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Manuscript Mentoring: The Children’s Lit Fellows Program

Emma Walton Hamilton / Blog  / Manuscript Mentoring: The Children’s Lit Fellows Program
Manuscript Mentoring: The Children’s Lit Fellows Program

Manuscript Mentoring: The Children’s Lit Fellows Program

“What I need is someone who will make me do what I can.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Would you like to finish a middle grade or YA novel, or complete four picture books by the end of next year, and start submitting to agents and editors?  What if you could be mentored by award-winning children’s book authors who would give you the structure, support and accountability to succeed?

The Children’s Literature Fellows, a one-year certificate program launched last year by Stony Brook Southampton’s esteemed MFA in Creative Writing and Literature and proudly directed by yours truly, is now accepting applications for 2014.  Admission to the program is highly selective; only twelve applicants are selected each year – and the application deadline for 2014 is December 1, so you’ll need to act fast if you’re interested.

My colleagues and I developed this year-long course of instruction – accomplished mostly from home in distance learning format – to offer children’s book writers a more affordable and flexible option than 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 gifted writers who make up Stony Brook Southampton’s outstanding faculty – including Patricia McCormick, Maryrose Wood, Jules Feiffer, Kate and Jim McMullan, Tor Seidler, Cindy Kane, Rachel Cohen, and yours truly, among others – in a highly individualized curriculum.  Twice a year, they 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.

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.”

For more information about the Stony Brook Southampton Children’s Literature Fellows program and the application process, go to or visit and click on Children’s Lit Fellows. 

But do it quickly! December 1 is just two weeks away!

Emma Walton Hamilton
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