Frequently Asked Questions
The waiver covers the full cost of tuition/credits for all four terms. However there are a few ancillary fees participants are still responsible for. In the Fall and Spring, there are basic graduate school fees (Academic Excellence, College, Technology and Graduate Activity) which add up to approximately $200.00 per term. For the Summer Writer's Conference, there are college fees and the Southampton Summer Writer fee - approximately $1000, plus housing for those who elect to stay on campus. The Winter Publishing Conference has approximately $400 attendant fees for the conference, housing and meals. For more information on the UUP Tuition Waiver program, please visit: http://www.stonybrook.edu/hr/benefits/state/tuition-assistance.shtml
Yes. Because the program is accomplished primarily in distance-learning format, it is ideally suited to international students. Our Fellows alumnae are based as far away as Australia and Luxembourg. However, there are a few requirements for international Fellows to qualify for admission:
1) You must have an undergraduate bachelor's degree or the international equivalent.
2) You must speak and write in fluent English.
3) You must be available to travel to the US for both the 5-day July and 3-day January conferences.
4) As with our national applicants, admission is selective, and based on the strength of writing samples and letters of recommendation.
All forms of writing for children and young adults are eligible for the Fellows program, including non-fiction.
We are fortunate to have a team of accomplished and gifted faculty mentors – established and esteemed children’s lit authors who are well‐versed in all forms of picture book, middle grade and young adult fiction, as well as nonfiction.
Some of our mentors are full-time faculty members, but most rotate in and out of the program and participate on an as-needed basis, subject to their own availability. Among the faculty mentors who have participated in this program to date are Chris Barton, Samantha Berger, Libba Bray, Cindy (Trumbore) Kane, Rachel Cohn, Donna Freitas, Peter Lerangis, Grace Lin, Megan McCafferty, Patricia McCormick, Tricia Rayburn, Peter H. Reynolds, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Tor Seidler, Amy Sklansky, Emma Walton Hamilton, Ann Whitford Paul, Maryrose Wood and Dan Yaccarino.
Mentors are assigned after careful assessment of each Fellow’s stated goals and any works in progress, and change from one semester to the next to provide a wide range of learning opportunities and perspectives. Our faculty is outstanding, and we have a deep bench.
The final Publishing and Editing conference is an intimate, Fellows-only gathering, led by Program Director Emma Walton Hamilton and novelist/Fellows mentor Patricia McCormick. The Fellows spend two full days on campus polishing their manuscripts and query letters, and learning everything about the submissions, acquisition and publication process. On the third and final day, we head into New York City meet, hear from and pitch to agents and editors. We begin with a panel discussion with acquiring children’s lit editors, followed by a panel discussion with literary agents who specialize in children’s lit across multiple formats. The Fellows then meet individually with each agent to pitch their work in a kind of “speed-dating” format.
You will have plenty of time and support in the days and weeks leading up to the publishing conference ‐ from your faculty mentors and your colleagues in the program ‐ to prepare your queries and/or pitches. You and your manuscript will be ready to shine!
The Children's Literature Fellows program may be a good fit for you if:
- You take your writing seriously and are ready to advance to the next level.
- You have a clear idea of what you want to write and are seeking the structure and support to do so, OR you have a manuscript in progress and are seeking the structure and support to finish it.
- You are open to feedback, even if it requires significant rewriting to make your work the best it can be.
- You have the ability and initiative to manage your time and work independently between rounds of feedback.
- You are able to travel to Southampton, NY for five days in July and 3 days in January.
- You are seeking a community of fellow writers.
- You would like to better understand and prepare for entering the world of publishing.
The Fellows program is probably NOT a good fit for you if:
- You have limited time to devote to writing.
- You are intrigued by the idea of writing for children or young adults, but have no specific experience or project in mind.
- You are looking for an easy way to build your author resume, or to break into publishing.
- You are resistant to feedback, or highly sensitive when it comes to discussing your work.
The essential differences between our 1 year Children's Lit Fellows certificate program and an MFA such as VCFA offers are as follows:
Financial - For a New York State resident, the Fellows program costs around $10,000 for the full year; Out-of-State applicants pay approximately $16,000. This covers the 16 credits at the graduate level plus room and board during the two residencies. VCFA students pay 2-4 times that amount for the two year program.
Specialization - Our program requires you to specialize in a specific format - picture book, middle grade or YA novel, and to spend your year with us creating or refining a specific work or works in progress. An MFA such as VCFA tends to be broader in scope and to encourage you to experiment across formats.
Publishing Connections - Most MFA's focus primarily if not exclusively on the craft of writing, and don't offer much in the way of preparation for or connection to the publishing world. Our program culminates with a publishing/editing conference, in which we introduce participants to the ins and outs of the publishing industry and train them in crafting query letter, proposals, elevator speeches and pitches. We then travel into NYC for a full day of meeting, hearing from, and pitching to editors and agents.
Timing/Residency - Our program is 1 year, start to finish, and is accomplished primarily remotely... it requires a total of 8 days in residence on our campus - 5 in the summer, 3 in the winter. Most MFA's are 2-3 years, and require a good deal more time in residence (even if they are low-res programs.)