Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Writers Day Hybrid 2021

Date(s) - 10/30/2021 - 11/07/2021
12:00 am - 11:30 am


This event has already occurred and is no longer open for registration.


Our Writer’s Day In-Person Event

October 30, 2021, 9:30 to 11:30 am

California Lutheran University, Preus-Brandt Forum, 60 West Olsen Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Important Information about this event!
Please read all information *very carefully* as many things have changed from previous events. 

• Cost for this portion of the event is: $15.00 for SCBWI members & $30 for nonmembers. 

Due to COVID 19, this will be a hybrid event, part in-person and part online.

The venue is limiting seating capacity for the in-person event, so the two parts
will be charged separately, and you may register for either or both (depending upon availability).

When the in-person event fills we will have a waiting list which
we will accommodate should the venue lift social distancing/limited capacity rules
or should COVID spread force us to move it online. 

The venue is requiring all attendees to wear masks and no food will be served
or allowed in the auditorium. The in-person portion of this event will NOT be recorded. 

Important: In the event the venue closes to in-person events or local COVID restrictions
prohibit in-person gatherings, the in-person section will be changed
to a webinar and attendees will be notified. 

• If you purchase a written critique you may pick it up at the conclusion of  the in-person event.
For those who are attending only the online webinar, we will mail your critique to you
via the U.S. Post Office after October 30. 


Our Writer’s Day In-Person Speakers
October 30, 2021, 9:30 to 11:30 am

Wendelin Van Draanen
A Peek Behind the Curtain

Wendelin Van Draanen is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels, sold around the world. She has written both series and stand-alone titles including the Edgar-winning 18-book Sammy Keyes series and Flipped, which became a Warner Brothers feature film. Her first non-fiction book, Hope in the Mail: Reflections on Writing and Life, is a craft guide with publishing insights, suitable for anyone who wants to write.

Wendelin will share insights from her twenty years in
publishing, covering things she’s learned the hard way like,

1) Writing your story (including finding ways to avoid the sagging middle and get to a strong ending)

2) Revision (its value and how to learn to love it), and also

3) Give you a peek behind the curtain of traditional publishing (agents, editors, design, publicity, etc.)

Her goal is to help you solve the mysteries of publishing and keep you writing no matter the obstacles.

To Learn more about Wendelin, visit Wendelin Van Draanen




Our Writer’s Day In-Person Spotlight Speakers
October 30, 2021, 9:30 to 11:30 am


Janie Emaus
How to be an Overnight Success After Only Two Decades

Janie Emaus is an author/blogger. In a past life, she wrote Goosebumps and Fear Street books. In this life, her short stories, essays and poems have been published in numerous magazines, websites and anthologies. In addition, she is the author of the young adult novel, Mercury in Retro Love. In 2016, she won honorary mention in the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. Latkes for Santa Claus is Janie’s debut picture book. Her next blended holiday story, Easter Eggs and Matzo Balls will be released in spring 2023.



To learn more about Janie, visit  Janie Emaus 



Annelouise Mahoney
Taking Risks While Finding Your Way: Embrace the Journey, It’s Yours

Annelouise Mahoney has worked in animation for DreamWorks, DIC Animation, Sony, and more. She has also worked for Marvel and Image Comics on such series as Uncanny X-Men, Generation X, and others. This is her first picture book, and it was inspired by the depths of her daughter’s friendships and the many ways they are brave, especially with someone by their side. She loves to explore the forest, can’t resist a cave, and has a lot of love for all those named Julius in her life. Annelouise lives in Southern California with her family.


To learn more about Annelouise, visit  Annelouise Mahoney



Kristen Nordstrom
Write What You Love (Even Though it Might not be Commercial)

Kristen is the debut author of Mimic Makers: Biomimicry Inventors Inspired by Nature. The book is illustrated by Paul Boston and is a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard 2021 selection. Kristen is a founding member and full-time teacher with a Title One, STEAM public elementary school bringing the power of hands-on science to students. Kristen has a Masters Degree in Education from Pepperdine and is completing her National STEM Teaching Certification with Rice University. She’s married to a journalist and has two adult sons


To learn more about Kristen, visit Kristen Nordstrom




Writing Contests and Critiques
Instructions for contests, critiquers’ bios and preferences below


WRITING CONTEST (Optional, free)
Deadline: Friday, September 10 at 11:59pm.  SORRY, DEADLINE TO ENTER HAS PASSED. 

• You must be an SCBWI member and must be registered
for at least one section of Writers’ Day to participate in the writing contest.

• You may submit up to two entries—different categories (see the 3 categories below) only by EMAIL .
Submitted entries must NOT be under contract for publication at the time of submission. Winners of the Most Promising manuscript in each category receive free tuition to Writers’ Day 2022 (which will hopefully be an in-person event).
Special Mention award-winners will receive half-price tuition. Winners will be announced at the webinar portion of this event and on our Facebook page. Entries are not returned, nor are they commented upon.
Our judges, from outside our region, will remain anonymous.

• 3 Categories: Picture Book (text only), Middle Grade, and Young Adult. If your entry is nonfiction or poetry
choose the intended age audience.  Full directions can be found on the contest entry form.

• Manuscripts that are not formatted correctly, do not follow directions, or arrive late will be disqualified.
No changes may be made after submission. Please read the directions on the contest entry form carefully
and ask your questions well in advance of the deadline.

Contact Contest Coordinator Paulina Hill at email address
 on the contest entry form.





WRITTEN CRITIQUES (Optional at additional charge)
Deadline: Must be postmarked by Friday, September 10, using U.S. Postal Mail. SORRY, DEADLINE TO PURCHASE AND SEND HAS PASSED. 

• To receive a paid critique you must be an SCBWI member registered for at least one section of Writers’ Day.
Limit one written critique per person until sold out. You must choose the critique option at the time of registration.
No add-ons after registration will be accepted. No refunds will be given on critiques, nor will changes be accepted.
All critiques are written using the SCBWI gold critique form (there are no in-person meetings with your critiquer).
Those attending the in-person portion of Writers’ Day may pick up their written critique at the end of the event. For those attending only the webinar portion we will mail your critique through the US postal mail after October 30.

CRITIQUES SHOULD BE SENT VIA U.S. postal mail (change from last year).
Do not send via any method that requires a signature. Emailed critiques will not be
accepted and you will not receive a refund.

Be sure to check the critiquer bio page for specifics on what each critiquer will accept.
Please read critiquers’ preferences very carefully.


• Read the directions on the critique submission form carefully and format your manuscript as requested.
Send the first ten manuscript pages (or entire manuscript for picture books—no pictures or dummies).
For middle grade and young adult paste a one page synopsis at the end as the eleventh page.
Synopses are not critiqued, but are for critiquers’ reference.

Contact Critique Coordinator Greg Trine at the email address on the critique submission form.
Do not wait until the deadline to ask questions. 




Deadline: Images must be received by email on Friday, September 10. SORRY, DEADLINE TO ENTER HAS PASSED. 

In the past we had held a Illustrators Gallery in the lobby. This year, because of restrictions we will be creating a video of Illustrators works to be shown on the website and available via QR code for attendees at Writer’s day to view. We had also at previous Writer’s Day, shared Illustrators postcards who participating in the gallery with our speakers. Instead this year we will make the video available to the speakers at the event.

You must be an SCBWI member attending 2021 Writers Day to be included in the Illustrators gallery

• Email one jpeg image (no smaller than 5 x 7 inches and with a 300 ppi resolution)

• Remember to be mindful about equity, inclusion and how you empathetically
represent any characters in the art work that you submit

• Email your image with the  following information: Title of the image, your name
(Optional: If you wish to share your art website or art instagram page)

• Please write Illustrator Gallery/Writers Day 2021 in your subject line

• Email your image to: Illustrator Coordinator, Laura-Susan Thomas: 




At our in-person event on October 30 we’ll have a time where you can meet others interested in forming critique groups. Bring 20 business cards or slips of paper with your name, contact information and genre or age category in which you write to hand out to others interested in forming groups. You do not need to bring any works-in-progress as this is a time for meeting up and connecting, not an actual critique time (you can arrange that later).



Our Writer’s Day



Sunday, November 7, 2021  1:30 PM Pacific Time 

Important Information about this event!
Please read all information *very carefully* as many things have changed from previous events. 

• Cost for this portion of the event is: $15.00 for SCBWI members and $30 for nonmembers. 

 This portion of the event will be online. The recording will be available
24 hours following the event and will remain accessible for 2 weeks following the event. 

• If you purchase a written critique and are attending both the online event and the in-person event
you may pick it up at the conclusion of  the in-person event.  For those who are attending only the online webinars, we will mail your critique to you via the U.S. Post Office after October 30. 


Our Writer’s Day Online Speaker


Megan Ilnitzki
Editor, HarperCollins Children’s Books
The Art of Crafting Compelling Characters.

Megan edits picture books through young adult titles, with an emphasis in middle grade. She is looking for character-driven picture books, commercial middle grade fantasy, and voice-driven contemporary middle grade and teen fiction. Across all age levels, she’s particularly drawn to joyful, magical, and inclusive stories from diverse voices. Her list includes books by Alysa Wishingrad, M.O. Yuksel, Jason June, Rochelle Hassan, Jacquetta Nammar Feldman, Samantha Berger, Breanna Carzoo, George Jreije, and more. She also works on programs for Maurice Sendak and C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, and is part of the team for Soman Chainani’s New York Times bestselling The School for Good and Evil series.






Our Writer’s Day Online Spotlight Speaker


Judith Torres
Quit Whining and Do the Work

Judith Torres has spent her career working with children as a Speech-Language-Pathologist and English as a Second Language Teacher. She also co-founded a non-profit which developed programs for Latinx youth. A member of SCBWI for 20 years, she was a finalist in the We Need Diverse Books Mentorship contest, and winner of the PB Chat Mentorship Contest and Utah Arts Council Juvenile Fiction Writing Contest. Judith self-published three picture books in collaboration with a pajama company that sold coordinating children’s pajamas prior to traditionally publishing
An Alphabet Pet Parade in Topsy-Turvy Town, Population 26.


To learn more about Judith, visit Judith Torres



Writer’s day In-Person and Online policies

Refund Policy: No refund will be given on the webinar portion as attendees will be able to view the recording for 2 weeks following the event. No refunds will be given on critiques. For the in-person portion a refund will be given for cancellations at least 48 hours in advance.

Minor Policy: Minors under the age of 18 are not allowed at events. By registering you affirm you are 18 or older.

Recording Policy: The in-person event will NOT be recorded and attendees are not allowed to videotape the event. The webinar portion will be recorded and available within 24 hours following the event. It will be accessible for 2 weeks.

Guests: Attendees are prohibited from bringing guests. Should a registered attendee require the help of an attendant please notify the RA immediately upon registration by emailing and we will make accommodations.