On Sunday, July 15, 2018, Hamline’s Creative Writing Programs will host a Graduate Recognition ceremony to honor all the students who have completed their studies and will be receiving an MFA from Hamline University. 

We will be featuring our soon-to-be alumni as they look back on their time at Hamline University. Today’s new graduate is Johnathan Van Gieson. He lives in Brooklyn and Upstate NY.

What do you do when you’re not working on packets?

Discovering the joys(?) of homeownership, reading, performing. 

How did you hear about the Hamline MFAC Program?

I went to undergrad with Anne Ursu. 

What was your writing experience prior to entering the program?

Wrote dozens of scripts produced Off-Off and Off Broadway, co-wrote two gift books, wrote a murder mystery published by Hard Case Crime.  

What do you especially remember about your first residency?

Elation! Exhaustion! Inspiration! 

Have you focused on any one form (PB, novel, nonfiction, graphic novel) or age group in your writing? Tried a form you never thought you’d try?

I did the “buffet” version of Hamline, trying something different my first three semesters. First semester: middle grade portal fantasy; second: picture books; third: MG Sci-Fi Graphic Novel. 

Tell us about your Creative Thesis.

Middle Grade magical realism set in my home town of NYC. Starring Miranda and Dash. And a Golden Subway. And a prophetic sea lion. And a polar bear.

What changes have you seen in your writing during your studies?


Any thoughts for entering students or for people considering the program?

Try everything you want to try. Try things you don’t want to try. Surprise yourself, and give yourself a break.