Jan Godown "JG" Annino, M.F.A. '12, Tallahassee, Fla.
"Hollins in the summer is a vibrating green expanse of creative energy. In breaks from intense bouts of writing I could swim, walk with new student pals through a meadow at night to see the stars and look for swallows, goldfinches and bunnies along the path by day. The magical library should charge admission; it's a keen place to read and research and learn from other students while rocking on the porch. The key thing is, I am in love with all my professors’ zest for teaching. Wizardlike, they know how to marry consistent nurturing with high expectations based on your skill set. They made the difference in my writing for young readers. Thank you, Children's Lit at Hollins."
Florida Book Awards gold medal winner in children's literature for She Sang Promise: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper
Matthew Prickett, M.A. '10, Farmville, Va.
His essay "Don't Drink the Water: Colonialism and Pete Hautman's Godless" appeared in the online journal of children's literature, The Looking Glass (vol. 12., no. 1: January 2008), and he has two essays forthcoming in anthologies: "'I'm a fairy, too!': Queer Identity in Francesca Lia Block's I Was a Teenage Fairy" in Queering the Fantastic, edited by Robin Anne Reid and Jes Battis; and "Savage Sexuality: Construction of Male Victims in Contemporary YA Literature" in an as yet untitled volume edited by Annette Wannamaker.
Valerie Patterson, M.F.A. '08, Leesburg, Va.
Her teen novel The Other Side of Blue was published by Clarion in Fall '09.
Heath Gibson, M.F.A. '09, Atlanta, Ga.
I chose Hollins because I wanted to be a part of a program that took the study and writing of children’s literature as seriously as I do. I wanted a graduate program that would stretch me further than I was capable or willing to stretch myself. And I have not been disappointed. The environment is perfect challenging, supportive, creative. Hollins’ children’s literature program has allowed me to grow creatively, academically, and professionally. Unfortunately, there are some great things about Hollins that can’t be put into words. They have to be experienced. I am just glad I have been one of lucky ones to attend. But I know my time at Hollins will allow me to be a lifelong creator of children’s literature and advocate for the genre."
Hillary Homzie, M.A. '98, Napa, Calif.
Author of Things Are Gonna Get Ugly and The Hot List
"Hollins is where I was given the freedom to read, write and call myself a writer. Its where I've found some of my best friends — writers and scholars who support me in my career and inspire me to always reach higher.
"My professors at Hollins engaged me completely. It wasnt all about I'm a brilliant professor hear me roar; it was what do you think? And they honestly seemed to want to know — which made me want to know.
"For me Hollins was a sanctuary, where I could experiment with words and ideas in a non-competitive, nurturing environment.
"With small class sizes, and an outrageously supportive faculty, I felt as if I had discovered my own personal Oz. Hollins is real and magical because the faculty and students make it so."
Amie Rose Rotruck, M.A. '05, M.F.A. '09, Mount Airy, Md.
"I completed the M.A. in Children's Literature in 2005, with a middle-grade fantasy novel as my thesis. I enjoyed my studies at Hollins so much that I decided to continue my studies in the M.F.A. program. I have tried to take full advantage of everything Hollins has to offer, from two study-abroad trips in the UK to participating in the Francelia Butler Conference each year.
"I came to Hollins to perfect my fiction writing craft and found that, in addition to writing for children, I also really enjoy children's literature scholarship and storytelling. Hollins is so much more than classes about children's literature. It is a truly unique opportunity to spend six weeks with some of the best scholars and writers in the field; some of whom are professors, others are fellow students. I will be very sad when my time at Hollins ends, but plan to use what I learned there to contribute to the world of children's literature as both a fiction writer and scholar."
Rotruck is the former chair of the Children's and Young Adult Division of the annual International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts.
PHOTO: Amie Rose Rotruck (with puppet she made). She won the Shirley Henn Award for Critical Scholarship at the Francelia Butler Conference. She is the author of A Young Wizard's Handbook.