Award Honorees

Molly Beth Griffin

Molly Beth Griffin ‘01 has a passion for writing and creativity. She is the author of 15 books for children and young adults and mentor to other writers in the Twin Cities. Throughout her career, Griffin has always found joy in her community of fellow writers and strives to live a life trying new things.

Griffin connects her passion for writing back to her interests in high school. As a student, she always felt connected to the English courses she took. They helped develop her skills in reading and writing and she feels deeply grateful to her teachers for sparking her passion for telling stories. Griffin was also a part of the Minnetonka Theatre program’s tech crew and sang in the school concert choir. These experiences showed her the joy of making art collaboratively.

Griffin received her BA in English from Grinnell College. She moved back to Minnesota after graduation and began an internship at a local publishing house. Eventually, she enrolled in Hamline University’s writing for children and young adults MFA program. While she was there, she received her first book contract and her debut book, Silhouette of a Sparrow, was published shortly after graduation.

Since then, Griffin has continued to write, critique manuscripts, mentor and teach. She has published books in a wide variety of genres, and recently finished a draft of a new middle grade novel. Her books often feature strong female protagonists, non-traditional families and LGBTQ+ storylines. She currently teaches at The Loft in downtown Minneapolis and hosts the Picture Book Salon, a community gathering for children’s authors.

“I am very proud of the work I’ve done in this community of writers,” said Griffin. “I get to help people nurture their own creativity and craft their writing into the stories they want and need to tell. Sometimes I get to see those stories become books. And some of those books are helping to change the landscape of publishing toward more accurate and authentic representation—authors are sharing their own stories, and kids are seeing themselves on the page, sometimes for the first time. What an amazing thing!”

Griffin lives with her partner and two children in Minneapolis and sees her family as her greatest inspiration. It’s one of the reasons why making diverse stories and expanding the types of literary representation available to kids is so important to her and her work.

“Living in a queer family with an autistic son has made me very passionate about our need for all kinds of stories, and for those stories to be available to all families,” she said. “I am grateful to those who are working every day to ensure that the kids they serve have access to the books they need.”

In addition to writing, Griffin expresses her creativity in a wide variety of ways, such as drawing, playing the piano, photography and baking. Her advice to current Minnetonka students is to do the same, even if they are unsure of what their interests are.

“Try everything. Do whatever sounds fun to you, even if you think you might not be any good at it. If you want to write, try writing a mystery or a romance or an alphabet book or a sonnet or a short story about aliens. Make all kinds of stuff and you will learn so much by doing it. High school is a wonderful time to get in the habit of making things, being bad at things, getting better at things and figuring out what brings you joy.”

Awards

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David Gartner

Inducted into the Faculty Hall of Fame on September 23, 2023.

Earl Christ

Inducted into the Faculty Hall of Fame on September 23, 2023.

Bill Keeler

Inducted into the Faculty Hall of Fame on September 24, 2022.