Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2018 Many Voices Outstanding Manuscript Prize

SCBWI-Illinois is proud to announce the third 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. (SCBWI-IL uses the definition of “diverse” as provided by the  We Need Diverse Books’ definition of “diversity.”) The winner will receive a written critique of his/her submission, as well as a 30-minute phone/Skype call with the judge.


For 2018, the judge of the Many Voices Outstanding Manuscript Prize will be Linda Camacho, agent with the Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency.

Before Linda Camacho moved to Gallt & Zacker Literary, she was with Prospect Agency and held various roles on the publishing side. After graduating from Cornell in 2005, she interned at Simon & Schuster and Writers House literary agency, and worked at Penguin and Random House. She has an MFA in writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.


She’s seeking middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction across all genres (especially upmarket and women’s fiction/romance); also seeking select picture book and graphic novel writer-illustrators. Diversity of all types welcome!


Thanks to SCBWI-IL PALs, author-illustrator Jan Spivey Gilchrist and novelist Crystal Chan for serving as contest support judges.


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

Writing Diverse Characters: sources

Diversity Resource List


Logistics of Submitting:

– Beginning February 9, manuscripts may be emailed to Sara Shacter. See “Manuscript Guidelines” below.

– Manuscripts must be received by midnight on March 9.

– Our Contest Support Judges will choose the top 25 manuscripts to be forwarded to Linda Camacho.  The winner will be announced April 21st, 2018, at SCBWI-Illinois’  2018 Spring Thaw-– Pitch Perfect 2 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 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

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