Amanda Cockrell

Amanda Cockrell

I was the founding director of the children’s literature graduate program at Hollins, with R.H.W. Dillard, in 1992. We began with six students that year and I have watched it grow since. I teach children’s literature, but mainly I teach writing, that elusive beast. What I want my students to learn is that writing is “an art, a craft, a making” as Ursula K. LeGuin described it. Most of us aren’t very good at the beginning. Most of us regularly aren’t very good now, and only with considerable biting and chipping and tearing of hair and revision do we approach good. Sometimes we approach and it takes off into the bushes. But sometimes we nail it. What I hope students will develop is their own way of doing that, of finding not a “Hollins” voice but their own voice.


Areas of Expertise

  • Young adult fiction
  • Myth and folklore

Courses Taught

  • The Craft of Writing for Children/Magical Realism
  • Creative Writing Tutorial
  • Advanced Writing Tutorial
  • Children's Literature
  • The Craft of the Art


  • M.A. Hollins College
  • B.A. Hollins College

Publications & Articles


Chair, Children’s Literature Association Conference, 2011
Fiction fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts
Fiction fellowship, Virginia Commission for the Arts

Research Interests

The work of Russell Hoban
Selkie and other animal bride/husband stories and ballads
Southwestern folklore