Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2021 Virtual Fall Conference Schedule


Pre-conference Intensives (all times in EST)

Intensives are small-group classes that encourage attendee participation and focus on the craft of writing. **Extra fee required (Members, $25. Non-members, $40) All sessions will be recorded and available for replay.

Monday, October 18 6-8pm Unsticking Your Plot: A Crash Course in Plot Examination with editor Deeba Zargarpur 

We will workshop and evaluate your novel’s plot using tips and tricks to unstick elements of your plot. We will also discuss what is critical to include in your synopsis/plot overview (and what details perhaps are not).

Tuesday, October 19 6-8pm Chapters What they are and How to Nail that Crucial First One with agent Victoria Wells Arms

A session focusing on that critical first chapter. Victoria Wells Arms will share her expertise on the subject and then the group will spend some time examining great first chapters in beloved well-known books (titles will be shared ahead of time). The last half an hour will be left open for questions.

Wednesday, October 20 6-8pm When Your WIP Wants a Divorce: Reviving a Stalled Project with author Candice Ransom

In this intensive we’ll try back-channeling to revive stalled projects.  We will win our project back by irregular means of communication. We’ll explore Deep Point of View, which leaves you the writer behind to become your character.  We’ll create a teacher’s guide, design the jacket and write flap copy, write a review for The New York Times, put together a school visit presentation.  Finally, we’ll refresh faded setting and strengthen weak structure by beginning a Deep Map.  

Thursday, October 21 6-8pm Language in Service of Story: a hands-on workshop with author Linda Sue Park

Join New York Times Bestselling and Newbery Medal winning author Linda Sue Park for a craft-focused workshop on using language to better your stories.


Free Pre-conference Events and Socials: Friday, October 22 

1:00-4:00pm Virtual Write-In/Draw-In Join fellow conference attendees for an afternoon of creating to start off our conference weekend! Find more info here.

5:00–6:00pm PAL Roundtable 

5:00-6:00pm Illustrator Roundtable

5:00-6:00pm Non Fiction Roundtable

5:00-6:00pm Indie Published Roundtable

5:00-6:00pm New Member and First-Timer Welcome

7:00-9:00pm Trivia Night Social A chance to make friends, play a few games, and meet some of our faculty before Saturday!


Saturday , October 23 (all Saturday sessions will be recorded and available for replay)

9-10am Welcome and an opening talk by author Crystal Allen, Own Your Profession: Curiosity, Passion, and Innovation

10:30-11:30 Revising a Nonfiction Picture Book More Times Than You’ll Imagine with author Candice Ransom, editor Frances Gilbert, agent Victoria Wells Arms

12-1pm  Breakout Sessions

  • Breaking In & Staying In: Crafting Your Illustration Career with Julia Tyler, Designer at Page Street Books
  • Verse Novels: The Power of Poetic Narrative with authors Meg Eden, Cordelia Jensen, Rajani Larocca, Padma Venkatraman, and Laura Shovan

1-2 Lunch Social for Illustrators

2:30-3:30pm Keynote Address by Linda Sue Park, Writing Outside Your Lane

4-5pm Publishing Panel with Editors Kayla Tostevin, Deeba Zargarpur, and Frances Gilbert, and Designer Julia Tyler


Sunday, October 24 (all Sunday sessions will be recorded and available for replay)

9-10am Breakout Sessions

  • Adding Humor to Your Picture Books with author/illustrator Ashley Belote and author Becky Scharnhorst
  • Which Came First: The Character or the Plot? Finding the Right Way to Start Your Novel with authors Wendy Shang and Madelyn Rosenberg

10:30-11:30am Honoring Diverse Voices, A Conversation with authors Valerie Bolling, Lisa Stringfellow, Cindy Rodriguez, and Padma Venkatraman

12-1pm Breakout Sessions

  • So You Want to Write a Series with author Terry Jennings
  • Illustrating Books, from the Studio Floor Up, with illustrator Joe Cepeda

1-2pm STORYTIME LUNCH SOCIAL. Take a break and listen to six Mid-Atlantic authors read from their recently published picture books or novels. Meg Medina will start us off by accepting her Crystal Kite Award and reading from her winning book, Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away.

2:30-3:30pm Facts and Form: Writing Compelling Nonfiction and Historical Fiction for Young People with authors Mary Quattlebaum, Debbie Levy, J Albert Mann, Ginger Park, and Joan Waites

4-5pm Agents Panel with Linda Camacho, Victoria Wells Arms, and Quressa Robinson

6-9pm Virtual Peer Critique Event hosted by SCBWI Mid Atlantic Critique Group Coordinator, Terry Jennings (sign up HERE by Oct 15th)