Welcome to the Pennsylvania West Region of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. We sponsor many professional activities each year to help our members in their professional development as writers and illustrators for children.
- • Visit our regional Events page for the latest information.
- • Connect with us on Facebook , Twitter , and Instagram
- • Critique Groups – If you’re looking for a critique group, we have several in the area. Please see this page for where our groups are located, if there are seats available, and who to contact to join.
Our workshops include opportunities for manuscript reviews by peers and visiting editors. Check our events page often!
Our fall conferences include an evening of networking with visiting editors and agents followed by a full day of sessions and pre-scheduled reviews.
Meet the Regional Team
Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan, Regional Advisor
Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan is the Regional Advisor for SCBWI Pennsylvania: West. She is an award-winning children’s author from Pittsburgh, PA. She is the author of The Science and Technology of Leonardo da Vinci (Nomad, 2021) and many other books! She’s written textbook chapters and online biographies. Elizabeth also writes fiction, non-fiction, crafts and recipes for magazines including Highlights for Children, and Muse. She’s an instructor in the Writing for Children and Young Adults Certificate program at McDaniel College.
She loves birding, board games, baking and is a lifelong runner. She lives in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, with her family and pet schnoodle.
She was won an SCBWI Merit Award in 2020 and was the 2016-2017 Pen Parents Fellow.
Sarah Maynard, Assistant Regional Advisor
After living in New York, Vermont, Virginia, Texas and Maryland, Sarah now lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband, their four kids, a dog, a cat and books in every room. While in Maryland, Sarah was the Event Coordinator on the MD/DE/WV SCBWI Regional Committee and she is excited to share what she learned there in WPA. When she’s not reading or writing, Sarah loves hitting the water on her stand up paddle board, practicing her ukulele, trying out a new recipe in the kitchen, or finding zen on her yoga mat.
Julianna Zito, Regional Illustrator Coordinator
Julianna is from the North Hills of Pittsburgh. She grew up as an 80’s child with all the quirky imagination and bright colors that represent that era. She graduated from Deer Lakes High School and was determined to move beyond her country girl roots. She has lived all over – Santa Cruz, CA, St. Louis, MO, Philadelphia, PA and even Honolulu, HI. She is now settled down in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh with her husband, two kids, chihuahua, and cat. Her background is full of variety both wonderful and traumatic – all of which inspire her to make people laugh – especially children.
Michelle Vattula, New Members & Critique Groups
Joy Givens, Events Coordinator
Joy Givens writes “fresh, fantastic, fierce” fiction, mostly for children and young adults. Her most recent projects include several pieces of award-winning short fiction, most recently published in WOW! Women on Writing, Five Minutes at Hotel Stormcove (2019) from Atthis Arts, and the anthologies Beach Life (2017) and Beach Fun (2018) from Cat & Mouse Press.
Amy Wagner, Summer Brain Food Coordinator
Amy Wagner writes young adult contemporary fantasy. She is an active member of SCBWI and Pennwriters. She is thrilled to coordinate the Summer Brain Food Program for SCBWI and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Amy has attended the 2016 Rutgers One-on-One Plus Conference and is a PitchWars 2018 Alumni with her novel, A GOOD STORY IS HARD TO FIND.
Thomas Wright, Conference Coordinator
Thomas Wright has been a member of SCBWI since 2009. With a passion for children’s literature, he primarily writes MG and YA in both the contemporary and fantasy genres. He was an attendee to the 2018 Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature. This year he is acting as Event Coordinator for SCBWI-Fall West Conference.
Dana DiSante, Assistant Conference Coordinator
Dana DiSante is the author of two children’s picture books about Penny the Pink Nose Poodle and is currently the Events & Features editor for CAPITOL STANDARD magazine. This year she is acting as the Assistant Conference Coordinator for the SCBWI-PA West Fall Conference.
Sabrina Fedel, Assistant Conference Coordinator
Sabrina Fedel is an award winning writer from Pittsburgh. Her debut novel, Leaving Kent State, brings to life the tragedy of the 1970 Kent State shootings, and her poetry and prose have appeared in various journals including The Pedestal Magazine and Lunch Ticket.