2019 Faculty


EliZabeth Partridge

Elizabeth Partridge is the author of numerous books for children and young adults, including Marching for Freedom, an inspiring look at the fight for the vote, and biographies on John Lennon, Woody Guthrie, and Dorothea Lange. Her latest book, Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam, was longlisted for the National Book Award. Elizabeth is passionate about bringing long-silenced stories to light, and depth to iconic artists. Her books have received many honors, including the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, National Book Award Finalist, the ALA Michael L.  Printz Honor Award, and the SCBWI Golden Kite Award.

Finalist 2019 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults



Varian Johnson

Varian Johnson is the author of nine novels, including The Parker Inheritance, which received four starred reviews and was named a 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, and a Junior Library Guild selection among other accolades. His middle grade caper novel, The Great Greene Heist, has been named to over twenty-five state reading and best-of lists. In addition, Varian has written numerous novels and short stories for YA audiences. He was born in Florence, South Carolina, and attended the University of Oklahoma, where he received a BS in Civil Engineering. He later received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he now serves as a member of the faculty. Varian lives outside of Austin, TX with his family.

Winner 2019 Coretta scott king honor


Marion Dane Bauer is the author of more than one-hundred books for young people, ranging from novelty and picture books through early readers, both fiction and nonfiction, books on writing, and middle-grade and young-adult novels. She has won numerous awards, including several Minnesota Book Awards, a Jane Addams Peace Association Award for Rain of Fire, an American Library Association Newbery Honor Award for On My Honor, a number of state children’s choice awards and the Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota for the body of her work. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen different languages. She is also the editor and a contributor to the ground-breaking collection of gay and lesbian short stories, Am I Blue? Coming Out from the Silence. Marion was one of the founding faculty for the Vermont College Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults program. mariondanebauer.com

Winner 2019 coretta scott king award




Holly West is an editor at Feiwel & Friends and Swoon Reads. She grew up in southern Kentucky as “that girl who reads a lot” but in 2005 she escaped to NYC where she was lucky enough to land her dream job of working in publishing. She started out in publicity but soon decided that editing would be much more fun. Working closely with Jean Feiwel, she helped to launch Macmillan’s YA imprint Swoon Reads in 2013, and now spends her days editing chapter books, middle grade and YA novels, and even a few (mostly tech and video game related) non-fiction titles.


Brent Taylor is a literary agent at Triada US. He joined the agency in summer 2014 and started building his list that fall. He represents award-winning and critically acclaimed books for young readers and is actively growing his list of picture books, chapter books, middle grade, young adult, and graphic novels. In addition to his work as an agent, he oversees foreign rights for Triada US. You can find him online at www.btaylorbooks.com and on Twitter @btaylorbooks. 



Mari Talkin

Mari Talkin is a graduate of VCFA's Writing for Children and Young Adults program and holds a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. A three-time alum of LoonSong, she has over twenty years' experience teaching creative writing to both young people and adults. Currently, she leads critique sessions for her local chapter of SCBWI and is hard at work revising her young adult novel TRIBELESS for publication. She lives in Santa Barbara with her husband, the writer Erik Talkin, and their young daughter, Mia, who is lovely but, as you might expect of a daughter of two writers, is far too precocious for her own good.



Debby has lived for nearly 40 years in Utqiaġvik, Alaska, the northernmost community in the country. Her books have earned stars from  Booklist and School Library Journal and have been named to a number of lists including Junior Library Guild, ALA/YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, Booklist’s Top 10 First Novels for Youth and Top Historical Fiction for Young Adults, ILA’s Notable Books for a Global Society, NCSS/CBC Notables and Washington Post’s Best. Her most recent novel My Name is Not Easy was a finalist for the National Book Award. She earned an MFA from Vermont College in 2005 and teaches Iñupiaq History at Ilisaġvik College, Alaska’s only tribal college.