Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Fall Philly 2019

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Date(s) - 11/02/2019
9:00 am - 4:30 pm

Parkway Central Library
1901 Vine St. - Philadelphia, PA


Stories Bring Us Together

This year at Fall Philly, we’re focusing on all the ways stories can make the world a more inclusive, understanding place. We’ll help you get your story into the hands of the kids who need it with keynotes and breakouts on everything from character development to marketing strategy, a special panel on sensitive and diverse representation, and professional faculty critiques. Fiction or non-fiction, picture books or novels, published or just starting out, we’ve got you covered!

Only $100 for SCBWI members, including lunch! ($130 for non-SCBWI members)

We are excited to offer up to two scholarships to writers whose manuscripts connect with this year’s theme! Please see below for application details.


Here’s an overview of what the day will look like:

9:00 a.m. Registration opens; Eastern PA Author/Illustrator Book Fair begins

10:00 a.m. Keynote with Nicole Fiorica (asst. Editor, Margaret McElderry Books): Developing Compelling Characters

11:00 a.m. Breakout sessions

Juliana Lauletta (publisher at Kane/Boyds Mills Press): Writing for the Educational Market

Kat Enright (agent at Seymour Agency): Recognizing Bias in World-Building

Donna Gephart (middle grade author): Tickling Your Reader’s Funny Bone

12 noon Lunch (included with registration – please select your entree at registration)

1 p.m. Faculty Panel: Bridging the Divide – Real Talk on Writing Sensitively, Inclusively, and Accurately Featuring Dawn Michelle Hardy, Jes Negron, Jamie Beth Cohen, Adrienne Wright, and Donna Gephart

2 p.m. Breakout sessions

Adrienne Wright (author/illustrator): Developing A Story Across Racial Lines

Jamie Beth Cohen (YA author): Reaching Reluctant Teen Readers

3 p.m. Closing Keynote with Dawn Michelle Hardy, The Literary Lobbyist (Dream Relations PR & Literary Consulting)

4-4:30 p.m. Optional Guided Tour of the 5 Senses Exhibit at the Free Library/Book Fair Continues

*Critiques will take place throughout the day. Please select the faculty member and time of your choice at registration. See below for more information!


Meet the Faculty….

Adrienne Wright grew up in South Africa where she studied illustration and graphic design at the College of Art and Design in Johannesburg. After working as a designer and art director in advertising agencies there and in the US, she followed her interest in illustration. As a long time member of SCBWI, she volunteered as Illustrator Coordinator for the Eastern PA chapter, and finally realized her dream. Her debut picture book HECTOR: A BOY, A PROTEST, AND THE PHOTOGRAPH THAT CHANGED APARTHEID, which she wrote and illustrated, was published in June 2019.




Donna Gephart’s award-winning middle grade novels include Lily and Dunkin, In Your Shoes, Death by Toilet PaperHow to Survive Middle School and her latest, The Paris Project. Her first novel, As If Being 12-3/4 Isn’t Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President, won the prestigious Sid Fleischman Award for humor. She’s a former creative writing teacher and a popular speaker at schools, book festivals and conferences. After 21 years in South Florida, Donna has returned to the Philadelphia area with her family and is enjoying soft pretzels, WaWa hoagies and vegan cheesesteaks.



Jamie Beth Cohen is a writer who works in higher education. She writes about difficult things, but her friends think she’s funny. Her non-fiction has appeared in, The Washington Post/On Parenting, Salon, and several other outlets. Her debut novel, Wasted Pretty, was published by Black Rose Writing in April 2019. Set in 1992, it’s the story of a sixteen-year-old girl who is deemed “pretty” for the first time and all the things that are exciting, annoying and, in her case, dangerous about that moment. Although a writer at heart, Jamie has done a number of other things in order to feed, clothe, and shelter herself and her family. Her favorite job was scooping ice cream in Pittsburgh, PA when she was sixteen years old. She thinks everything about sixteen was wonderful and amazing, except all the stuff that was horrible. Connect with her at, on Twitter @Jamie_Beth_S, or on Instagram @WastedPretty.


Kat Enright, (they/them), is an Associate Agent at the Seymour Agency who represents both fiction and non-fiction. As someone who lives on the corner of many intersections, they are most especially interested in elevating voices of marginalized authors. For more information, please check out their MSWL on, and they can be found on Twitter and Instagram (both, @katenright).





Jes Negrón has worked in media in both the book and video game industries. Her biggest passion is elevating underrepresented voices, which is reflected in both her professional and personal projects. Jes currently works as Editor for Boyds Mills & Kane, where she acquires children’s literature. When she isn’t reading, writing, or editing, she is probably playing video games, binging TV shows, or singing karaoke. She has an unhealthy obsession with Xenomorphs and will fight you about the feminist themes in the Alien franchise.




Nicole Fiorica is an assistant editor at Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. She works on everything from picture books through young adult, in a wide range of genres including both fiction and nonfiction. Nicole has the pleasure of working with a number of talented  authors that include Cassandra Clare, Margaret Rogerson, Kit Frick, Hilary McKay, Susan Cooper, Amber Smith, and many others. She is always on the hunt for stories that push the limits of the imagination and characters that come alive on the page. When she doesn’t have her nose in a book, Nicole enjoys pottery and watches too much reality TV.


Juliana Lauletta received her B.A. in English at Vassar College, where they let her get away with writing her thesis on Grimms’ fairy tales. She started at Kane Press as an Editorial Assistant in 2003 and eventually became Editorial Director and then Publisher. She was named Publisher of Boyds Mills & Kane when Kane Press acquired the Boyds Mills imprints from Highlights in 2019.








Dawn Michelle Hardy is a powerhouse who shares industry truths. She is a talented entrepreneur who helps writers garner notoriety on which they can build a respectable career as established authors.

In a 2013 career profile published by Ebony magazine Dawn Michelle Hardy was described as ‘the literary lobbyist’ for the range of support she offers novice authors. With 17 years of experience working with self-published and traditionally published authors of fiction, non-fiction and poetry this is the ideal moniker for this charismatic self-starter.  Dawn is a highly creative and passionate book publicist, literary agent and publishing consultant with a proven track record of taking writer’s ideas from conception to completion.

Dawn understands that promoting writers and their books are about discoverability, access and an entrepreneurial approach. The New York native is a frequent conference speaker who enjoys igniting a fire under up and coming writers with publishing aspirations. She shares her insights on industry and career focused podcasts including Manuscript Wish List, Switch Pivot or Quit and Dreams in Drive.

As an independent publicist Dawn launched Dream Relations PR & Literary Consulting in 2004. Through her agency she consults self published authors on best publishing practices, prepares writers for the querying process, and manages pre-publication details for debut book campaigns resulting in notable sales, increased readership, award wins and industry honors including, the Phyllis Wheatley Award, New York Times Bestseller Eric Hoffer Award for Independent Publishing, National Indie Excellence Awards (NIEA),USA Best Book Award, and PEN Literary Award finalist in Non-Fiction Sports.

For 8 years Dawn represented sports writers and cultural critics as an associate agent with Serendipity Literary Agency. During this time, she established herself as thought leader in the constantly changing publishing space and built a solid list in which 75% of the titles she brought to market are collaborative ideas birthed from pop-culture topics in the genres of music, sports, LGBT and civil rights.

Dawn serves on the NAACP Image Award literary committee for fiction and memoir/biography, was awarded ‘Publicist of the Year’ by the African American on the Moves Book Club and inducted into the Copiague High School Hall of Achievements for being a distinguished alumna. She is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology who completed the New York City Marathon in 2014.

The truth as Dawn sees it, is that if you truly want to publish a book that will be well received by readers, the most important assets are having the right resources and tools and the discipline to see it through.

Eastern PA Author/Illustrator Book Fair

We’re excited to partner with Children’s Book World to offer books for sale by our PAL members who are planning to attend Fall Philly. Eastern PA author of the 68 ROOMS series, Marianne Malone, is serving as the contact person for any published members who would like the chapter to order a quantity of their books for sale at the conference.
Here are the details:
-Cash, check, and credit card (via PayPal invoice) will be accepted.
-Please contact Marianne Malone at before October 17. The earlier the better, so that we can be sure CBW is able to order copies of your book.
-In your e-mail, please include all titles you would like to offer for sale, as well as the quantity of each. (We expect approx 100 attendees) The chapter will take care of delivery, and any unsold copies will be returned to CBW by the chapter at no cost to you. If you’re willing to help staff the sales table, please indicate this in your e-mail as well. (You DO need to be an Eastern PA PAL member to participate.)
-Please plan to arrive at the Free Library by 9 a.m. on Saturday Nov. 2 to mingle with attendees as they arrive, and bring any book swag you’d like to hand out! Don’t forget your favorite pen for signing! We will also offer book sales at the end of the event, from approx 4-4:45.


Faculty Manuscript Critiques

-Please select the faculty member(s) and time slot(s) of your choice at registration.

-Please submit up to 10 pages of a single manuscript (double spaced, 12pt Times New Roman, 1-inch margins) plus a one-page synopsis to before October 12, 2019. You will receive a confirmation e-mail upon receipt. (Please note that even if a picture book manuscript consists of less than 10 pages, you may only submit one manuscript per critique.)

-Each 15-minute face-to-face critique costs $45, and includes both written and verbal feedback from the faculty member of your choice. You will receive written feedback via the SCBWI Gold Form at your designated appointment time.

-Please note that critiques are scheduled during breakout sessions and keynotes throughout the day. We advise carefully checking the available critique slots against the day’s agenda before making your selections.


-Up to two scholarships will be awarded to writers whose work connects in some way to the theme of “Stories bring us together.” All applications will be carefully reviewed by the regional team of Eastern PA SCBWI.

Application deadline: September 30, 2019

-Please e-mail the following information to :

-A brief letter of introduction explaining why you would like to attend Fall Philly this year and how you and/or your manuscript connects with the theme

-Up to 10 pages of your manuscript, plus an optional one-page synopsis for novels

Current SCBWI members who live in Eastern Pennsylvania will be considered first, but current members from other regions may also apply. Please note that if no applicants meet the requirements, EPA SCBWI reserves the right not to award scholarships for this event.


Your registration fee includes a catered, boxed lunch by la Brulee, served on-site. At the time of registration, you’ll be asked to make an entree and beverage choice. The following options will be available:

1. House Roast Beef: Roast Beef, Oven Roasted Red Onions, Arugula & Lemon Basil Mayo on an 8 Grain Roll; served with potato salad, gourmet chips, and cookie
2. Smoked Chicken Salad: Smoked Chicken Salad, Chipotle-Lime Aioli & Bibb Lettuce on a Croissant; served with potato salad, gourmet chips, and cookie
3. Tabbouleh Salad (vegan): Bulgar Wheat, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Scallions & Torn Parsley with a Lemon Mint Vinaigrette; served with fresh-baked roll, gourmet chips, and cookie
Please select either bottled spring water or Honest Tea iced tea .
(Complimentary coffee will be available at morning registration.)


Please e-mail co-RA Lindsay Bandy at with any questions or concerns. Can’t wait to see you there!