Welcome to The Storyteller’s Inkpot

We are the faculty, alums, and students of The MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults Program (MFAC) program, from The Creative Writing Programs at Hamline University.

Our program is one of only a few in the country that focuses exclusively on writing for children and young adults and earns you a master of fine arts degree in just two years. We offer breadth and depth in multiple writing categories—picture book, early reader, middle-grade and young-adult fiction, poetry, nonfiction, graphic novel, and comics. You will be immersed in the process and craft of writing and supported by a community of accomplished authors, mentors, and colleagues. And you will graduate prepared to navigate the literary marketplace.

Meet the Bloggers:

The Inkpot is a community blog, with posts coming most from MFAC faculty and alumni, and sometimes, students, program staff, and other MFAC community members (retired faculty).

Our current faculty bloggers include:

Swati Avasthi is the author of the novel, Split (Random House/Knopf, 2010), winner of a Cyblis Young Adult Fiction Award, a Parents' Choice 2010 Silver Award, a New Voices 2010 pick by the Assn of Booksellers for Children, and an ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults pick. Her second novel, Chasing Shadows, also by Random House/Knopf, was published in September of 2013 and received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly, and more.

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Marsha Wilson Chall is the author of a chapter book for children and many picture books, including Up North at the Cabin, an American Booksellers Pick of the Lists and winner of an International Reading Association Teacher’s Choice Award; Bonaparte, a Smithsonian Notable Book for Children and winner of a Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award; and One Pup’s Up, a Bank Street College of Education Best Books, and winner of a National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) Gold Award. 

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Emily Jenkins, a.k.a. e. lockhart, is an award-winning author of picture books and novels for young adults. She has published over fourteen picture books. As e. lockhart, she has published six novels, including Genuine Fraud (2017), We Were Liars (2014) and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, winner of a 2009 Printz Honor Award, finalist for a National Book Award, and selected as a New York Times Notable Children's Book

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Ron Koertge is the author of more than a dozen books, most of them novels for young adults. These include Margaux With An X, Stoner & Spaz, and The Brimstone Journals as well as Shakespeare Bats Clean-Up and the sequel Shakespeare Makes the Play-OffsStrays was awarded the Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year and chosen as a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association.

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Jackie Briggs Martin is the author of eighteen picture books for children. She is best known for Snowflake Bentley, which received a Caldecott medal.The Chiru of High Tibet was named to Smithsonian Magazine's and Kirkus Review's "Best Book of 2010" lists and selected for the 2011 list of "Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12" by the National Science Teachers Assoc and the Children's Book Council. Her most recent are picture book biographies: Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix, Creekfinding: A True Story.

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Claire Rudolf Murphy is the author of seventeen books of fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults, including Children of Alcatraz: Growing Up on the Rock; Daughters of the Desert: Remarkable Women of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim TraditionsMarching With Aunt Susan:Susan B. Anthony and the Fight for Women’s Suffrage; and her latest, My Country Tis of Thee: Song of Patriotism, Song of Protest.

Claire's 17th book, Martin and Bobby: A Journey to Justice will be published in September of 2018 during the fiftieth year commemoration of King and Robert Kennedy's tragic deaths in 1968. Recent events have renewed her passion for political activism and preparing her presentation on theme helped her deepen her theme in this upcoming book and other current projects.

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Sherri L. Smith is the author of several award-winning young adult novels, including the 2009 California Book Awards Gold Medalist, Flygirl, the “cli-fi” adventure, Orleans and the middle grade historical fantasy, The Toymaker’s Apprentice. Her books appear on multiple state lists and have been named Amelia Bloomer and American Library Association Best Books for Young People selections. Sherri has worked in comic books, animation, construction, and most recently, a monster factory.

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Phyllis Root is the author of over forty books, almost all of them picture books, both fiction and non-fiction. Her middle grade novel, Lilly and the Pirates, is currently under contract. Aunt Nancy and Old Man Trouble won the Minnesota Book Award, and Big Momma Makes the World won the Boston Globe Horn Book Award. Root was awarded a 2006 McKnight Fellowship for her book, Lucia and the Light

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Laura Ruby writes fantasy, mystery, and contemporary realistic fiction for young readers. Her YA novel, Bone Gap, wone the 2016 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in YA Literature, was a finalist for a 2015 National Book Award and has received four starred reviews, an ALA BFYA nomination, and raves in the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. Other novels for teens and tweens include Bad Apple (2009), Lily's Ghosts (2003), and The Wall and the Wing (2006), and York: The Shadow Cipher (2017). 

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Eliot Schrefer, The Storyteller's Inkpot

Eliot Schrefer is a New York Times-bestselling author, and has twice been a finalist for the National Book Award. In naming him an Editor’s Choice, the New York Times has called his work “dazzling… big-hearted.” He is also the author of two novels for adults and four other novels for children and young adults. His books have been named to the NPR “best of the year” list, the ALA best fiction list for young adults, and the Chicago Public Library’s “Best of the Best.” His work has also been selected to the Amelia Bloomer List, recognizing best feminist books for young readers, and he has been a finalist for the Walden Award and won the Green Earth Book Award and Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award. He lives in New York City, and is the children's book reviewer for USAToday.

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Anne Ursu is the author of five middle grade fantasies as well as two novels for adults. Her most recent book, The Real Boy, won the Horace Mann Upstanders Award and was on the longlist for the 2013 National Book Award. Breadcrumbs was named one of the best books of 2011 by Publishers Weekly, Amazon.com, School Library Journal, Bulletin for Center of Children's Books, and the Chicago Public Library.

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