I defy you to find a better group of people.

I defy you to find a better group of people.

I graduated from Hamline’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults this past Sunday. I knew the journey would be a quick one, and it was. It’s hard to believe that I won’t be working on a writing packet and I won’t be assigned an advisor.

It’s been a great ride. I learned so much in two years, though there is still much to learn. I take solace in the fact that every writer is always learning. It does not end. I’m thankful to everyone in the program. It is truly a remarkable community.

So remarkable, in fact, that one of the professors, Gene Luen Yang, was just named the national ambassador for young people’s literature by the Library of Congress. And just this past week, faculty members won major awards: The Newbery Award went to Matt de la Peña and the Printz Award went to Laura Ruby. That’s amazing, but it doesn’t even begin to characterize the faculty. They are great writers,  yes, but more importantly for the students at Hamline is that they are great teachers, patient and generous.

And now I begin post-grad life, with a project to work on and a promise to myself: I will continue to make time for writing. I’d like to complete another revision on my novel before the end of the month, and I hope to do more blog entries (though, that’s always tough for me because I never have anything that interesting to say.) I’m counting on my fellow graduates in the Front Row (those goofballs pictured above) to hold me accountable and keep me on track.

A great and wonderful chapter has ended, but in many ways this is only the beginning.

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Josh Hammond writes things. He has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University.

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