Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Writers & Illustrators Day

Date(s) - 02/25/2017
8:15 am - 4:00 pm

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

Welcome to Writers & Illustrators Day 2017!

Online registration has closed.

We are trying on a ‘new look’ for our spring event. We’re aiming for all-inclusive member style with fabulous, inspirational morning keynotes and informational afternoon breakouts. Our faculty has worked hard to tailor something for every taste.

Attendees can mix and match two faculty sessions after a tantalizing lunch – all within the cost of the event.  Sessions are repeated to allow broader availability, but snag your faves early.

But wait! Did we mention the amazing opportunity to have your ‘creative wardrobe’ appraised by an industry professional? On-site and remote faculty allows us to offer even more professional critiques both of artwork and manuscript pages. Finally, every SCBWI event needs competition accessories for authors and illustrators! We feel sure you’ll find something that fits.

Our extensive faculty features on-site speakers and breakout session leaders as well as remote portfolio and manuscript reviewers.

Our fabulous faculty lineup:

Melissa Manlove
Keynote Speaker, Breakout Session Speaker, Manuscript Critique Faculty, Illustration Contest Judge

Melissa Manlove is an Editor at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. She has been with Chronicle for 12 years. Her acquisitions tend to be all ages in nonfiction; ages 0-8 for fiction. When acquiring, she looks for fresh takes on familiar topics as well as the new and unusual. An effective approach and strong, graceful writing are important to her. She has 17 years of children’s bookselling experience.

Pam Gruber
Keynote Speaker, Breakout Session Speaker, Manuscript Critique Faculty

Pam Gruber is a Senior Editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers where she has worked on everything from novelty and picture books to novels. She primarily acquires middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction, and maintains a varied list, including the hybrid graphic novel middle grade series VIP by Jen Calonita, acclaimed contemporary YA novels Now Is the Time for Running by Michael Williams and Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom, and the sci-fi series-turned-TV show The 100 by Kass Morgan. She is also excited to be the editor of forthcoming titles such as YouTuber/Paralympian/motivational speaker Josh Sundquist’s debut novel, Love and First Sight, and New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray’s new space opera, Defy the Stars. Pam is a graduate of NYU’s Gallatin School, where she studied the relationship between imagery and folklore — a combination tailor-made for children’s publishing and one that has inspired an affinity for comic books. She loves alternate histories, off-beat teen romances, witty voices that can make her laugh and cry simultaneously, and stories of characters being asked to see their world in a different way.

Lisa Cron
Keynote Speaker, Breakout Session Speaker

Lisa Cron is the author of Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers From the Very First Sentence and Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere) both published by Ten Speed Press. Her video tutorial Writing Fundamentals: The Craft of Story can be found at, and her TEDx talk, Wired for Story, opened Furman University’s 2014 TEDx conference, Stories: The Common Thread of Our Humanity.

Lisa has worked in publishing at W.W. Norton, as an agent at the Angela Rinaldi Literary Agency, as a producer on shows for Showtime and Court TV, and as a story consultant for Warner Brothers and the William Morris Agency. Since 2006, she’s been an instructor in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, and she is on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts MFA program in Visual Narrative in New York City. She is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences, schools and universities. In her work as a story coach, Lisa helps writers wrangle the story in their head onto the page. She can be reached at

Clelia Gore
Breakout Session Speaker, Manuscript Critique Faculty, Illustration Contest Judge

Clelia Gore heads the kid lit division at Martin Literary Management. Clelia is a former attorney from New York City, but much prefers her life in Seattle representing talented authors and illustrators and helping bring quality books to children. Clelia doles out her observations, industry news, and writer tips on Twitter at @MadmoiselleClel and on her blog at You can read more about her and the agency at

Jessica MacLeish
Remote Manuscript Critique Faculty

Jessica MacLeish grew up in the suburbs of New York City, spent five years in New Orleans getting her B.A. and M.A., and then returned to New York, where she now lives and works as an Associate Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books. Jessica works on a list that includes novels and picture books by Walter Dean Myers and Neil Gaiman; books for all ages by Kwame Alexander; middle grade and YA novels by Sally J. Pla, Darcy Miller, Fred Aceves, Amy Giles, Lindsey Klingele, Elizabeth Byrne; and more. Outside of work (and aside from reading for fun), Jessica also goes to yoga, runs, writes, draws, and watches, analyzes, and obsesses over assorted TV shows & movies. That makes it sound like Jessica’s a Renaissance girl, but she’s not—for one thing, she can’t cook to save her life (well, okay, maybe to save her life she could scrounge something up).

Karina Granda
Remote Portfolio Critique Faculty

Karina Granda is a Senior Designer at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers where she designs and art directs Young Adult and Middle Grade projects. She has worked on numerous high-profile books including the upcoming Stranger than Fanfiction by Chris Colfer, and the New York Times bestseller, Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch. She previously worked at Simon & Schuster where she also worked on Picture Books and heavily-illustrated projects such as Snail Has Lunch, Buck’s Tooth, and the new additions to and repackages of the Frank Asch’s Bear Book and Moonbear series. When not art directing and designing, she likes to take walks around her Bushwick neighborhood, visit museums, watch reality TV, and read Yelp reviews for her next eating adventure. You can find her work at

Denise Cronin
Remote Portfolio Critique Faculty

Denise Cronin is an art director and vice president, who with a staff of four, is responsible for the illustration and design of Viking Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group. She has long been involved in creating books for children, starting with The Dial Press, then Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, and for the last 20 years, with Viking. Denise works with many talented artists, writers, designers, and editors, and thoroughly enjoys the collaborative nature of publishing.

Eliza Wheeler
Illustration Contest Judge, 2016 Crystal Kite Winner

Eliza Wheeler is the author-illustrator of Miss Maple’s Seeds (Penguin), which debuted on the New York Times Best Seller list. She has also illustrated other children’s books, including Alison McGhee’s Tell Me A Tattoo Story (Chronicle), Pat Zietlow Miller’s Wherever You Go (Little Brown), and Holly Black’s Newbery Honor winning Doll Bones (Simon & Schuster). Eliza received the SCBWI Grand Prize Award for best portfolio at the 2011 National Conference. See her work at

Brian Won
Illustration Contest Judge, 2016 Crystal Kite Winner

Brian Won (author/illustrator, Los Angeles) wore many hats as a busboy, shoe salesman, library shelver, art director, and designer before making children’s books. His books include Hooray for Hat!, Outer Space Bedtime Race, and the upcoming Spunky Monkey.  A Chicago native, Brian graduated from California’s Art Center College of Design with an honorary ninth term before co-founding National Television, a design and animation company.  Brian’s awards include the Silver Medal by the Society of Illustrators and the 2012 Mentorship Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Brian hangs his hats at

Lisa Yoskowitz
Remote Manuscript Critique Faculty

Lisa Yoskowitz is an Executive Editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, where she acquires and edits middle grade and YA fiction and narrative nonfiction, such as Bad Luck by Pseudonymous Bosch and Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse. Before LBYR, she worked on children’s books across genres and age ranges at Dutton and Disney-Hyperion, with authors including Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Michael Fry, Tamara Ireland Stone, and Elizabeth Wein. Drawn to voice- and character-driven stories, Lisa has a soft spot for misfit, maverick, and mischief-making characters.

Molly O’Neill
Remote Manuscript Critique Faculty

Molly O’Neill is a literary agent at Waxman Leavell Literary Agent. Prior to becoming an agent, she spent thirteen years working in various roles inside the publishing industry: as an Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, where she acquired Veronica Roth’s juggernaut Divergent series, among many other fantastic projects; as Head of Editorial at Storybird, a publishing/tech start-up; and in School & Library Marketing at both HarperCollins and Clarion Books. She loves the creative process and early-stage project development, is invigorated by business strategy and entrepreneurial thinking, and is fascinated by the intersections of art, commerce, creativity, and innovation. Molly is especially passionate about the people behind books, and takes pride in discovering and evangelizing talented authors and illustrators, expanding the global reach of their work, and finding new ways to build connections and community among creators, readers, stories, and their champions.

Matt Ringler
Remote Manuscript Critique Faculty

Matt Ringler is a senior editor at Scholastic specializing in chapter book, middle grade, and YA fiction. He is the editor of 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 Howard. His YA list includes the New York Times Bestseller Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky and It’s Not Me, It’s You by Stephanie Kate Strohm.

Julia Maguire
Remote Manuscript Critique Faculty

Julia Maguire grew up in upstate New York and attended college at UMASS Amherst. While receiving her MS in Publishing at NYU, she interned at Bloomsbury and fell in love with working in children's books. She is currently an Editor at Knopf Books for Young Readers.

Previously, Julia was at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers where she worked on many wonderful picture books, including the upcoming SOMETHING EXTRAORDINARY by Ben Clanton, PIG AND PUG by Lynne Berry, illustrated by Gemma Correll as well as WHEN A DAD SAYS 'I LOVE YOU' by Douglas Wood, illustrated by Jennifer Bell and novels including THE EVER AFTERS series by Shelby Bach, RUBY GOLDBERG'S BRIGHT IDEA by Anna Humphrey and THE EVER EXPANDING UNIVERSE series by Marty Leicht and Isla Neal. She also worked on novels by Kieran Scott, Jenny Han and Becca Fitzpatrick. She is drawn to realistic stories with characters that she would like to be friends with and picture books that are silly but full of heart.

Choose TWO of the following breakout sessions to attend after lunch:

Melissa Manlove
“What We Say Without Saying: Developing Voice in the Text and Art of Picture Books”
In this talk we’ll unpack the many elements of voice—both for authors and illustrators. We’ll listen to and look at examples from current picture books, and come away with a toolbox of techniques that can serve and celebrate your narrative.

Clelia Gore
“The Interplay Between Art and Text in Picture Books”
Discover the secret balance between text and illustration in this session geared towards artists, writers and those working in both disciplines. Writers: learn how to craft stories with visual elements in mind. Illustrators: learn how to use visual elements to enhance story.

Lisa Cron
“A Readers Manifesto – 16 Hardwired Expectations Every Reader Brings to Every Story They Read”
We’re hardwired to come to every story tacitly asking one question: what am I going to learn that will help me make it through the night? We’re looking for inside intel on how to best navigate the unpredictable, scary, beautiful world we live in. We’re hungry for insight into what people do when push comes to shove and, most importantly, why. As a result, there’s a set of specific expectations by which we unconsciously evaluate every story — expectations that have nothing to do with the surface plot or how beautifully the novel is written. By decoding our hardwired expectations one by one — which is precisely what we’ll do in this session – you’ll walk away with inside intel that will enable you to create a novel that will rivet readers from the very first sentence.

Pam Gruber
Immersive World-building
I love when a book’s setting feels almost like another character in the story. This intensive will be a discussion of successful world-building techniques for realistic, fantastic, or sci-fi settings in MG/YA, with a hands-on exercise to practice and discuss as a group.


We have switched from PayPal to for our credit card processing. It is the only option to pay for this event. We hope this will eliminate the issues experienced with PayPal during the registration process. is the service the main office uses for Summer and Winter Conference.
We are not responsible for any technical difficulties that may arise during registration.

Please note: $30 administrative charge for refunds before the refund deadline of February 15, 2017. 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.

This event is fully booked.