Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2020 SCBWI-IL Diverse New Member Pathway

Congratulations Erica Thomas 2020 Diverse New Member Pathway Winner!


Applicant Eligibility:

─ Diverse Illinois children’s / YA writers and illustrators who have never been an SCBWI member, who live in Illinois and are at least 18 years in age.

─ Diverse for the purpose of this prize: people of color, Native people, people with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ people, and people who identify as members of a religious or cultural minority.

─ There is no application fee. If you would like to contribute to future prizes, please email the Regional Advisor.


One winner will be selected and will receive:

 One year SCBWI membership

─  Attendance and a manuscript critique OR portfolio review at the SCBWI-IL 2020 Prairie Writer’s and Illustrator’s Day Conference will be held November 14 at Wojcik Center, Harper College, Palatine, IL.  If you cannot attend the conference, there is no substitute prize nor cash equivalent offered.


2020 Diverse New Member Pathway Application Details: Submit your COVER PAGE and SAMPLE as described below


COVER PAGE: On your COVER PAGE, please provide the following information:
Word Document should be named with the following naming convention:  
Last_first.doc or Last_first.docx

─ Full name

─ Mailing Address

─ E-mail address

─ Phone number

─ Diversity the with which the applicant identifies.

─ Sample Format: Picture Book, Early Reader, Chapter Book, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Non-Fiction, Poetry

─ 250-500 word essay describing the following:

    ─ How your work will bring forward an underrepresented voice.

    ─ A brief history of how you have been working on your craft.

    ─ How a membership in SCBWI will move your career forward.

    ─ Why you want to attend SCBWI-IL Prairie Writer’s and Illustrator’s Day (PWID)

    ─ What you hope to get out of a review at 2020 PWID.

    ─ How you would like to be involved as a member of SCBWI.



SAMPLE: Within your SAMPLEyour name should NOT appear on any pages of your SAMPLE.

Document should be named with the following naming convention:  Last_first.pdf 

For writers:

Submit sample from a manuscript, no more than 5 pages in length. (Novels may include an additional one-page synopsis). Double-spaced, Times 12-point font, one-inch margins, no headers.

Poetry submissions (this includes rhyming picture books, picture books in verse, and stand-alone collections) should conform to the guidelines above. However, they may be single-spaced, with a double space between the 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.

For illustrators:

Submit a pdf of 4-6 pieces suitable for children’s book illustration.

For writer-illustrators: 

Submit sample from a manuscript, no more than 5 pages in length (Novels may include an additional one-page synopsis) Double-spaced, Times 12-point font, one-inch margins, no headers.


1 finished illustration from accompanying mss. 

Graphic Novel submissions: IF YOU ARE BOTH THE WRITER AND ILLUSTRATOR, in addition to a manuscript sample, submit 1 finished illustration which corresponds to your sample. Your submission will contain up to 7 pages maximum: 5 script pages, a 1-page synopsis and 1 page of finished art. 



TO APPLY between Saturday, February 1 and Saturday, February 29 (by 11:59 PM CST): No applications will be accepted outside this date range.


 Questions? Email Urania Smith SCBWI-IL Diversity Committee Member




The winner will be selected by the SCBWI-IL Diversity Committee and announced April 18, 2020 Spring Thaw—Pitch Perfect 3. Event Registration is required.  The winner need not be present to win.


Diverse New Member Pathway Questions? Email Email Urania Smith



2020 Erica Thomas

2019 Samina Hadi-Tabassum

2018 Felicia Whaley

2017 Jiton Sharmayne Davidson



If you are already a diverse SCBWI member living in Illinois, consider applying to the Many Voices Prize.



Back to SCBWI-IL Diversity Initiatives