2017 Many Voices Outstanding Manuscript Prize


Congratulations to Lily Frusciante, selected by Marietta Zacker, for her manuscript
The Troublemakers.


SCBWI-Illinois is proud to announce the second year of the Many Voices Outstanding Manuscript Prize, to be awarded to a manuscript that features a diverse main character or is written by a diverse author. This opportunity is open to SCBWI-Illinois members. (We use the definition of "diverse" as provided by We Need Diverse Books: click HERE.) The winner will receive a written critique of his/her submission, as well as a 30-minute phone/Skype call with the judge.

For 2017, the judge of the Many Voices Outstanding Manuscript Prize will be Marietta Zacker, agent with the Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency.


Marietta 2016 2 Marietta has worked with books, authors and illustrators throughout her career — studying, creating, editing, marketing, teaching and selling. She supports  independent bookselling, believes in libraries and takes pride in her work as a Latina in the world of publishing. She is always on the lookout for visual and narrative  stories that reflect the world we live in, not the bubbles in which we put ourselves. She loves books that make readers feel and shies away from those that set out  to teach the reader a lesson. Whether she is reading a young adult novel, a middle grade novel or a picture book, Marietta looks for a book in which young readers  can identify with the actions and reactions of the characters, not the perspectives of the author or illustrator. Diversity in the story must be inherent and authentic,  not trendy. She is thrilled to shine the spotlight on soulful, insightful, well-crafted, literary or commercial projects aimed at any age group from young adult to the  youngest of readers. www.galltzacker.com; twitter: @agentzacker; instagram: @galltzacker

Before submitting, you are encouraged to view the following resource lists:

Writing Diverse Characters: sources

Diversity Resource List


Logistics of Submitting:

- Beginning February 15, 2017, manuscripts may be emailed to Sara Shacter (illinois-ara@scbwi.org). See "Manuscript Guidelines" below.

- Manuscripts must be received by midnight on March 15, 2017. The application period is now closed.  Look for an announcement about the 2018 prize in January.

- A panel of authors will choose the top 25 manuscripts to be forwarded to Marietta Zacker.  The winner will be announced April 29th, 2017, at SCBWI-Illinois' spring program — 2017 Spring Thaw-- Pitch Perfect Winner need not be present.


Manuscript Guidelines:

- No more than five pages, double-spaced, Times or Times Roman 12-point font (for a novel, an additional, one-page synopsis may follow your five pages); your name should not appear on any of these pages — no headers, please

- One-inch margins

- Manuscript must feature a diverse main character or be written by a diverse author

- If the manuscript is co-authored, BOTH authors must be SCBWI-Illinois members.

- On a separate page, following your manuscript/synopsis (NOT as a separate document), please include this information:

1. your name

2. your phone number

3. the title of your manuscript

4. the type of manuscript (e.g. picture book, middle-grade novel, YA novel, etc.)

5. 50 words or less, outlining the diverse nature of your main character and/or your own diverse background (NOTE: if your manuscript is a picture book and you envision the illustrations depicting the character as diverse in some fashion – especially if this fact is not indicated in the text – please say so)

- Poetry: This includes rhyming picture books, picture in verse, and stand-alone poetry collections. Poetry submissions should conform to the guidelines above. However, they may be single-spaced, with a double space between stanzas, per industry standards. Stand-alone collections (i.e. a group of poems intended to be published as one book) must have a page break at the end of each poem.

- One manuscript per person

- Email to Sara Shacter (illinois-ara@scbwi.org) as a Word attachment. In the subject line, write "Many Voices Prize."

QUESTIONS? Email Sara directly.


The Many Voices Outstanding Manuscript Prize will evolve over time. The 2016 and 2017 prizes were funded by a generous SCBWI-Illinois member. If you would like to contribute to future prizes, please email us at illinois@scbwi.org.