When you step inside a classroom where Colin Hosten, a professor in the English Department, teaches, it’s nearly impossible to miss the calmness of his demeanor. He exudes an aura contrary to intense east coast energy. In a 75 minute class, there’s never a sense of rush, aggression or pressure, but rather of warmth and an understanding that we’re all here for the same reason; to learn from one another.
When I had the opportunity to find out more about his life, it all began to make sense. The warmth for one, must be due to the fact that he’s originally from the Carribean island of Trindad and Tobago. It is as though he carries the tropical sun with him, all the way up to the third floor of Donnarumma Hall.
Citing the wanderlust that leads young people to try to see new places, Hosten explained that he moved to the United States to pursue higher education at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., where he received a degree in African American literature. However, life had other plans for Hosten-plans for him to move even farther north.
“I got the bug to work in book publishing,” he explained.
In 2004, he came to New York and received a graduate degree in publishing from NYU. He spent eight years working in children’s book publishing, a field about which he is still passionate.
“Working in children’s books makes you realize that it’s so easy to take things too seriously,” said Hosten.
Something that attracted him to children’s books in particular was the fact that even as an adult, it’s a healthy reminder to reflect on the inner kid that exists inside all of us. He went on to add how children’s books aim to bring joy into the world, and how there is something incredibly valuable in that endeavor.
Now, you may ask yourself, how did Hosten land on Fairfield’s campus from the corporate world in children’s book publishing? When the publishing company he was working for relocated to Los Angeles, Calif., Hosten took it as an opportunity to see what would happen next, as he had already built a life and settled down on the east coast.
“It was kind of serendipitous, I was thinking about doing more of my own writing and less of other people’s,” Hosten said.
This is exactly what he did. From New York, he was directed to Fairfield’s MFA program, concentrating on creative writing and non-fiction. Since then, he’s been a professor in the English department at Fairfield and works in what he calls a “publishing cooperative” to continue to engage his interests in publishing.
Students may also be fascinated to find out that Hosten is significantly involved in local politics. He serves as an appointed member of the Board of Education in his town and finds great value in his role as an elected official. After all, he spent 17 years of living in the U.S. without the ability to vote.
“I always felt outside of the system, so when I became a citizen I dove right in, and it’s been very rewarding,” Hosten reflected.
Throughout my conversation with Hosten, one thing certainly revealed itself, and that is his commitment to an optimistic approach to life, along with trusting yourself and your path.
“Life is going to throw so many things at you and you will second guess every decision you make. But every decision, even the bad ones, lead to some kind of path forward,” Hosten said.