Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

L.A. Writers Day 2018

Date(s) - 03/03/2018
8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Skirball Cultural Center
2701 North Sepulveda Blvd. - Los Angeles, CA 90049

Online registration for Writers Day has closed. Limited walk-in registration for PINK or BLUE sessions may be available at the door on March 3 (cash or check only, no credit cards).

Time to Level Up!

Take it up a notch in craft and career at Writers Day 2018.
When: Saturday, March 3rd 2018
Where: Herscher Hall, Skirball Center
Please note our new location in Herscher Hall on the Skirball map

It’s a jam-packed day with a morning of inspirational keynotes and an afternoon of informational breakouts. Add to that the opportunity for:

1. Written faculty critique of your first 10 pages (deadline January 10th)
2. A free, pre-conference contest (deadline January 17th)
3. Instagram contest
4. Door prizes
5. Free Parking
6. Lunch included

To find the level that best suits your needs, refer to these guidelines for the Afternoon Session choices:

Level Pink

May have attended other conferences or classes. Working on the first draft of a manuscript, formulating story ideas, setting writing goals, targeting reading audience. Exploring possible writing career options. Seeking information about the publishing industry.

Level Blue

Has attended previous conferences or classes. Revising or has a completed draft. Looking to develop your craft to give your work the extra edge that elevates it above the rest with a focus on story elements such as voice, plot, setting, etc.

Level Green

Has attended conferences before, has a polished manuscript that has gone through critiques and revisions. Ready to seek representation. Looking to enhance your author platform. Includes an 8-minute pitch session (including feedback) to an assigned agent. You will not be able to choose the agent.


$135 for attendees who choose the Pink or Blue level Afternoon Sessions.

$155 for attendees who chose the Green level Afternoon Session.
(At Checkout, choose the main ticket for $135 then select the Green level option under Event Extras – – Afternoon Session. This will add $20 to the main ticket.)

Lunch is included for all levels.

See registration form below for non-member and student prices.

Click for information about:

The 10-page faculty critiques ($45 fee)
The free writing contest
Agent pitch session details (rules, regs and handy tips – very important!)

Please note: Two different volunteers are tracking the writing contest and the fee-based faculty critiques. Therefore, your manuscript must be submitted to BOTH (at the appropriate email addresses) if you wish to participate in both.

Meet the Faculty!

Keynote Speakers and Talk Titles:

Fiona Kenshole
“Your Art Matters – Why You Should Write the Book of Your Heart”

Matt Ringler
“Level Up: A Look at Different Ways to Succeed in Publishing”

Gary D. Schmidt
“What Anthony Knew, and What Writers Should Know”

Afternoon Sessions:

Level Pink

Catherine Linka

Catherine Linka is the author of the award-winning A Girl Called Fearless series. A former children’s and YA book buyer for an independent bookstore, Catherine estimates she’s spent over 300 hours critiquing manuscripts as an MFA candidate, workshop participant, contest judge and writing mentor. Her latest YA novel, What I Want You to See, was acquired by Disney Hyperion and will be published in 2019.

Afternoon Session

“From Character Desire to Satisfying Resolution: Six Ways to Move Your Story Forward”

Kari Sutherland

Kari Sutherland joined the Bradford Literary Agency in 2017 after a decade of experience in publishing from the editorial side. Previously a Senior Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, she has worked with bestselling and critically acclaimed authors on projects such as the #1 New York Times bestselling Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard and the #1 New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard. With her editorial insight and experience with the entire publishing process, Kari is passionate about helping to polish each manuscript and equip her clients for success.

Afternoon Session

“You’re Done! Now the Work Can Begin”
How to edit your own work and get it ready for submission – from beta readers to agent querying to the publishing process.

Level Blue

Matt Ringler

Matt Ringler is a senior editor at Scholastic specializing in chapter book, middle grade, and YA fiction. He has worked on the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine, the Game Changers series by Mike  Lupica, the STAT series by Amar’e Stoudemire, and the Little Rhino series by Ryan and Krystle Howard, as well as The Hero Two Doors Down by Sharon Robinson.

His YA list includes Kill the Boy Band and No Good Deed by New York Times bestselling author Goldy Moldavsky, It’s Not Me, It’s You and The Date to Save by Stephanie Kate Strohm, and The Pros of Cons by Alison Cherry, Lindsay Ribar, and Michelle Schusterman.

Afternoon Session

“Create A Character Workshop”
We need to know our characters if we’re going to use them convincingly in a story. This breakout will provide a quick and fun opportunity to create a new character and get to know them a bit. Bring a pad and a pen and be ready to write!

Gary D. Schmidt

Gary D. Schmidt is the author of novels for middle grade and young adult readers, including The Wednesday Wars– -which won a Newbery Honor- -and Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy– -which won Newbery and Printz Honors- -and Okay for Now– -a National Book Award finalist. His most recent book is Orbiting Jupiter, and he is currently doing the final copyedits for Pay Attention, Carter Jones, a novel due out next spring. He has recently been trying to learn the art of the picture book, and this fall will see the publication of his So Tall Within, a picture book biography of Sojourner Truth, illustrated by Daniel Minter.

Afternoon Session

“The Setting is Not Just a Stage”
A novel is a constellation of craft elements, all of which work together by responding to each other. This is true of setting as it is of plot and character; the setting will augment meaning, juxtapose elements to create irony, contribute to the development of character, and suggest bias in point of view. This breakout session will examine all of these uses–and more–in a work of fiction.

Level Green

  Half of the attendees in Level Green will have their agent pitch session during the morning Keynote speeches while the other half will have their agent pitch session during the afternoon breakout speeches.
Bethany Barton – Afternoon Session Speaker

Bethany Barton is the author & illustrator of numerous children’s books including This Monster Needs a Haircut and This Monster Cannot Wait (Dial/Penguin). Her 2016 book I’m Trying to Love Spiders (Viking/Penguin) has garnered numerous awards, including Children’s Choice Awards 2016 3rd-4th Grade Book of the Year. Her latest, Give Bees A Chance, was released in April of 2017 and was recently nominated for the 2017 SCIBA Book Award. 

A big believer in the power of social media, in 2010 Bethany started an art and writing blog ( that collected thousands of followers, was featured on BuzzFeed, and caught the eye of her now-agent at Writers House.

Bethany lives in Los Angeles with her rad husband and their adorable son. Her “day-job” is working in art & set-decoration departments for film & TV on shows like “The Muppets,” “The Mindy Project,” FX’s “You’re The Worst,” Amazon’s “The Last Tycoon,” and currently, ABC’s “The Middle.” Bethany is represented by Stephen Barr at Writers House. She gives excellent high fives.

Afternoon Session

“Putting the ‘I’ Back In Internet” – An Author/Illustrator’s Guide to Social Media
What does it mean to be an author in the social media age? How do we use internet to inform our work, inspire our creativity, and interact with our audience — all while maintaining time to actually write? Discover tips and tricks to reach those goals.

Fiona Kenshole – Afternoon Session Speaker

Fiona Kenshole loves the midwifery of being an agent, from getting your debut published to doing the movie deal, and at Transatlantic they like to sell your book to publishers all over the world so Fiona works with co-agents in 28 countries, selling worldwide rights.

Fiona has lived in lovely Portland, Oregon for the last ten years. She moved to the US from Oxford, England to join a brand new studio to make animated films. As Vice President at Laika Inc. their first three films were all Oscar nominated: “The Boxtrolls,” “Coraline” and “Paranorman.”

Previously, Fiona was a publisher in the UK where she worked with best-selling names including Michael Bond (Paddington Bear), P.L Travers (Mary Poppins) and the Laureate Michael Morpurgo. She was the British editor for authors including Beverley Cleary, Lois Lowry, Richard Peck, Bruce Coville, Gary Paulsen and Cynthia Voigt, and was nominated for “Editor of the Year” at the British Book Awards.

Fiona’s first job in a children’s book store aged 16. After graduating from Cambridge University, she headed up children’s publishing at Oxford University Press, Hodder (Little, Brown UK), and HarperCollins.

Fiona represents children’s and YA books only, from board books to older teenage. She has a special soft spot for middle grade magical adventure, unreliable narrators, YA romcoms. Most of all she loves anything that surprises her or makes her laugh out loud.

Afternoon Session

“How to Write A Query Pitch So Good It Gets Used As Cover Copy For Your Book”
A good query puts you right at the top of an agent’s reading pile. This interactive workshop will give you tips including writing a good log line and synopsis, what to put in your bio, and show you how a good query can get right to the heart of your work.

Jill Corcoran – Agent Pitch Session

Jill Corcoran is President and Founder of Jill Corcoran Literary Agency. Writer turned literary agent, Jill opened the West Coast arm of Herman Agency in 2009, then launched JCLA in 2014. In the past year, Jill has grown JCLA into an editorially-focused powerhouse with the addition of Timothy Travaglini, formerly director of children’s acquisitions at Open Road, and editor with G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Walker & Company, and Henry Holt and Company, Elizabeth Bennett, Julie Tibbott and Adah Megged Nuchi, formerly editors with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers; Jodell Sadler, formerly of Sadler Literary and founder of KidLit College; Silvia Ariente, formerly from the screenwriting and film production biz, and author Eve Porinchak.

After earning an English degree from Stanford University and a Marketing and Finance MBA from the University of Chicago School of Business, Jill marketed everything from Disney toys to Kellogg’s Cereal to sneakers. She worked for Mattel, LA Gear, Leo Burnett Advertising, and her own company, LAUNCH! New Product Marketing.

Jill created and edited the poetry anthology, Dare to Dream, Change the World (Kane/Miller, 2012), which was honored with the American Library Association’s 2013 Notable Books for a Global Society Award, a California Reading Association’s 2012 Eureka! Silver Honor, and was named a Best Books of 2013 by Bank Street College of Education. 

Seth Fishman – Agent Pitch Session

Seth joined The Gernert Company in 2010 after beginning his career in 2005 as an agent at Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc. Born in Midland, Texas, he graduated from Princeton University and earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. His interests are wide-ranging, but in particular he’s looking for the new voice, the original idea, the entirely breathtaking creative angle in both fiction and nonfiction. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son, and is the author of the picture book A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars and has two more forthcoming from Greenwillow/HarperCollins.  

Karen Grencik – Agent Pitch Session

Karen Grencik became a literary agent because of a man she admired. She wanted the world to know his story, so she set out to make that happen. In 2001 she accomplished her goal when Double Luck, Memoirs of a Chinese Orphan, written by Lu Chi Fa with Becky White, was published by Holiday House. Double Luck received many awards, including The Parents’ Choice Gold Award for Best Nonfiction, and is still in print in hardcover 16 years later. Karen’s next sale, George Hogglesberry, Grade School Alien, written by Sarah Wilson, was acquired by a brand new editor, Abigail Samoun, at Tricycle Press. George Hogglesberry went on to win the coveted Golden Kite Award for Best Picture Book Text. Many other award-winning titles followed. In June 2011, Karen joined forces with Abigail Samoun to open Red Fox Literary, LLC, a boutique agency that specializes in children’s books for all ages and genres. Karen has made the Top 10 Picture Book Agents list for the past four years, and she loves matchmaking authors and their manuscripts with just the right editors in order to create the magic that is at the heart of children’s books.

Hannah Mann – Agent Pitch Session

Hannah Mann grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and has always loved stories. She has a BA in Narrative Studies from the University of Southern California and, as Steven Malk’s assistant at Writer’s House (since 2013), has had the privilege of working closely with a variety of extraordinarily talented bestselling and award-winning authors and illustrators. In 2017 she began actively building her own client list as junior agent, focusing on character-driven Children’s work, from the youngest picture books to mature YA.

Eve Porinchak – Agent Pitch Session

Since earning a degree in Biology/Psychology from UCLA, Eve has lived all over the planet and spent much of her time in and out of jail – as a creative writing teacher for teen inmates. An agent with Jill Corcoran Literary Agency since 2012, Eve also serves as the Volunteer Training Coordinator for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Los Angeles, and is responsible for recruiting and training Guardians ad Litem assigned to foster youth. A former medical student, child welfare social worker, and first grade teacher, Eve writes stories featuring youth she feels have been underrepresented in children’s literature, such as those born into gang life, the abandoned, and the incarcerated who – ironically – have the most fascinating tales to tell. Her first book, One Cut – a haunting nonfiction story with a juvenile justice bent – launched Simon and Schuster’s new young adult true crime line SIMON TRUE in May 2017. 

Deborah Warren – Agent Pitch Session

Deborah Warren founded East/West Literary Agency, Inc. in 2000, after 17 years at Harcourt, and has a strong background in sales and marketing. She’s a strategist, incorporating long-term goals to help E/W clients not only grow a career, but to flourish within that career. With over 38 years of experience in the publishing industry, and over 18 years at the helm of the Agency, Deborah not only represents authors and illustrators of picture books including Jim Averbeck (of the Sophia trilogy launched by One Word for Sophia), the Literary Trust of Anna Dewdney (the Llama Llama franchise), Kimberly and James Dean (of the Pete the Cat franchise), Gianna Marino (Night Animals), Antoinette Portis (Now), and Audrey and Don Wood (The Napping House), she represents authors and illustrators—both debut and established—in the board book, concept, novelty, multicultural, non-fiction, middle-grade and young adult markets.

Deborah’s looking to fall in love with character-driven stories with heart, enhanced by a hook, told in a unique, fresh or distinctive way. Her sweet spots: short, quirky picture books and smartly layered, memorable and insightful MG and YA fiction. And she LOVES finding debut talent – in fact, it’s a bit of a specialty for the Agency.

She’s particularly drawn to author/illustrators and appreciates a wide range of illustration styles. Deborah also connects with the look and feel and concept of classic “Star Trek” and “Twilight Zone” episodes … so she’s up to see anything in that genre. OH; and re-imaginings of fairy tales, too, like Beauty and the Beast and The Princess Bride. And anything that offers diverse points of view.

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Faculty for Writers Day 2018 is subject to change


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Please note: $30 administrative charge for refunds before the refund deadline of February 17, 2018. E-mail your refund request to the Los Angeles region:
While we do not anticipate any issues, the faculty and schedule times are subject to change without notice.