Summer Faculty

Brian Attebery

atteberyAttebery is the author of four books and numerous articles on fantasy and science fiction, most recently Stories about Stories: Fantasy and the Remaking of Myth, published by Oxford University Press in 2014. He also edited The Norton Book of Science Fiction with Ursula K. Le Guin and Karen Joy Fowler. He is professor of English at Idaho State University and editor of the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts. His interests within children’s literature include not only oral and literary fairy tales, which transcend age, but also stories of coming of age and of family interactions.

Education: Ph.D., Brown University; M.A., Brown University; B.A., The College of Idaho

Mary Jane Begin

Mary Jane BeginMary Jane Begin is a senior critic in the Illustration Department at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where she has taught for 24 years and serves as the Internship and Professional Development Advisor. Her latest teaching venture includes online video courses with  Foundations of Color, Elements of Composition for Illustrators, Artist at Work series and Character Development and Design. She is an award-winning illustrator and author of picture books including Little Mouse’s Painting, A Mouse Told His Mother, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Willow Buds, tales inspired by The Wind in the Willows, a classic tale that she also illustrated. Her latest picture books are My Little Pony: Under the Sparking Sea and The Dragons on Dazzle Island published by Little Brown in collaboration with Hasbro.

Education: B.F.A. in Illustration, Rhode Island School of Design

Mark Braught

Mark BraughtMark Braught is an award-winning illustrator who has created images for numerous corporations, design firms, advertising agencies and publishers.  His illustrated children’s books include P is for Peach, A Georgia Alphabet, T is for Touchdown, A Football AlphabetJ is For Jump Shot, A Basketball Alphabet, and Whose Shadow Do I See? among others. He also created the art for the merchandising of Warner Brothers film Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone.  His website is

Education: B.F.A., Indiana State University

Rhonda Brock-Servais

Rhonda Brock-ServaisDoc Brock has been teaching critical classes in the Summer Children’s Literature program for 10 years. She also frequently does independent studies and advises theses. During the regular school year, she can be found at Longwood University (also in Virginia). In addition to her teaching, she is the head of the Horror Literature Division of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts.

Education: Ph.D., University of South Carolina Columbia; M.A., Georgia Southern University; B.A., University of Wisconsin – Parkside

Karen Coats

Karen CoatsLiterary and cultural critics spend a lot of time thinking about the relationship between self and “other,” as if it were a line with only two points. As a teacher and a scholar, however, I have come to think in triangles: moms, dads, and kids; food, love, and power; bodies, representations, and communities; aesthetics, ethics, and subjectivity; persons, cultures, and gods. It is within the spaces opened up by those triangles that we come to be who we are. The study of children’s and young adult literature takes us into the heart of how we learn to negotiate the terms of those triangles through the language, images, and stories of our culture. Fairies, witches, talking animals – they are some of our first companions in our walk through this world; how do they structure our desires and teach us who we are, and who we might become?

Education: Ph.D., The George Washington University; M.A., Virginia Tech; B.A., Virginia Tech

Elizabeth O. Dulemba

Elizabeth DulembaElizabeth O. Dulemba is an award-winning children’s book author, illustrator, teacher, and speaker with over two dozen books to her credit, including the mid-grade novel, A Bird on Water Street, for which she was awarded “Georgia Author of the Year.” She has an M.F.A. in Illustration from the University of Edinburgh and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Children’s Literature from the University of Glasgow. Before moving to Scotland, she was Illustrator Coordinator for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) U.S. southern region and a Board Member for the Georgia Center for the Book. Along with teaching at Hollins, she speaks regularly at schools, festivals, and events, including the TEDx Talk, “Is Your Stuff Stopping You?” She also hosts creator interviews and giveaways in her weekly newsletter. Learn more at

Education:  M.F.A., University of Edinburgh; B.F.A., University of Georgia

Renee Englot

Renee EnglotThe best way to learn storytelling is by telling stories. In my class students are in front of a group from day one, building confidence before an audience. We explore the traditions of this oral art form and the latest incarnations such as story slams. Soon students are telling tales, beginning the development of a repertoire of stories for oral telling and their own style of storytelling.

Education: M.A., Hollins University; B.Ed., University of Regina

Lisa Rowe Fraustino

fraustinoFraustino is professor of English at Eastern Connecticut State University. Her newest book, the middle-grade novel The Hole in the Wall, won the 2010 Milkweed Prize for Children’s Literature. She is past president of the Children’s Literature Association, and is also the author of I Walk in Dread: The Diary of Deliverance Trembley, Witness to the Salem Witch Trials; The Hickory Chair; and Ash. As Lisa Meunier, she is the author of the forthcoming poetry chapbook, Hitching to Istanbul.

Education: Ph.D., Binghamton University
(photo credit: Nick Lacy)

John Steven Gurney

John Steven GurneyJohn Steven Gurney is the author and illustrator of the graphic novel Fuzzy Baseball and the picture book Dinosaur Train. He has illustrated over 140 chapter books, including the A to Z Mysteries, the Bailey School Kids, and The Calendar Mysteries series. He has illustrated board games, advertisements, posters, puzzles, and a shopping bag for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. John has worked as a caricature artist from Atlantic City to Las Vegas, to the streets of New York City, but now he primarily works in New England. Gurney grew up in Pennsylvania reading Dr. Seuss books and watching Bugs Bunny cartoons. As he grew older his reading material shifted to Mad Magazine, and then to JRR Tolkien (but he never stopped watching Bugs Bunny cartoons). He studied illustration at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, and received his M.F.A. in illustration from the Hartford Art School.

Education: M.F.A., in Ilustration, Hartford Art School

Hillary Homzie

homzieHomzie’s newest books are the tween novels The Hot List and Things Are Gonna Get Ugly. She is also the author of the chapter book series Alien Clones From Outer Space, including Two Heads Are Better Than One, Who Let the Dogs Out?, The Baby-Sitters Wore Diapers, and Food Fight! Her short stories have been published in anthologies and numerous children’s magazines.
Photo by Suzanne Bronk

Education: M.A., Hollins University; M.Ed., Temple University

Ellen Kushner

Ellen KushnerKushner is the author of Thomas the Rhymer (World Fantasy and Mythopoeic awards), the interconnected novels Swordspoint, The Privilege of the Sword (Locus Award, Nebula nominee), and The Fall of the Kings (written with Delia Sherman). She narrated these as audiobooks for Neil Gaiman Presents (Audie Award). With Holly Black, she co-edited Welcome to Bordertown. A co-founder of the Interstitial Arts Foundation, Ellen Kushner was also the longtime host of the national public radio show Sound & Spirit. She has taught creative writing at Clarion, the Odyssey Workshop, and is an instructor at Hollins University’s Children’s Literature M.F.A. program.  She lives in New York City with Delia Sherman and no cats whatsoever.

Alexandria LaFaye

Alexandria LaFayeLaFaye is associate professor of English at Greenville College. Her newest book is Walking Home to Rosie Lee. She is also the author of Worth, which won the 2005 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, Water Steps, Stella Stands Alone, The Year of the Sawdust Man, Edith Shay, Strawberry Hill, The Keening, and Nissa’s Place. Her book on writing, The Primed Mind, is forthcoming from Borgo Press.

Education: M.F.A., University of Memphis; M.A., Hollins College and Mankato State University

Claudia Mills

Claudia MillsI have pursued three different careers: I’ve been a tenured professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder, working in the area of ethics and political philosophy; I’m a children’s literature scholar, publishing articles on Eleanor Estes, Maud Hart Lovelace, Betty MacDonald, Louisa May Alcott, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Rosamund du Jardin; and I’m the author of over 50 books for young readers, including the new Franklin School Friends chapter book series from Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

I feel lucky to have been able to have each of my professional lives enrich the others. My Intro to Ethics class incorporates children’s literature; my scholarly work on children’s literature often explores ethical and philosophical themes, culminating in my editing the collection Ethics and Children’s Literature, out from Ashgate in 2014, and the children in my novels struggle with issues of moral growth and personal identity.

Ph.D., Princeton University; M.L.S., University of Maryland; M.A., Princeton University; B.A., Wellesley College

Nancy Ruth Patterson

Nancy Ruth PattersonPatterson’s five novels for children have been honored on Master Reading Lists in 10 states, and three have been adapted and performed for the professional stage. Upon retiring after 33 years as a teacher and administrator with Roanoke City Schools, she joined the adjunct faculty of the University of Virginia, teaching graduate courses in literature for children and young adults as well as memoir writing. She has spoken at more than 500 national conferences and workshops and has written numerous articles on the craft of writing. At her 2002 induction into the Virginia High School League’s Hall of Fame, Patterson was cited as “one of the most sought-after writing teachers in the country.”

Education: M.A.T., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; B.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Candice Ransom

Candice RansomIn my children’s literature classes, both creative and critical, students are encouraged to steep themselves in story and art, reach the childlike place within, seek their passions. There are no wrong turns, only glorious side trips. In the trusted space of our class, students benefit from my 30 years of publishing experience, and shape lasting, heartfelt works.

I teach from the belief that we have all grown up from a place with “good telling stories.” By learning our personal geographies, we can tap into that source and tell our good telling stories. We make our own maps, take creative risks, steer toward the mystery. My Hollins classes are varied: writing picture books, pairing autobiographical children’s books with writing memoir, exploring children’s book illustrators from the Victorian Age to the 21st century, writing children’s nonfiction, journeying through regional literature while writing place-based fiction.

Education: M.A., Hollins University; M.F.A., Vermont College

Delia Sherman

shermanSherman’s newest young adult novel, The Freedom Maze, won the Andre Norton Award and the Mythopoeic Award. She is also the author of Changeling and The Magic Mirror of the Mermaid Queen, and the adult novels Through a Brazen Mirror; The Porcelain Dove (also winner of the Mythopoeic Award); and with Ellen Kushner, The Fall of the Kings. Her short stories and poetry have appeared in many young adult and middle-grade anthologies, most recently Coyote Road, Troll’s Eye View, and Welcome to Bordertown. She is a founding member of the Interstitial Arts Foundation, an organization supporting work that falls outside traditional genre categories, for which she co-edited two Interfictions anthologies.

Education: Ph.D., Brown University

C.W. Sullivan III

C. W. SullivanSullivan is emeritus distinguished professor of arts and sciences from East Carolina University. Among his other awards were a Distinguished Research Professor Award from the ECU Board of Trustees and a Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award from the UNC Board of Governors. In 1995, Sullivan was elected to the Welsh Academy for his contributions to the study of medieval Welsh Celtic myth and legend.

While at ECU, Sullivan published 10 books and over 50 refereed articles; he gave invited lectures at various institutions in the US as well as in Wales, Ireland, England, Australia, and Hungary. His major publications include: Welsh Celtic Myth in Modern Fantasy, The Mabinogi: A Book of Essays, Fenian Diary: Denis B, Cashman on board the Hougoumont, 1867-1868, Cultural Worldview: Marginalizing the Fantastic in the Seventeenth Century, and Reconsidering the Convict Ships. In 2008, he was a senior Fulbright teaching fellow in Hungary.

Education: Ph.D., University of Oregon; D.A., University of Oregon; M.A., State University of New York at Albany; B.A., State University of New York at Albany

Ashley WolfF

wolffWolff is the author and/or illustrator of over 50 children’s picture books including Baby Beluga, Stella and Roy Go Camping, Me Baby, You Baby, Who Took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar?, Mama’s Milk, and the beloved Miss Bindergarten series. Her artwork has been exhibited widely in national shows and her books have won numerous state and national awards. She lives and works in San Francisco.

B.F.A., Rhode Island School of Design