Nancy Sondel's Pacific Coast Children's Writers Workshop
16th Annual    September 28-30, 2018    Master Class to Masterpiece
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Bios & Kudos

In 2009, we welcome literary agent Stephen Fraser, senior editor Erin Clarke, and acclaimed author Marion Dane Bauer. To read exclusive, in-depth interviews with this faculty on the 15th of every month, February through April, click here.



 “Stephen Fraser actively promotes my projects to editors, responds quickly to my emails, and gives me feedback on specific manuscripts. He keeps me informed as to the status of my submissions. Steve is easy to work with... He is honest and open to discussing my issues or concerns about my manuscripts.” — Anne Bowen, author of acclaimed children’s books (Lerner, HarperCollins) and a Utah Language Arts Teacher of the Year

 “Stephen is a terrific conference presenter. He’s kind and warm; super nice.” — Bobbie Pyron, PCCWW alum, author of YA novel The Ring (WestSide Books)  

Stephen Fraser  


An agent at the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency, Stephen brings hands-on expertise from his former position as a HarperCollins executive editor. His career started at the magazine Highlights for Children; other positions followed at Oxford University Press, Simon & Schuster, and more. Stephen has a Master’s degree in Children’s Literature from Simmons College in Boston, and has written children’s book reviews for Publishers Weekly. He represents both children’s and adult books in a wide range of genres.

Youth novels Stephen has recently sold include Rosanne Perry’s Heart of a Shepherd (Random House), the story of a boy whose father is fighting in Iraq, which portrays how war affects a family and a community. The book has received a Kirkus boxed review.

Stephen has also sold the forthcoming novel The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams (St Martin’s), which depicts a teen who runs away from the polygamist compound where she lives. The Chosen One has inspired enthusiastic quotes from famous authors such as Gregory Maguire and Meg Cabot.

Among Stephen’s favorite children’s novels are Louis Sachar’s Holes and Patricia MacLachlan’s Sarah Plain and Tall. His agency works with all kinds of publishers, large and small, throughout the country. What does he most solicit? “Imaginative writing in all genres... Dazzle me.”



 “I thank Erin Clarke for her foresight, kindness, and always having the right advice at the right time.” — Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief (Random House Children’s Books), a NewYork Times Bestseller, a Michael L. Printz Honor winner, and winner of the Book Sense Book of the Year Award for Children’s Literature

 “My editor on four books, Erin Clarke is a champion of the elements that make the genre most compelling and timeless: eccentric, wonderful characterization; uncondescending plotlines; and an intelligent use of magical realism. She is also patient and intimately involved with the development of her authors’ manuscripts and concepts. In other words: the ideal editor.” — Lesley M. M. Blume, author of the critically-acclaimed Tennyson (Knopf)

Erin Clarke  


Erin Clarke is a senior editor at Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books. She’s also a 2009 presenter at Vermont College of Fine Arts’ MFA Program in Writing for Children and Young Adults.

Youth novels she has edited include The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (a New York Times bestseller and Printz Honor Book), Zusak’s I Am the Messenger (a Printz Honor Book), Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez, Tennyson by Lesley M.M. Blume, The Anatomy of Wings by Karen Foxlee, and The Girl Who Threw Butterflies by Mick Cochrane.
A voracious reader with eclectic tastes, Erin seeks that quintessential “good story.”



 “Marion Dane Bauer’s manuscript critiques are clear and precise. She asks questions that make me go deeper into my story and character—guiding me along the path I need, without handing me the solution. She is brilliant.” — Annemarie O’Brien, Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA graduate in Writing for Children and Young Adults; PCCWW alum

 “Character development, point of view, scene construction—these are just a few areas Marion Dane Bauer excels at in her teaching and writing. Writers from neophyte to renowned have benefited from Marion’s spot-on instincts, the depth and breadth of her experience, and her sincere interest and encouragement.” — K.A. Nuzum, Vermont College of Fine Arts alum, author of The Leanin’ Dog (HarperCollins)

Marion Dane Bauer  


Renowned children’s author and esteemed Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA instructor Marion Dane Bauer will bring insight and inspiration to our seminar.

Among her decades of outstanding contributions to children’s literature (fiction and nonfiction for all ages), Marion’s publications include Newbery Honor winner On My Honor, a middle-grade novel that treats a deeply meaningful subject in a way young readers can relate to. Nonfiction titles include What’s Your Story? A Young Person’s Guide to Writing Fiction. She comments, “Both young writers and adults—especially adults writing for young readers—find it helpful.”

An example of Marion’s tips that relate to the “vision” aspect of our 2009 theme: The best endings, she notes, “accomplish an emotional payoff, a kind of, ‘Oh!’ of surprise, followed by a sigh of satisfaction... ‘Of course!’ And when you, as the writer, know what will bring that sigh of satisfaction, you will have your ending.”
Marion offers an apt response to the question of why she (or perhaps anyone) reads and writes fiction: “I want to feel. I want to remain warm and safe in my own life while struggling through someone else’s storm. I want to live, for a brief time, inside someone else’s skin. And stories are the only way I know to do that.”

To read more, visit Marion’s website for a cornucopia of writerly delights.

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