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


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.






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Whether Regional events or the International Conference, all members receive a discount.

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      The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy
      To register for an SCBWI event, you are required to acknowledge our Anti-Harassment Policy.
      Scroll to the bottom to read the policy.

      You will then be able to click the checkbox indicating that you have read our policy.


      The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is dedicated to providing a safe and harassment-free environment for all of its members and will take any and all necessary steps to address and prevent harassment at events associated with SCBWI. Harassment under this policy may include verbal comments, written comments, displayed images, or behaviors such as intimidation, stalking, body policing, unwelcome photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, unwelcome sexual attention or advances, and bullying or coercion. 

      The SCBWI Member Anti-Harassment Policy applies to all situations of harassment or intimidation at any SCBWI Event. An “SCBWI Event” is any event, meeting or activity that is authorized by an SCBWI Regional Manager to be sponsored by, or affiliated with, SCBWI. SCBWI events may include, if properly authorized by an SCBWI Regional Manager, the Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles, the Annual Winter Conference in New York, regional conferences, meetings and meet-ups. This SCBWI Member Anti-Harassment Policy also applies to “SCBWI On-Line Interactions,” which include Zooms, Webinars, online meetings, communications and content posted on, or directed towards, SCBWI’s Social Media accounts or sent through any of the communication tools available on SCBWI’s website, SCBWI’s Social Media accounts under this policy include the official SCBWI accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and LinkedIn.


      Code of Conduct

      All participants in SCBWI Events and SCBWI On-Line Interactions, including faculty, volunteers, staff, and attendees, are required to comply with the following anti-harassment code of conduct. The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy prohibits harassment, including but not limited to the following behaviors:

      • Intimidation, stalking, or following;
      • Sustained disruption of talks or other events;
      • Unwelcome sexual attention or advances;
      • Abusive verbal comments;
      • Quid pro quo– sexual harassment that occurs when one in an authority position requests sex or a sexual relationship in exchange for professional consideration or favors;.
      • Harmful or prejudicial verbal comments, written comments, or visual images related to gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, religion, socio-economic status, disability, age, appearance, body size, or other personal characteristics;
      • Inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images
      • Unwelcome or uninvited attention or contact
      • Physical assault (including unwelcome touching or groping);
      • Real or implied threat of physical harm;
      • Real or implied threat of professional or financial damage or harm;
      • Body policing, unwelcome photography or recording;
      • Doxing
      • Harassment does not include respectful disagreement or reasonable and respectful critique made in good faith. SCBWI continues to welcome and appreciate presentation of appropriate controversial ideas, free speech, and creative artistic expression. SCBWI encourages members to hold one another accountable to the Code of Conduct as stated in this part of the Policy and to take the perspectives of others seriously when a disagreement arises.

      We expect all participants at SCBWI activities, meetings, and networking events to abide by this Anti-Harassment Policy in all venues, including sanctioned events, ancillary events, unofficial events, and social gatherings.


      Reporting Procedures

      Any person who believes there has been a violation of the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy can report the offense in one or all of the following ways:

      • Certain SCBWI Events, including the Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles and the Annual Winter Conference in New York, will designate one or more Safety Team Members who will be available during the conference to provide a safe space for members to report an incident. The Safety Team Member will report directly to the conference director or regional advisor in charge.
      • A complainant may submit a complaint under this policy to the Director of Community Marketing and Engagement, the Director of Illustration and Artist Programs and/or your Regional Manager.
      • SCBWI has a dedicated email address for reporting any potential incident of harassment under this policy. Anyone who chooses to report an incident can find the Anti-Harassment Report Form on the SCBWI website (About > Anti-Harassment) or use the following link: Reports should include the substance of the complaint, date, and whenever possible, a list of witnesses or a reference to the relevant URLs, if the offense occurred through an SCWBI On-Line Interaction.

      SCBWI will investigate all complaints subject to the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy. If the policy applies, SCBWI will investigate the matter and take whatever action is necessary and appropriate to prevent a recurrence and protect the environment at SCWBI Events. If a complaint is made anonymously, please note that SCBWI will not be able to follow up on an anonymous report with the complainant directly, as SCBWI will not have contact information for the anonymous complainant. Moreover, anonymous complaints may hinder SCBWI’s ability to investigate the complaint.  SCBWI will take steps to protect the confidentiality of the complaint, to the extent possible.  However, complete confidentiality may not be possible in all circumstances.  SCBWI will make every attempt to respond to a named complainant in a timely fashion.

      If appropriate, SCBWI may report the incident to local authorities.



      The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy prohibits retaliation against a member of the SCBWI community for reporting harassment, intimidation or discrimination, or for participating in an investigation relating to any complaint made under this policy. The sanctions for retaliation are the same sanctions available to address any other violation of the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy.



      SCBWI takes all allegations of harassment seriously. Complaints will be investigated by SCWBI if they fall within the scope of SCWBI’s Anti-Harassment Policy. Depending on the results of the investigation, SCWBI will determine whether a sanction is appropriate.

      Sanctions for faculty, speakers, volunteers, staff or board members may include any of the following:

      • warning the party involved that the particular behavior is inappropriate and must be ceased;
      • immediate removal from a particular event;
      • denial of access to SCBWI spaces and venues on a temporary or permanent basis;
      • withholding of a contracted honorarium;
      • prohibition from future speaking engagements;
      • prohibition from future faculty appointments;
      • expulsion from SCBWI; and/or
      • removal from the Board of Advisors or Board of Directors, when appropriate.

      Sanctions for attendees, members, and guests can include any of the following:

      • warning the party involved that specified behavior is inappropriate and must be ceased;
      • immediate removal from a particular event, without refund;
      • denial of access to SCBWI spaces and venues on a permanent or temporary basis;
      • termination of SCBWI membership, without refund; and/or
      • prohibition of future SCBWI membership.

      If the conduct at issue involves one of SCBWI’s employees, SCBWI will utilize whatever corrective action is appropriate based on the result of the investigation and subject to SCBWI employment policies and practices.



      SCBWI will make every reasonable effort to conduct all investigations into allegations of harassment, intimidation, or discrimination in a manner that will protect the confidentiality of all parties and witnesses. Notwithstanding the above, confidentiality is not absolute, and those with a legitimate business reason to know and be informed of the allegations will be so informed. Parties to the complaint should treat the matter under investigation with discretion and respect the reputation of all parties involved.


      If you wish to file a complaint or an anonymous complaint, CLICK HERE to access the Anti-harassment Report Form.

      If you have questions regarding this policy, you may send an email to Please include the words "Anti-Harassment Policy" in the subject line. 


      I have read and accepted the SCBWI Anti-Harassment policy.