Illinois Critique Groups

 

 

Welcome to SCBWI-IL Critique Groups! 
 
Individuals and Groups are listed separately by type, format and then alphabetically.
Individuals may query Group Contacts and Group Contacts may query Individuals to find a Critique Group fit. 

Posting to this page is an SCBWI Member benefit,

BUT non-yet members may query Group Contacts for openings, unless noted otherwise. 


NETWORKS that critique are free and open to all!

(Contact Deborah Topolski for updates. Updated 10/2017)

 


INDIVIDUALS 


Illustrators Looking for an Online Critique Group
 

Name: Kathryn Ault Noble kathryn.noble.illustrations@gmail.com 
Type: Illustration

Name: Darcy Day Zoells notmrdarcy@gmail.com
Type: Illustration and dummies
 


Illustrator Looking for an In-Person Critique Group
 

Name: Darcy Day Zoells notmrdarcy@gmail.com
Type: Illustration and dummies
Preferred Location: Chicago/South Loop

 



Writer-Illustrator Looking for an Online Critique Group
 

Name: Amy Cornelius amyrcornelius@gmail.com
Format/genre: Picture Books (Writing & Illustration)

 


Writer-Illustrators Looking for an In-Person Critique Group
 

Name: Debbie King debbiekin@gmail.com
Format/genre: PB/MG/YA fiction and illustration
Preferred Location: Batavia or far western suburbs


Name: Julia Kuo  juliaskuo@gmail.com
Format/genre:  PB
Preferred Location: Chicago  


Name: Cheri Charlton cherileecharlton@gmail.com
Type: PB grades 4-8
Location: Chicago or near suburbs.

 



Writers looking for an Online Critique Group
 

FORMAT: Picture Books
 

Name: Priya Bhatt bhattpr@gmail.com
Format/genre: Picture Books

 

Name: Melissa Durbin durbin.melissa@gmail.com
Format/genre: PB and Chapter Book/Early reader

 

Name: Kim Fender kidlitkim@gmail.com
Format: Picture Book

 

Name: Sarah Hamilton shammer728@gmail.com 
Format/genre: Picture books and picture story books. 

 

Name: Tasia Johnson tdjwrites@gmail.com
Format/genre: PB /non-fiction

 

Name: Kathy Knapp kathyknapp2@yahoo.com
Format/genre: Picture Book

 

Name: Amy Kunz amykunz@gmail.com
Format/genre: Picture Book
 

Name: Dan Starck contact@danstarck.com
Format/genre: Picture Book

 

Name: Linda Staszak lindastaszak@sbcglobal.net
Format/genre: Picture Book

 

Name: Robert Zappa  robert.zappa.jr@gmail.com
Format/genre: Picture Book

 

FORMAT: Middle Grade and Young Adult
 

Name: M.B. Alexander MBAlexander46@yahoo.com
Format/genre: Middle Grade Fiction


Name: Mita Bordoloi mita.bordoloi@gmail.com
Format/genre: MG/YA

 

Name: Cathy Chester cchester25@aol.com
Format/genre: YA-Fiction and MG-Fiction/fantasy

 

Name: Jarm Del Boccio jarm@me.com
Format/genre: MG Historical and Biblical Fiction


Name: Brianna DuMont brianna_dumont@hotmail.com
Format/genre: Fantasy


Name: Jenny Landmann elyonwolf@gmail.com
Format/genre: YA
 

Name: John Levine jclevine@sbcglobal.net
Format/genre: Middle Grade fiction


Amy Melnicsak amelnics@yahoo.com 
Format/genre: YA mystery (or just YA)
 

Name: Jan Ramming Janramming@sbcglobal.net
Format/genre: YA
 

Name: Cathy Velasco cathyannvelasco@yahoo.com
Format/genre: MG/YA; Nights or Weekends


FORMAT: Multi
 

Name: Katie Clausen clausenkate@gmail.com
Format/genre: Middle grade fiction preferred, picture books and YA


Name: Tara Haelle thaelle@gmail.com
Format/genre: PB fiction and nonfiction; MG fiction (realism and fantasy/time travel), YA fiction (mostly realism)


Name: Seth Katz seth.barb@sbcglobal.net
Format/genre: YA fiction; Elementary grades fiction
 

Name: Jordan Rivers jordan@riversink.com or SCBWI messaging
Format/genre: picture book/ juvenile/ middle grade
 

Name: Alyssa Martin alyssa323martin@gmail.com
Format/genre: MG/YA comedic fantasy, picture books. 
 

Name: Margaret Shafer margshaf@gmail.com
Format/genre: Early readers/chapter books.
 

Name: Latasha Vernon learnwithlavern@gmail.com.
Format/genre: PB fiction and early reader chapter books

 


Writers looking for an In-Person Critique Group
 

FORMAT: Picture Book
 

Name: Miriam Aronin miriam.aronin@gmail.com
Format/genre: picture book (text, not illustrations).
Preferred Location: Chicago North Side; weekdays/daytime or Sundays.

 

Name: Sylvia Aruffo saruffo@gmail.com
Format/genre: Picture Book
Preferred Location: Northern Suburbs or Chicago 

 

Name: Priya Bhatt bhattpr@gmail.com
Format/genre: Picture Books
Preferred Location: Buffalo Grove-Vernon Hills area
 

Name: Zach Bonnan zbonnan@gmail.com
Format/genre: Picture Books/fiction
Preferred Location: ​Chicago

 

Name:  Becky Cattie beckycattie@yahoo.com
Format/genre:  Picture Book (traditional publishing and published authors preferred)
Preferred Location: Chicago city limits

 

Name: Melissa Durbin durbin.melissa@gmail.com
Format/genre: PB and Chapter Book/Early reader
Preferred Location: Peoria

 

Name: Kim Fender kidlitkim@gmail.com
Format: Picture Book
Preferred Location: Quad Cities

 

Name: Faith Gluskin faithgluskin@gmail.com
Format: Picture Book
Preferred Location: Buffalo Grove

 

Name: Sarah Hamilton shammer728@gmail.com 
Format/genre: Picture Books and Picture Story Books
Preferred Location: Southwest Suburbs (Joliet/ New Lenox/ Mokena/ Tinley Park/ Orland Park)

 

Name: Tasia Johnson tdjwrites@gmail.com
Format/genre: PB /non-fiction
Preferred location: Chicago

 

Name:  Kathy Knapp kathyknapp2@yahoo.com
Format/genre: Picture Books
Preferred Location: Vernon Hills/northwest suburbs

 

Name: Amy Kunz amykunz@gmail.com
Format/genre: Picture books
Preferred Location: Chicago/ north side/ Ravenswood


Co-Writers: Amy Melnicsak amelnics@yahoo.com & Mary Chase marymchase@yahoo.com
Format/genre: YA mystery (or just YA)
Preferred location: Chicagoland area


Name: Dan Starck contact@danstarck.com
Format/genre: Picture Book
Preferred Location: Lake in the Hills area

 

Name: Linda Staszak lindastaszak@sbcglobal.net
Format/genre: Picture books/fiction
Preferred Location: far northwest suburbs
 

Name: Fernanda Valentino fernandagv@yahoo.com

Format/genre: Picture Book

Location preferred: South Loop/Loop CHICAGO

 

Name: Robert Zappa robert.zappa.jr@gmail.com
Format/genre: Picture Book
Preferred Location: Chicago Northside/ near north suburbs


FORMAT: Middle Grade and Young Adult

 

Name: M.B. Alexander MBAlexander46@yahoo.com
Format/genre: Middle Grade Fiction
Preferred Location: Chicago Northside


Name: Jarm Del Boccio jarm@me.com
Format/genre: MG Historical and Biblical Fiction
Location: Northwest Suburbs of Chicago

 

Name: Jenny Landmann elyonwolf@gmail.com
Format/genre: YA Fiction
Preferred Location: Lake County/ Gurnee

 

Name: John Levine jclevine@sbcglobal.net
Format/genre: Middle Grade fiction
Location: Northern suburbs

 

Name: Katie Masterson kemasterson@yahoo.com
Format/genre: YA contemporary (also looking for people interested in being accountability partners)
Preferred Location: Chicago Northside

 

Name: Jan Ramming Janramming@sbcglobal.net
Format/genre: YA/fiction
Preferred Location: Far west suburbs

 

Name: Rebecca Rissman beckyrissman@gmail.com
Format/genre: Middle Grade/Nonfiction
Preferred Location: Western Suburbs (Naperville)
 

Name: Cathy Velasco cathyannvelasco@yahoo.com
Format/genre: MG/YA
Location: Naperville/Downers Grove/Bolingbrook area; Nights or Weekends

 

FORMAT: Multi
 

Name: Katie Clausen clausenkate@gmail.com
Format/genre: Middle grade fiction preferred, picture books and YA
Location: Forest Park/Oak Park but flexible; weekend meeting time, possibly Sunday afternoon/evenings.


Name: Terri Clemmons terriclem@sbcglobal.net
Format/genre: PB/MG
Location: Yorkville or Morris area

 

Name: Songju Ma Daemicke  songju99@gmail.com
Format/genre: picture book, chapter book, MG
Preferred Location: Glenview area

 

Name: Elle Harris rmuchka@gmail.com
Format/genre: Picture Books, MG and YA.
Preferred Location: McHenry or willing to travel
 

Name: Tara Haelle thaelle@gmail.com
Format/genre: PB fiction, PB nonfiction, MG fiction (realism and fantasy/time travel), YA fiction (mostly realism)
Preferred Location: Peoria
 

Name: Seth Katz seth.barb@sbcglobal.net
Format/genres: YA fiction; Elementary grades fiction
Preferred Location: Peoria area 

 

Name: Alyssa Martin alyssa323martin@gmail.com
Format/genre: MG/YA comedic fantasy, picture books. 
Format/genre: North Shore
 

Name: Frank C Modica fcmodica67@gmail.com
Format/genre: Poetry, short fiction, creative non-fiction, picture books
Preferred Location: Central Illinois—Champaign-Urbana area

 

Name: Barbara Perry Bburdittperry@gmail.com
Format/genre: Middle grade fiction and poetry
Preferred Location: Glen Ellyn and western suburbs


Name: Jordan Rivers jordan@riversink.com or SCBWI messaging
Format/genre: Picture Book/ juvenile/ middle grade
Preferred Location: Chicago

 

Name: Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo evfig1953@gmail.com
Format/genre: Writing/ fiction, multicultural themes, English and Spanish
Preferred Location:  Chicago and near west and north suburbs

 

Name: Cammy Spatzek jamcam21@sbcglobal.net
Format/genre: YA fiction and all children’s
Preferred Location: Northbrook

 

Name: Fernanda Valentino fernandagv@yahoo.com
Format/genre: PB and middle-grade novel/YA
Location preferred: South Loop/Loop CHICAGO
 

Ronnie Wachter, WachterRonnie@gmail.com
Format/genre:Y.A. novel, Y.A. graphic novel, picture books
Location Preferred: Rogers Park, Evanston, Skokie, Lincolnwood, Edgewater or Andersonville


GROUPS


 

ONLINE WRITING

Critique group contact: Barb Ostapina barb@InfoMattersResource.com
Critique group name: West Picture Book Critique Group (WPBCG)
Acceptable genres, formats: Picture Book only
Meeting regularity: 2nd Monday at 8:30PM CST
Meeting location: via Skype; depending on member locations, considering additional in-person meet-up in western suburbs
Any additional critique member requirements: Only PB writers serious about their craft; manuscripts for critique are posted in our private Slack channels by the 1st Monday of the month (Note: We also post writing insights and resources there for the group.) Membership capped at 6 members, currently at 4 members.
Trial Period (if applicable): Join us for a couple of meetings to determine fit
 


 

IN-PERSON WRITING

Format: Multi
 

Critique Group Contact: Deb Aronson debaronson@nasw.org
Meeting regularity: Second Sunday
Meeting location: Urbana 
Acceptable genres, formats: All
Any additional critique member requirements: Visit or two as a trial period.
 

Critique Group Contact: Fay Robinson frobins@att.net
Acceptable Genres: picture books, easy-to-read, short chapter (to approximately grade 5)
Meeting Regularly: Meets once a month
Meeting Location: Evanston
Additional critique member requirements: We are looking for other published children’s book authors.


Contact person: Susan Santiago susansantiago1871@gmail.com
Critique group name: 6 Pens 
Acceptable genres, formats etc.: Picture book, chapter book, and middle grade. Both fiction and nonfiction.
Meeting Regularity: First Sunday of the month.
Meeting location and time: Urbana, 1:30pm
Trial Period: 3 meetings

 

Format: Picture Book
 

Critique Group Contact: Elizabeth Casey besscasey4@ gmail.com

Acceptable genres, formats.: Picture Book writers only
Meeting regularity: Twice monthly, Thursday night 6-7 pm
Meeting location: West suburban location
Any additional critique member requirements: Looking for members. Will follow suggested critique format of SCBWI. 

 

Critique group contact: Lisa Katzenberger lisakatz17@gmail.com
Acceptable genres, formats: Picture Books
Meeting regularity: Monthly
Meeting location: LaGrange area, in person, daytime
Any additional critique member requirements: This group is for dedicated picture book writers who are regularly writing and submitting their work to agents or editors. Previous picture book critique experience required.
 

Format: MG/YA

Critique Group Contact: Richard Eric 2richarderic@gmail.com
Acceptable genres, formats: MG or YA fiction
Meeting regularity: Weekly
Meeting location: Hyde Park
Any additional critique member requirements: Format: spot critiques.  Each author will read aloud 8 pages.  Members will critique and share thoughts in round-robin fashion.

 

Critique Group Contact: Jane Hertenstein janehertenstein@gmail.com
Critique Group Name: Prairie Writers
Acceptable genres, formats.: MG & YA (not best for PB)
Meeting Regularity: We meet about once a month from 7 – 9 pm.
Meeting location: Uptown (Everybody’s Coffee at 935 W. Wilson or a room I sign out)
Any additional critique member requirements: Like an MFA—only cheaper:
–Submit a sample to
 janehertenstein@gmail.com
–Let me know what kind of work you’re currently focused on
–A bio is nice, with an emphasis on what you’re hoping to get out of the group, past pub creds, and experience in other critique groups, workshops, conferences.

 

Critique group contact: Ann Spurgeon ASpurg@aol.com
Critique Group Name: Penmark Society
Acceptable genres, formats: Children's and young adult
Meeting regularity: Once-monthly
Meeting Location: Urbana
 


IN-PERSON WRITING & ILLUSTRATION
 

Critique group contacts: Patrick patrick@ptmwerks.com 
Critique Group Name: Writing Up a Storm 
Acceptable genres, formats: Picture Book ms/illustration
Meeting regularity: Approximately every 6-8 weeks
Meeting Location: Chicago, north side
Any additional critique member requests: Applicants should submit one or two examples of work, preferably picture book manuscript(s), describe their interest and motivation for creating, and a short bio.
Trial period: 1-2 meetings


Critique group contact: Beth Najberg bbegin@aol.com
Critique group name (if applicable), Division Street Critique Group
Acceptable genres, formats: Picture books, with or without illustrations
Meeting regularity: Monthly
Meeting location: Chicago
Additional critique member requirements: None
Trial Period (if applicable): None

 

Critique Group Contact: P Geoff Rutledge rutledgepg@sbcglobal.net
Critique group name: Edwardsville, IL
Acceptable genres:  Any that fit into SCBWI framework, including illustrations
Meeting regularity: Second Wednesday
Meeting location: Edwardsville
Additional critique member requirements: Bring positivity and creative criticism in equal measure – five pages
Trial Period: None

 

Critique group contact: Julie Siemianowski jsiemianowski@comcast.net
Acceptable genres, formats: All Illustrated books
Meeting regularity: Bi-Monthly; 2 Mondays
Meeting Location: St. Charles

 


SCBWI-IL NETWORKS THAT CRITIQUE
Illinois Networks are free and open to all.
 

Network Representative: Janet Riehecky jr@janetriehecky.com
Network Name: Geneva Network
Acceptable genres, formats: All writing formats/genres
Network Meeting regularity: First Wednesday & Fourth Tuesday, 7PM
Network Location: Barnes & Noble, 102 Commons Drive, Geneva

 

Network Representative: Jennifer Wagh jwagh@fastmail.net & Jennifer Kaap jennifer@sillylibrarian.net
Network Name: Dundee Area Network
Acceptable genres, formats: PB, MG, and YA
Network Meeting regularity: Once monthly the 2nd Wednesday of each month 7pm-9pm
Network Location: Barnes & Noble Cafe West Dundee 1444 Springhill Mall Blvd., West Dundee
Additional Requests: Please send RSVP to jwagh@fastmail.net by 1pm the day of meeting