Trinity students, Shaw attend Q&A with best-selling author


Photo courtesy of Ms. Shaw

Shaw and McCoy, a student in Shaw’s Honors English 10 Class, pose with a copy of Shepard’s “Wait for Me.” Additional information about Shepard can be found her on social media @sarabooks (Twitter) or @saracshepard (Instagram).

On Thursday, February 16, 2023, English teacher Ms. Shaw and twelve Trinity High School students attended an exclusive Q&A and public lecture with acclaimed author Sara Shepard at Carnegie Hall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Shaw was additionally asked to introduce Shepard at the lecture along with Sophomore Addison McCoy. 

The event was hosted by Words & Pictures through Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures in partnership with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Words and Pictures is an ongoing program that presents recent works by popular children’s and young adult authors to school groups and the general public. Shaw was introduced to the program by her sister, Kelly Shaw, an elementary teacher at Trinity East who had attended similar programs with her students. Her sister assisted Shaw in contacting the organization and involving Trinity with secondary-level opportunities. Trinity’s participation in February’s event marked its third attendance of the annual featured author program. 

The keynote speaker, Sara Shepard, is a #1 New York Times bestselling author who recently moved to the Pittsburgh area. Her newest release, “Wait for Me”, was the featured work, and she spoke in the Q&A session on the, “joys and frustrations of publishing a book and what it takes to create, revise and edit original work,” according to Shaw. 

Other notable works by Shepard include the “Pretty Little Liars” series, “The Perfectionists” and “The Lying Game”, all of which have their own TV series. Additionally, she has penned the young adult novels “The Heiresses,” “The Elizas” and “Reputation”. Shepard’s body of work is more than forty novels strong, and she is also involved in podcasting and screenwriting. 

Given her past experiences with these programs, Shaw knew how important the introductions are to setting the tone for the night; though she is comfortable speaking to large crowds, she was understandably a little nervous to introduce such a prolific author. 

Her excitement at the opportunity outweighed any nervousness; Shaw was thrilled to have the chance to meet and introduce the author herself and even more so for the students she brought with her. 

“Equally important to me was sharing this experience with present and past students from my English as well as creative writing courses. Living close to and attending college in Pittsburgh, I have many ties to the cultural and arts programs in the area. Any time I can share the architecture and history of the Carnegie Library as well as provide the unique experience of an author visit, I do all I can to make it happen,” she said. 

The students who accompanied Shaw were given a free copy of “Wait for Me” and were treated to a pizza party with access to the exclusive Q&A session and a tour of Carnegie Library. Isabella Jobes, Nyah Spurlock, Sophia Zaragoza and Leah Falvo asked questions in the discussion. 

McCoy was given the unique chance to assist Shaw with the introduction. 

Shaw commended McCoy’s participation: “I was incredibly proud of Addison’s delivery during her remarks; it isn’t easy to present in front of a live audience, but she handled it with grace and poise.”

Shaw expressed gratitude for the events presented through Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures, especially since the Allegheny county organization takes the time to reach out to her, a Washington county educator. She was also excited for future events and the possibility to expose more young Trinity writers to published authors. 

In the meantime, Shaw encouraged any aspiring authors to involve themselves in the monthly THS Book Club or sign up for the Creative Writing Workshop in next year’s academic schedule. For those interested in learning more about Shepard, Shaw and McCoy’s introduction can be found here