Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

L.A. Writers Day 2019

Date(s) - 03/09/2019
8:00 am - 4:30 pm

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

Who’s Reading? Keeping It Fresh for Today’s Generation

When: Saturday, March 9th 2019
Where: Skirball Cultural Center – Magnin Auditorium and Hass Conference Center
Online registration has closed. A limited number of walk-ins will be admitted on the day of the event.

Knowing your target audience sounds simple but are you really in touch with today’s readers – and editors? Our faculty will share insights, knowledge and advice to keep pace with those savvy end-users. Join us for a morning of keynotes and a panel and an afternoon of informational breakouts.

Extras and opportunities:

1. Written faculty review of your first 10 pages ($45 fee, deadline January 6th, 2019)
2. A free, pre-conference contest (deadline January 4th, 2019)
3. Instagram contest
4. Door prizes
5. Free parking
6. Lunch included

Click for information about:

Manuscript reviews ($45 fee)
The free writing contest
C. Harrington Scholarship

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

– Early Bird Special (members only, before January 15th 11:59 p.m.): $120
– Regular Member (after January 15th): $135
– Non-Member: $175
– 10% discount will automatically apply for Student SCBWI members at check out.

Keynote Speakers:

Frances Gilbert
Dear Author: This Is Why I Rejected Your Manuscript
Learn from an editor the many reasons why picture book manuscripts get rejected – some of which you can address in your writing and pitches, some of which are entirely out of your hands. We all get rejected – now learn the real reason why!

Tamora Pierce
Teen Readers Are Infectious
How books are spread among families and friendships

Cornelia Funke
A Conversation with Cornelia Funke
Your chance to chat with this award-winning author, illustrator and philanthropist.

Panel Topic:

TMI: How Much is Too Much?
We all agree that children need stories to help them cope. But what exactly are they coping with these days and what books are they reaching for? A conversation with Lee Wind, Cathie Chenoweth, Mona White and Frances Gilbert.

Breakout Sessions (While registering for Writers Day, choose two of the following sessions to attend) :

Frances Gilbert
Inside the Publisher’s Office: How Your Book Gets Acquired, Developed, and Sold
What happens when your agent submits your manuscript? And what happens after it gets accepted? Go behind the scenes of one of the “Big Five” publishers and learn how a book moves from manuscript to book store shelves.

Tamora Pierce
Fantasy: It’s More Real Than You Think
How elements of the everyday world appear in fantasy.

Abigail Samoun
Where to Begin?
How to craft irresistible openers.

Alexis O’Neill
School Visits: Juicy Research and Best Practices
There’s fresh new research on the school visit front. Find out what can help you and your readers have engaging, meaningful, and memorable in-person experiences. This session is designed for published authors & illustrators or those who have a pub date for an upcoming book.

Meet the Faculty!

Frances Gilbert – Editor-in-Chief, Doubleday Books for Young Readers

Frances Gilbert started her career in children’s books when she was still a kid, working in the children’s department of her town library throughout high school. After graduating from university with an M.A. in English, Frances’s first job in publishing was as a Book Club Editor at Scholastic Canada in Toronto. She moved to New York in 2000 to set up a children’s editorial division at Sterling Publishing, where she stayed till 2012. Frances then moved to Random House Children’s Books, where she is Editor-in-Chief of Doubleday Books for Young Readers. Titles she has acquired and edited include: The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine, by Mark Twain, Philip Stead, and Erin Stead; I Don’t Want to Be a Frog, by Dev Petty and Mike Boldt; the Hello, World! board book series, by Jill McDonald; and Wordy Birdy, by Tammi Sauer and Dave Mottram.

In addition to editing children’s books, Frances also writes them: She is the author of I Love Pink (Step Into Reading), an abridgment of The Secret Garden (Little Golden Books), and the forthcoming titles Go, Girls, Go! (Beach Lane/S&S); I Love My Tutu (Step Into Reading); and I Will Always Be Your Bunny (Doubleday). She lives in Brooklyn with her fuzzy cats Jack and Teddy. Her loves include: curling, swimming, tea, crime fiction, The Great British Bake-Off, Coronation Street, and musical theatre.

Tamora Pierce – Author

Tamora Pierce is the winner of the 2013 Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement in Young Adult Literature, the RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award, and the 2005 Skylark Edward E. Smith Memorial Award for Imaginative Fiction. She is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of more than 28 fantasy novels for teenagers, and has been Guest of Honor at numerous conventions, including Worldcon 2016. She has written comic books, radio plays, articles, and short stories, and currently devotes her minimal free time to local feline rescue. Tortall: A Spy’s Guide, a collaborative effort with other experts on her Tortall universe, came out in October 2017. It was followed in February 2018 by the first in a three-book Tortall series, Tempests and Slaughter. Tammy lives in central New York with her husband Tim Liebe and their uncountable number of cats, two parakeets, and the various freeloading wildlife that reside in their back yard.  You may find her at, or on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter.

Cornelia Funke – Storyteller and Illustrator

Cornelia Funke is published all over the world in so many languages, that she feels sometimes as if she got lost in her own stories. She is German but lives in Malibu, CA – and in all the worlds she explores with her readers. Some of Cornelia’s books include The Thief Lord, the Inkheart trilogy, Dragon Rider, Princess Pigsty and The Book No One Ever Read.

Abigail Samoun – Author and Co-Founder of Red Fox Literary

Abigail Samoun was an in-house children’s book editor for over ten years, working on a wide range of projects, from board books to young adult novels. Her books received such honors as the CCBC Charlotte Zolotow award, the New York Public Library Ezra Jack Keats award, and the Pura Belpre. In 2011, Abigail made the transition from editing to agenting, co-founding Red Fox Literary with Karen Grencik. She is the author several children’s books, including What’s In Your Purse? (Chronicle Books, 2014), The Little Traveler series (Sterling Publishing, 2014), and Mind Afire, an illustrated biography of inventor Nikola Tesla. Abigail lives in Sonoma, California, with her entomologist husband, two curious little boys, a chihuahua, and a gaggle of chickens.

Alexis O’Neill – Children’s Book Author, School Visit Expert, Writing Teacher

Since 2006, Alexis O’Neill’s column for the SCBWI Bulletin, “The Truth About School Visits,” has been helping authors and illustrators navigate the craft and business of doing school visits and other public appearances as has her blog, A veteran teacher and popular school visit presenter, Alexis is the author of The Recess Queen, The Kite That Bridged Two Nations, and other books. She was awarded the California Reading Association’s Dr. Marcus Foster Memorial Award for making significant and outstanding contributions to reading throughout California. You can find her at and

Cathie Chenoweth – School Liaison for the Los Angeles Public Library system

Cathie Chenoweth is the School Liaison for the Los Angeles Public Library system. Prior to her current position, she was an elementary school librarian and former elementary school teacher. She has earned her BA in Liberal Studies and Teaching Credentials from California State University Fullerton and her MLIS from San Jose State University.

Lee Wind – Author and Blogger

Lee Wind is the author of the young adult novel, Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill, named a BookLife Prize Semi-Finalist, one of Publishers Weekly’s Top Five Independently Published Middle Grade and Young Adult Books of 2018.

Lee is the founding blogger and publisher of I’m Here. I’m Queer. What The Hell Do I Read?, an award-winning website about books, culture, and empowerment for Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Questioning and Queer youth, and their Allies. For over 11 years, readers from 100-plus countries have racked up 2.6 million page views—and counting! 

In his “Clark Kent” jobs, Lee is the director of marketing and programming at the Independent Book Publishers Association and the official blogger for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. His Superhero job is writing, inspired by our world’s amazing—and untold—LGBTQ history. 

Lee lives in Los Angeles with his husband and their teenage daughter. Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill is his debut novel. Visit him online at

Mona White – Dean of Student Safety and Wellness for Las Virgenes Unified School District

Mona White is currently Dean of Student Safety and Wellness for Las Virgenes Unified School District. Her job encompasses wellness education, family and student counseling, drug and alcohol counseling, and program creation and implementation. As a licensed marriage and family therapist and formerly a middle school counselor, she has worked with children, teens and their families for over 30 years.

Nephele Tempest – Literary Agent at Knight Literary Agency

Nephele Tempest joined The Knight Agency in January, 2005, opening the Los Angeles-area office. As an agent, she works with a number of talented writers, assisting them to hone their skills and build their careers. Nephele comes from a diverse publishing and finance background, having previously worked on the editorial side of the business, as well as for several major New York investment firms as a financial advisor and later a financial marketing and communications writer. Her previous experience provided her with insight into multiple aspects of the publishing industry.

Nephele continues to actively build her client list and looks for work with both strong, well-developed characters and a story that pulls her in and won’t let go. She is seeking women’s fiction, historical fiction, single-title romance, fantasy and science fiction, and both young adult and middle grade fiction of any sub-genre.

Nephele Tempest is one of the faculty members helping with manuscript reviews.

Stephanie Guerdan – Assistant Editor at Harper Collins

Stephanie Guerdan came to HarperCollins in 2017 following jobs at a literary agency and as a bookseller. Some of the titles she has worked on include New York Times best-selling author Natalie Lloyd’s Problim Children trilogy, critically acclaimed author Tiffany D. Jackson’s sophomore novel Monday’s Not Coming, and The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, the sequel to the Stonewall Honor-winning The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. She is interested primarily in middle grade and YA, especially in speculative genres and graphic novel formats, with a focus on inclusive stories from fresh voices.

Stephanie Guerdan is one of the faculty members helping with manuscript reviews. She will not be on-site the day of Writers Day.

Faculty for Writers Day 2019 is subject to change

Click here for the SCBWI anti-harassment policy


Please note: $30 administrative charge for refunds before the refund deadline of February 17, 2019. E-mail your refund request to the Los Angeles region:

Online registration has closed. A limited number of walk-ins will be admitted on the day of the event.