can only do the summer residencies and fall semesters. I am always happy to recruit fellow Pipers!
Good luck with all your writing endeavors!
Daisy’s first book, Juxtaposed: A Comedic, Spiritual Memoir, was the top-selling book in 2012 for Christopher Matthews Publishing. She went on to write two more books which she self-published, Hope Givers: Hope Is Here (2016) and Monsters Under the Bed: Practical Steps for Keeping Our Children Safe from Sexual Predators (2018).
Daisy is in the process of earning a Master of Fine Arts in writing for children and young adults at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is working on her debut novel, Every Good Day, a middle grade novel, and a number of picture books.
In the summers, you can find Daisy in her gardens with her husband. You might also catch her in her office writing underneath a real chandelier. As often as she can, though, she loves spending time with her grandbaby. (He was born on her birthday, you know. She’s been impossible to live with ever since.)
If you would like to invite Daisy to speak at a writing conference or Skype in with your writing group, please contact her through this website.