SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Illinois Critique Groups




Welcome to SCBWI-IL Critique Groups!

 

Posting to this page is an SCBWI Member benefit, BUT non-yet members may query Group Contacts for openings, unless noted otherwise.

All participants, regardless of member status, agree to abide by the SCBWI Anti-harassment Policy.

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.  Illinois NETWORKS that critique are free and open to all!

 

(Contact Deborah Topolski for updates. Updated 07/2018)


INDIVIDUALS


Writers looking for an Online Critique Group

 

FORMAT: Picture Books

Name: Tamara Barker
Format/genre: Picture Book/Non-fiction

Name: Clo Ewing
Format/genre: Picture Book

Name: Lindsay Rosasco
Format/genre: Picture Book/Non-Fiction

Name: Katie Walsh
Format/genre: Picture Book

 

 

FORMAT: Middle Grade and Young Adult

 

Name: Stephen Bell
Format/genre: YA science fiction/fantasy

Name: Gwen Flaskamp
Format/genre: Young Adult Fiction

Name: John Levine
Format/genre: MG fiction

Name:  Marian Mangoubi
Format/genre: MG contemporary fiction

Name: Jan Ramming
Format/genre:  MG contemporary fiction

Name: Michelle Sharpe Silverthorn
Format/genre: YA fantasy contemporary fiction

 

 

FORMAT: Multi

 

Name: Monica Ganz
Format/genre: Children’s Picture Book, Chapter book

 

 

Writers looking for an In-Person Critique Group

 

FORMAT: Picture Book

 

Name: Tamara Barker
Format/genre: Picture Book/Non-fiction
Meeting location: Chicago (northwest side, Logan Square or downtown/west Loop locations)

Name: Clo Ewing
Format/genre: Picture Book
Meeting location: Chicago (Northwest side, Logan Square, Bucktown or Wicker Park)  

Name: Kuldeep Kaur
Format/genre: Picture books
Meeting location: Naperville and surrounding area

Name: Betsy Parkinson
Format/genre: Picture Book
Meeting location: Chicago or near western suburbs

Name: Katie Walsh
Format/genre: Picture Book
Meeting location: Chicago or near western suburbs

 

FORMAT: Middle Grade and Young Adult

 

Name: Stephen Bell
Format/genre: YA science fiction/fantasy
Meeting location: Chicago

Name: John Levine
Format/genre:  MG fiction
Meeting location: Northern Suburbs

Name:  Marian Mangoubi
Format/genre:  MG contemporary fiction
Meeting location: Downtown Chicago (Gold Coast/Streeterville)

Name: Jan Ramming
Format/genre:  MG contemporary fiction
Meeting location: Western to far-west suburbs of Chicago or the Fox Valley, Geneva

Name: Michelle Sharpe Silverthorn
Format/genre:  writing YA fantasy contemporary fiction
Meeting location: Chicago

Name: Joe Zwick
Format/genre: MG fiction
Meeting location: Chicago: South side or south suburbs

 

FORMAT: Multi

 

Name: Monica Ganz
Format/genre: Children’s Picture Book, Chapter book
Meeting location: Chicago area

Name: Carol Van Gorp 
Format/genre: Any
Meeting location: Glen Ellyn, but flexible

Name: Ellie Harris
Format/genre: PB/MG/YA
Meeting location: McHenry Area (willing to travel)

Name: Ronnie Wachter
Format/genre: picture books, sci-fi novels, Y.A. graphic novels
Meeting location: Chicago’s north side or northern suburbs

 


GROUPS



ONLINE WRITING

Format: Picture Book

Critique group contact: Kathleen Doherty 
Critique group name: KIDCRITS
Acceptable genres, formats: Picture Book only
Meeting regularity: get a critique each month
Meeting location: Online
Any additional critique member requirements: Group limited to 8 authors who have published one or more pb; Two members submit a picture book manuscript each week.  Everyone gets a critique with line edits once a month.
Trial Period (if applicable): none

 

Critique group contact: Barb Ostapina 
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 FULL but willing to waitlist.
Trial Period (if applicable): Join us for a couple of meetings to determine fit

 

 

 

IN-PERSON WRITING

Format: Multi

Critique Group Contact: Linda Rae Apolzon
Acceptable genres, formats: fiction or nonfiction, picture book, middle grade novel, and young adult novel
Meeting regularity: First Sunday of the month
Meeting location: Chicago (Grant Park area) 10AM-12PM
Trial Period: 2-3 meetings

 

Critique Group Contact: Jane Hertenstein
Critique group name: Prairie Writers
Acceptable genres, formats: We critique all kinds of work:Your query,our fellowship application,your manuscript: YA, middle grade. We might not be the best group for picture books.
Meeting regularity: Monthly
Meeting location: We meet in Uptown, either at Everybody’s Coffee (935 W. Wilson) or a room I sign out. 7 – 9 pm
Any additional critique member requests: 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.
Trial Period: None

 

Critique Group Contact: Sue Santiago
Critique group name: Six Pens
Acceptable genres, formats: Board books through middle grade, fiction and nonfiction.  Though science fiction. fantasy, and young adult are not our strengths, we are open to these genres. We would not be a good fit for an illustrator only.
Meeting regularity: First Sunday
Meeting location: Urbana 1:30PM
Trial Period: 2-3 meetings

 

Critique Group Contact: Cathy Velasco
Critique group name: Writing Warriors
Acceptable genres: MG, YA, Chapter Book, fiction or nonfiction
Meeting regularity: Twice a month, Tuesday nights
Meeting location: Naperville 6:30 p.m.

 

IN-PERSON WRITING & ILLUSTRATION

 

Format: Multi

 

Critique Group Contact: Laurie Lohr 
Acceptable genres, formats: Picture Book /illustration through YA
Meeting regularity: Monthly: Wednesday mornings 8:30 – 10:30AM. Submissions are due the week prior by email to all members
Meeting Location: Evanston, Wilmette
Any additional critique member requests: Applicants should submit a writing sample and to attend the first meeting as an observer. Decisions by the potential member and the group are made after that first meeting. There is no trial period.

 

Critique Group Contact: Ann Spurgeon
Critique group Name: Penmark Society
Acceptable genres, formats: ALL
Meeting regularity: Monthly: TBD. Contact for times and locations
Meeting Location: TBD
Any additional critique member requests: Applicants should submit a writing sample and to attend the first meeting as an observer. Decisions by the potential member and the group are made after that first meeting. There is no trial period.

 

SCBWI-IL NETWORKS THAT CRITIQUE: Illinois Networks are free and open to all.
To find an Illinois Network near you, click Illinois Networks

 

Network Representative: P. Geoff Rutledge
Network Name: SCBWI-IL Edwardsville Network
Acceptable genres, formats: All writing formats/genres
Network Meeting regularity: Second Wednesday of every month, 6:30 PM
Network Location: Contact Network Representative for meeting place.

 

Network Representative: Katie Sparks
Network Name: SCBWI-IL Far Northwest Suburban Network
Acceptable genres, formats: All writing formats/genres
Network Meeting regularity: Third Thursday of each month, 6:30 – 9 p.m
Network Location: Cafe of Barnes & Noble, 590 W. Golf Road, Schaumburg. All meetings are open critiques with the last half hour dedicated to answering any new writer questions

 

Network Representatives: Leia johnson and Katie Otey
Network Name: SCBWI-IL Fairview Heights Network
Acceptable genres, formats: All writing formats/genres.  We have writers of varying degrees of experience, and we always welcome new writers.
Network Meeting regularity: Third Wednesday of every month, 6:30 PM
Network Location: Contact Reps for location.

 

Network Representatives: Janet Riehecky; Cheryl App
Network Name: SCBWI-IL Geneva Network
Acceptable genres, formats: All writing formats/genres
Network Meeting regularity: First Wednesday of every month, 7:00 PM; Fourth Tuesday of every month, 7:00
Network Location: cafe of Barnes & Noble; off Randall Road in Geneva