Students Speak: Christine Schott (YA)

This week’s featured student, is first semester Young Adult (YA) student, Christine Schott.  Already a professor and an expert on medieval studies, Christine joined our YA program in January, and we couldn’t be happier to add her to our MFA family.

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Tell us about your creative work—do you have a preferred genre or aesthetic? Are there forms you want to try?

I’m a bit omnivorous at this point, still trying to find the genre that best suits me.  I like everything from historical fiction to high fantasy, though I would love to find out if I’m capable of doing magical realism, but I haven’t found the right story to tell yet.

Why did you decide to pursue your MFA? What did you find most attractive about our low residency program and the low residency format? 

I teach literature at the college level, and I sort of fell into teaching the creative writing classes as well.  I was surprised to discover that they became some of my favorite courses to teach, so I started looking into MFA programs because I wanted to have the professional qualification to give my students the best education in writing that I’m capable of giving them.  And it had to be low residency because I wanted to keep my job while I was learning how to do it better!  Converse offered the best opportunities for the best value of all the programs I looked at.

In what ways do you hope your writing will be further developed by our Converse core faculty, visiting faculty, and students? Do you have any writing goals you hope to accomplish?

I just want to learn everything!  I love hearing people talk about how they approach their craft–both professionals and fellow students–and I greatly value the feedback I get from workshops and mentoring.  After pursuing writing as a hobby for so long, essentially in a vacuum where my only reader was myself, I can’t express how amazing it is to be surrounded by people who not only love the craft but want to help me improve.

In addition to your work on writing craft, how has the Converse program helped you in terms of navigating the publishing marketplace?

This is only my first semester, so publishing isn’t my primary goal just now, but my own undergraduate students often ask me about publishing, and I’ve never had good answers to offer them.  But even after one residency, I’ve already had conversations about publishing that have dramatically expanded my understanding of the marketing side of writing.

Why would you recommend the Converse College Low Residency Program to an MFA applicant?

I was amazed at my first residency when I met the faculty and my fellow students, who came from a wide variety of backgrounds and interests, and who were all eager to give me much-needed advice and encouragement.  It’s an ideal environment for growing as a writer and as a member of the writing community.

Thanks so much, Christine!  We are so excited to have you with us, and we appreciate you taking the time to answer a few questions.  Check back next week for another edition of Students Speak, where we will feature a different genre, a different semester, a different student’s perspective.

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