About TAZ

At The Author Zone, we honor the creativity and talent of published authors from Pittsburgh and beyond. We shine a spotlight on exceptional books, regardless of author background or traditional publishing status. From spellbinding novels and inspiring memoirs, to enlightening non-fiction and insightful poetry—we are committed to providing a space for writers to gather, learn, and celebrate.

Over numerous lunches in 2014, Anna Marie Petrarca Gire (of Women’s Independent Press) and Joyce Faulkner (of Red Engine Press) discussed the need for an awards ceremony for independent authors in an ever-evolving publishing landscape. Along with Yvonne Phillips of FengShuiABC, the women organized an inaugural meet-and-greet event which marked the birth of TAZ.

The first awards ceremony took place at the Rivers Club, drawing 120 attendees who gathered to celebrate, socialize, and hear from three local authors on topics like marketing, idea development, and audience targeting. The event was a resounding success, and has since been hosted at various venues and expanded to include a writing workshop. As of 2024, TAZ commemorates its 10th anniversary.

About CEO Anna Marie

Anna Marie Petrarca Gire owned several businesses in Pittsburgh before moving to Champaign/Urbana Illinois in 1985. In Urbana, she dedicated herself to community service, initially serving as a House Manager at A Woman’s Place, a shelter for survivors of domestic violence. Ms. Gire transitioned to the role of Legal Advocate for Rape Crisis Services with A Woman’s Fund, and played a pivotal role in co-founding the first Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner/Sexual Assault Response Team program. Certified as a Train-the-Trainer, Ms. Gire led initiatives pairing advocates with law enforcement to train officers and detectives statewide.

In March 2003, Ms. Gire launched Women’s Independent Press, a general interest newspaper circulated in both Champaign/Urbana and Pittsburgh. Returning to her roots in Pittsburgh in August of the same year, she embarked on an evolution of the publication, transforming it into the Women’s Yellow Pages (WYP) of Greater Pittsburgh in 2005. Ms. Gire also manages the online Women’s Independent Press magazine, a venture initiated in 2009. In 2013, Ms. Gire released her own book about Sal, her Goffins Cockatoo, titled Sal: A Tale of Many Feathers.

Ms. Gire still resides in Pittsburgh with Sal the Bird, and is the mom of two adult children, Vincent and Leann, and two grandchildren, Heidi and Heather.

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