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Hollins University
Coed Graduate Programs

(General Information)
Hollins University
Graduate Center
P.O. Box 9603
Roanoke, VA 24020-1603
(540) 362-6575
Fax (540) 362-6288

Children's Literature Program Director
Amanda Cockrell
(540) 362-6575

Children's Literature


Writer-in-Residence and Guest Lecturers

A distinguished writer or other artist is in residence for part of each term. In Summer 2013 our writer-in-residence will be David Almond. Almond has won the Carnegie Medal, Smarties Award, two Whitbread Awards, and the Hans Christian Anderson Award, given to an author whose complete works are judged to have made lasting contributions to children’s literature. His first novel, Skellig, won the Whitbread Children’s Award and the Carnegie Medal. The Fire-Eaters won the Whitbread, the Smarties Gold Award and was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. My Name is Mina has been shortlisted for the 2011 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. His newest book is The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean.

Lecture Series

Recent lecturers have included such scholars and writers as:

Leonard Marcus, author of Minders of Make-Believe and the Margaret Wise Brown biography Awakened by the Moon.
Diane Muldrow, editorial director of Golden Books at Random House.
Philip Nel, author of The Annotated Cat: Under the Hats of Seuss and His Cats and Dr. Seuss: American Icon.
Maria Nikolajeva, author of The Aesthetic Approach to Children’s Literature; The Rhetoric of Character in Children’s Literature, and From Mythic to Linear: Time in Children’s Literature.
Perry Nodelman, author of Words About Pictures and The Pleasures of Children’s Literature.
Delia Sherman, winner of the Mythopoeic Award for The Porcelain Dove.
  Maria Tatar, author of Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood; The Hard Facts of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales; and Off With Their Heads: Fairy Tales and the Culture of Childhood.
Nancy Willard, poet, novelist and Newbery medal winner for A Visit to William Blake’s Inn.

Francelia Butler Conference

Each year students participate in the Francelia Butler Conference on Children's Literature, named for the founding editor of the journal Children's Literature, now edited at Hollins. The Butler Conference is entirely student-run, presenting the best critical and creative work of the summer, chosen by a student conference committee. A highlight is the presentation of the Shirley Henn Awards for creative achievement and critical scholarship.

Fees and Financial Aid

Student/Faculty Gathering Tuition for the 2013 summer term is $745 per credit hour. Hollins may offer partial tuition remission to certain qualified students, and student loans are also available. To apply, applicants should indicate their financial need on the application for admission. There is also a $40 nonrefundable processing fee.
   New students must pay a nonrefundable deposit of $400 within two weeks of their acceptance. Returning students must pay a nonrefundable deposit of $200 by May 15. All deposits will be credited toward summer tuition charges.

Photo: There are plenty of opportunities for social events with students and faculty.

New! The Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Scholarship is a yearly competitive award that carries a $1,000 scholarship and a reading by an editor from one of HMH’s three hardcover imprints: Houghton Mifflin, Harcourt, or Clarion. Learn more >>


Housing is available for 2013 in student apartments (private bedroom with shared living room, kitchen, and bath) or in dormitory rooms (communal kitchen and one bath per hall). The cost is $1,015 for the six-week term.

Degree Requirements

Forty-eight credits are required for the M.F.A. degree. Each student will undertake ten 4-credit courses and a thesis (8 credits). Four of the courses undertaken must be literature courses, which include writing critical papers. The thesis offered for the degree will consist of a booklength original work in poetry, fiction, or drama for children.

Forty credits are required for the M.A. degree. Each student will undertake eight 4-credit courses and a thesis (8 credits). Students must demonstrate proficiency in reading a foreign language. At least half of the courses undertaken must be literature courses, which include writing critical papers. The thesis offered for the degree may consist of an original work in poetry, fiction, or drama for children, or an extended critical essay.

Independent Study

A student may complete up to eight Hollins credits in independent study and/or eight online credits outside the summer terms. At least 16 credits must be completed on campus.

Recent Graduates' Thesis Projects

M.F.A. students present a full-length work of literature for children as their final project. M.A. students may present a creative work or a work of scholarly exploration. Here are the thesis projects of our most recent graduates.


Books and papers of poet William Jay Smith and children’s editor Barbara Lucas are recent additions to the notable collection of children’s books donated by Francelia Butler, former editor-in-chief of Children’s Literature, the field’s leading scholarly journal. In 1992, Butler moved the editorship to Hollins in recognition of Hollins’ longtime commitment to the writing and study of children’s literature and the reputation of the Hollins program in English and creative writing. The library also possesses many original papers and manuscripts of Margaret Wise Brown.


Q: Do I need to send my GRE scores?
A: GRE scores are not required, but may be submitted.

Q: I didn't see a letter of recommendation form. Did I miss it?
A: We do not have a form for letters of recommendation. Just have your referees write a letter.

Q: I need financial aid. How do I apply for it?
A: We offer student loans and some need-based grants. To apply, complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), found online at Wait a few weeks for the paperwork to clear, and then contact our Office of Scholarships and Financial Assistance at (540) 362-6332 or to follow-up on the paperwork.

Q: What kind of writing sample do I need to send?
A: If you are an M.F.A. applicant, send 10-20 pages of your best creative work.

A: If you are an M.A. applicant, send 10-20 pages of your best creative or scholarly work:

  • Poetry
  • Fiction
  • Creative non-fiction
  • Scholarly essay
  • Or an amalgam thereof (not to exceed 30 pages total)

Checklist of Items to be Submitted:
  • Application for Admission
  • Nonrefundable processing fee
  • Statement of purpose
  • Writing sample
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts of all undergraduate work
  • Transcripts of any graduate work

David Almond
William Blake's Inn
Val Patterson