2017 Diverse New Member Pathway

Congratulations Jiton Sharmayne Davidson!

Please check back in January for the 2018 application deadline.

In 2017, SCBWI-Illinois is launching its Diverse New Member Pathway, intended to increase diversity among children's book creators and among members of SCBWI.

Eligible to apply: Any Illinois children's writer/illustrator (includes YA) with a diverse background, who has never been an SCBWI member. Past SCBWI membership holders are not eligible to apply. (Please see We Need Diverse Books’ definition of “diversity.”)

One winner will be selected and will receive a free SCBWI one-year membership.

In addition, the winner will receive an SCBWI-IL Guide for a six month period. The Guide will:
– meet with the winner (or Skype if distance is an issue) to give an introduction to SCBWI
– be available to answer questions about SCBWI events and opportunities such as grants/prizes, SCBWI resources, etc.
– if desired, attend a mutually convenient SCBWI-IL event with the winner

– help connect winner with his/her nearest Illinois Network

(This opportunity is NOT a mentorship. The Guide will not provide feedback on manuscripts or artwork.)


We're thrilled to announce that the inaugural Guide will be award-winning author Crystal Chan.

Chan image copy Crystal Chan grew up as a mixed-race kid in the middle of the Wisconsin cornfields and has been trying to find her place in the world ever since. Over time,      she found that her heart lies in public speaking, performing, and ultimately, writing. She has given talks and workshops across the country; facilitated  discussion groups at national conferences; is a professional storyteller for children and adults alike; and is a regular contributor to Wisconsin Public Radio.

 In Chicago, where Crystal now lives, you will find her biking along the city streets and talking to her pet turtle. Her debut middle-grade novel, Bird, is published  by Atheneum Books for Young Readers in the U.S. and has been published in 10 countries around the world. For the Bird audiobook, Amandla Stenberg is the  narrator; Ms. Stenberg played Rue in The Hunger Games


February 1: applications open (see application directions below) 

March 15: applications close at midnight.  The 2017 application period is now closed.

April 1: winner announced


TO APPLY: In the body of an email addressed to Urania Smith (uraniaraynellsmith@gmail.com ), provide the following information in 250-500 words:

- how a membership in SCBWI will move your career forward

- why you want a Guide

- how you would like to be involved in SCBWI

- a brief history of how you have been working on your craft

- your contact information: name, email address, phone number(s) and mailing address.

Attach to the email 5 pages of a work-in-progress (if you are a writer) or a PDF of an illustration sample (if you are an illustrator); if you are an author-illustrator, feel free to send both