Welcome to VCFA's MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults alumni news page. Between this page and our our twice-yearly printed college newsletter we hope to bring you all the news on your fellow alumnni. If you have news to add, please fill out our online form here and we'll do our best to publicize your news.
Tamara Smith, '07WCYA, wrote an article based on her MFA critical thesis that was recently published in IBBY's journal BookBird: The International Journal of Children's Literature. The article explores the relationship between the picture book, the child listener and the adult reader, exploring the picture books by Liz Garton Scanlon, Jean Reidy and Audrey Vernick.
Jill Santopolo, '08WCYA, has just closed a two-book deal with Puffin Books to write the Follow Your Heart series geared toward girls ages 12 and up. The first book is scheduled to be released in Summer 2014 and the second in Winter 2015.
Anne Westrick, '11WCYA, has a debut novel, Brotherhood, coming out from Viking Press. The story is about a 14-year old boy who struggles to protect a friend from a gang he's joined (the KKK in 1867). The novel became her Creative Thesis at VCFA and will be published under the name A. B. Westrick. Westrick will be speaking on panels at the James River Writers Conference (October 19th-20th) and the Mid-Atlantic SCBWI Conference (October 26th) of this year.
Terry Pierce,'11WCYA, will be teaching a brand new 10-week online course for UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, "Intermediate Picture Book Writing", from July 10 to September 11, 2013.
Toni De Palma,'03WCYA, announces the publication of her new young adult paranormal print and e-book, The Devil's Triangle, by Crescent Moon Press. It is the first book in The Devil series. For more information on Toni's work, visit here.
Alumna Dana Walrath's visual work is currently on view at Studio Place Arts in Barre, Vermont, as part of the exhibition Storytime: The human impulse to construct narratives is explored through painting, video, sculpture, photography, and published materials.('10)
Terry Pierce will be teaching an online class through UCLA Extension Writers' Program, Introduction to Writing Easy Readers, spring 2012. ('11)
Dana Walrath exhibited some of her artwork at Art Hop 2011, in Burlington, Vermont. Her work was at VCAM/RETN Suite 2-G from September 9 through October 31, 2011.
Click here for more information.
Jandy Nelson announced that selections from her young adult novel, The Sky is Everywhere, were performed by the Word for Word Performing Arts Company in San Francisco. The event was held at Z Space on Friday, October 14th and was part of Litquake, San Franciso's Literary Festival.
Click here for more information.
Melissa Chandler's piece "Squared" is appearing in the 10th anniversary edition of the Bellevue Literary Review this fall, 2011.
Click here for more information.
Bridget Birdsall read as part of the Healing Trauma With Words & Images: 9/11 Ten Years Later event at the Absolutely Art Gallery in Madison, Wisconsin. The event took place on September 11, 2011 from 6:00 to 8:00pm. Bridget will be reading from her book, Ordinary Angels and lead a discussion.
Click here for more information.
Anindita Basu Sempere is now the Executive Director of a company called The Writing Faculty. They provide one-on-one tutoring that's all writing-focused, from academic and admissions support to individualized fiction, poetry, screenwriting, journalism, and creative non-fiction programs to students across age and experience levels.
Sarah Sullivan was a featured writer at the West Virginia Book Festival this fall. Sarah joined other celebrated authors like New York Times best-selling authors Nicholas Sparks and Diana Gabaldon. The event ran over the weekend of October 16 & 17 at the Charleston Civic Center.
For more information visit the Festival's website.
Carrie Jones had two novels on the New York Times Bestseller List in the category of Children's Books, Chapter Books this spring. Her new novel Captivate debuted at number seven, and the first book in that series, Need came in at number ten. (5/10)
Sherry Shahan is now represented by the Ronnie Herman Literary Agency in New York. Jill Corcoran will represent Sherry's middle-grade and young adult work. Ronnie will handle her picture books. (5/10)
René Colato Laínez launched a VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR to support his new picture book titled My Shoes and I. It tells the story of a young boy who is leaving his home in El Salvador for a new one in the United States. This work is illustrated by Fabricio Vanden Broeck and was published by Boyds Mill Press. (5/10)
Zu Vincent recently released a new young adult book entitled Catherine the Great: Empress of Russia as part of the Wicked History Series from Franklin Watts. Click HERE for more information on the book. (5/10)
Ben Westlie’s poems were included in the anthology Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25, which was released March 1st, 2010 from Greenwillow Books. School Library Journal gave the anthology a starred review. (5/10)
Kekla Magoon: It was just announced by the American Library Association (ALA) that VCFA alumna Kekla's novel The Rock and the River won the Coretta Scott King - John Steptoe Award for New Talent. This award was won by another VCFA alumna, Sundee Frazier, in 2008.
In addition, Kekla was nominated for a NAACP Image Award in the category of Outstanding Literary Work for Youth/Teens. (5/10)
Sarah Aronson’s second novel, Beyond Lucky (which she started at VCFA while working with Margaret Bechard), will be published by Dial Books in summer 2011. Sarah just finished an essay for Hunger Mountain and is currently teaching classes for children's writers for writers.com. The 7th Annual Novel Writing Retreat, which she organizes with Cindy Faughnan, was a huge success. (5/10)
Debby Dahl Edwardson's book Blessing's Bead, (which came out on November 10 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux) was selected by the Junior Library Guild as a March 2010 book selection and has earned a starred review from Booklist. (5/10)
Sarah Sullivan’s third picture book, Once Upon A Baby Brother, illustrated by Tricia Tusa, will be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in June, 2010. She wrote the story while she was a student at VCFA. (5/10)
Jessica Leader's (2009) first middle-grade novel, Nice and Mean, will be published by Simon and Schuster/Aladdin MIX in June 2010. Nice and Mean, which was her VCFA creative thesis, is about two girls, one nice, one mean, who face off in their middle-school elective. Visit Jessica's blog by clicking HERE. (5/10)
Kathi Baron's first book, a young adult novel titled Shattered, was released from WestSide Books in September 2009. Read an interview with her done by VCFA's own faculty member Cynthia Leitich Smith by clicking HERE. (5/10)
Ann Teplick recently received CityArtist 2010 funding from the Seattle Mayor's Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, for a collection of poetry, The Beauty of a Beet, Poems from the Bedside. In addition she had a poem accepted in the literary journal Drash, which will be available the summer of 2010. And, her one-act play, She's the One, will be showcased at ArtsWest theatre in Seattle in June 2010. (5/10)
Angela Morrison celebrated the launch of Sing Me to Sleep (Penguin/Razorbill, March 2010) and its recent sale into China at Amabile Choirs of London, Canada’s 25th Anniversary Festival where the choirs performed, “Beth’s Song,” featured in the novel and on iTunes. (5/10)
Mary Atkinson has a poem called "Swimming to the Rock" included in Sharing The Seasons: A Book Of Poems, Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, Illustrated by David Diaz, McElderry Books, 2010. (5/10)
Sundee T. Frazier's second novel, The Other Half of My Heart (Delacorte/ Random House), will be released on June 8, 2010. Sundee’s first novel, Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything in It, won the 2008 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award from the American Library Association and has been nominated for nine state children’s choice awards. (5/10)
Jandy Nelson's young adult novel The Sky Is Everywhere was published this spring by Dial/Penguin. It's a Junior Library Guild selection and on the Indie Next List. It will also soon be published in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Holland, Denmark, Turkey and the UK. (5/10)
Shawn K. Stout is pleased to announce that the second book in the Fiona Finkelstein middle grade series, Fiona Finkelstein Meets Her Match! (Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, is scheduled to release in September 2010. Visit Shawn's author page at SimonandSchuster.com by clicking HERE. (5/10)
Nancy Bo Flood first young adult novel, Warriors in the Crossfire has just been released from Front Street. The novel looks at one boy's experience of impending war - war fought by two nations, Japan and the U.S. Nancy Bo Flood will speak about her article in Arizona Reading Association – “Beyond Bows and Arrows” - at the IRA National Conference in Chicago in April and again at the IRA May conference in Guam. (5/10)
Kelly Bennett published three new picture books: Dance Y'all Dance from Bright Sky Press, 2009; Your Daddy Was Just Like You from GP Putnam; and Dad And Pop, from Candlewick. Kelly also has a blog: Kelly’s Fishbowl. (5/10)
Anna Marie Black co-presented the annual six-week workshop "Adventures in Poetry" for children in Grades 4-5 at Chester County Library, Exton, PA, during March 2010. Anna Marie worked with library colleague Elizabeth Hanley (herself a poet). The workshop culminated with a Reading during National Poetry Month in April. (5/10)
Carmela Martino’s humorous short story, “Big Z, Cammi, and Me,” appears in the middle-grade anthology I Fooled You: Ten Stories Of Tricks, Jokes, And Swicheroos, edited by Johanna Hurwitz (Candlewick Press). Carmela also interviewed Johanna about the anthology for TeachingAuthors.com in March 2010. (5/10)
Gretchen Woelfle has sold two picture book biographies: Write on, Mercy: The Secret Life of Mercy Otis Warren to Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills and Mumbet's Declaration of Independence to CarolRhoda. (5/10)
Carolyn Marsden's latest middle grade novel Take Me With You was released by Candlewick in March and received a starred review from Booklist. Andrew Karre of Carolrhoda is in the process of acquiring Carolyn's newest project. The White Zone. (5/10)
Penny Blubaugh’s first novel, Serendipity Market, was picked as one of the Kirkus Best YA Books for 2009. She will be speaking to 7th and 8th graders who have written books and have won a conference seat at the Illinois Young Authors Conference in Normal, IL in May 2010. (5/10)