2014 Children’s Literature Fellows Program Now Accepting Applications

The new Children’s Literature Fellows, a one-year certificate program launched last year by Stony Brook Southampton’s MFA in Creative Writing and Literature, is now accepting applications for 2014.
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 and MFA in Creative Writing Director Julie Sheehan to offer children’s book writers 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.  Fellows work independently with the accomplished writers who make up Stony Brook Southampton’s outstanding faculty in a highly individualized curriculum that can be accomplished from home, and, twice a year, come together as a cohort: once in July during the Summer Conference and a second time in January for a special Publishing and Editing Conference during which they have the chance to 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, a series concept with one completed manuscript or, alternately, three separate manuscripts.
“There are very few programs like this out there for aspiring children’s literature authors,” Walton Hamilton said.  “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.”
She added 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 very closed to writers not represented by agents. The Editing and Publishing Conference is therefore key, and timed to segue into the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ (SCBWI) Winter Conference in New York City, for those who wish to attend.
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 is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself,” says middle grade novelist Janas Byrd.  “It is a one-on-one mentorship with awarding winning authors who are also brilliant teachers.   As a middle school teacher and mother of two, time is a hot commodity.  This fellowship allows me the flexibility to write when it is most convenient for me. I will finish and polish 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; only twelve applicants are selected each year. The application deadline for 2014 is December 1, 2013.
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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