Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2017 Conference Faculty: Stefanie Von Borstel

Meet the faculty of the 2017 Austin SCBWI Writers & Illustrators Working Conference. We’ve asked all our faculty members to answer 4 quick questions so we can get to know them better.

Stefanie Von Borstel, Literary Agent, Full Circle Literary

Stefanie Von Borstel is a literary agent and co-founder of Full Circle Literary. She was born and raised in San Antonio then moved to California where she has been working in children’s books publishing for 20+ years. Prior to agenting, she worked in editorial and marketing with Penguin and Harcourt Children’s Books.
Children’s books she has represented have been awarded the Charlotte Zolotow Award for Best Picture Book, Pura Belpré Awards and Honors, The Christopher Award, NCTE Orbis Pictus Honor for Best Nonfiction, and the Agatha Award for Best Mystery Novel. Stefanie also represents a growing list of illustrators including John Parra, Susie Ghahremani, Lisa Congdon, Rafael López, and Juana Martinez-Neal.
Based in San Diego and New York, Full Circle Literary works with both award-winning veteran and debut writers and artists and our team has a knack for finding and developing new and diverse talent. Visit us at and twitter @fullcirclelit

Stefanie Von Borstel
Stefanie Von Borstel

What attracted you to children’s books?

Growing up in a large Mexican American family in San Antonio, we spent lots of time at the San Pedro Park Library. For my parents, the library was quiet, air-conditioned and free. For me, books became best friends as I discovered new friends and worlds. Throughout my school years, I always had to be at the top in reading logs and studied English lit in college. An internship at an imprint of Penguin led me to my first experience in publishing — reading slush pile and testing new MadLibs! Publishing was fun! I went on to work at Harcourt Children’s Books for 7 years and have worked as a literary agent for more than a decade.

What’s the best part of your job?

Discovering a new writer or artist is the best part of my job! I still remember reading the first few pages of what later became CONFETTI GIRL at the end of the day at a Writer’s Conference. The next morning, I tracked down Diana López at the conference breakfast only to hear that she hadn’t written more than the few pages she had shared. “Write it,” I said. And happily, she did! Working with new writers and telling them their book will be in the hands of young readers—it never gets old!

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part of my job is finding enough time to read during the day! My days of hanging out for hours in the library, as I did as a child, are long gone. I wish I had more free hours to read new books and submissions. Happily, I have a son in 3rd grade and we have tons of fun reading aloud to each other. In submissions, I am especially looking for younger middle grade books with contemporary characters that will keep active boys hooked page after page. Writers take note!

What’s the best piece of advice you were given that helped drive your career?

You don’t have to take the typical path to publishing! I was born in south Texas and have worked in west coast publishing my entire career. I didn’t move to NYC or take an expensive publishing course to break into the publishing industry. A love of books led me to an internship with a Publisher. I learned how books were made and networked with editors and publishers. I persisted to find a job in publishing at Harcourt so I could stay on the west coast and then co-founded my own literary agency 12 years ago. Family is important to me and I’m able to blend motherhood and agenting into one, all from the sunny west coast! Make your own choices then, work hard and make it happen.

Come see Stefanie at the 2017 Austin SCBWI conference, May 20-21, 2017