Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2021 Diverse New Member Pathway Award



The Diverse New Member Pathway recognizes the talent of an individual pursuing publication in children’s literature. 



2021 APPLICATION PERIOD:  2.1.2021 – 3.1.2021




─ Winner receives one year SCBWI membership


Tuition and one type of written Member Extra for the SCBWI-Illinois Interactive 2021 Conference. *Due to the world in flux, if the Fall Conference is postponed until 2022, $150 will be applied toward tuition to a the national 2021 SCBWI Summer conference.


─Written Portfolio Review or Manuscript Critique to the SCBWI-Illinois Interactive 2021 Conference (only.)


─ AND (3) one-on-one Zoom chats with team members from the SCBWI Illinois Equity and Inclusion Committee!!!( Chats will be 30 minutes and will take place over the course of the year) *These sessions are to build relationships/ help winner get the most out of their memberships. They are not sessions in which work will be critiqued.






─ 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.


─ APPLY between February 1 and March 1 (by 11:59 PM CST): No applications will be accepted outside this date range.


─ The winner will be selected by the SCBWI-IL Diversity Committee and announced April 15, 2021 via email / social media.




1. COVER PAGE including the following info:

─ 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-Illinois Interactive.

    ─ What you hope to get out of a written review/critique of your work at 2021 Illinois Interactive,

    ─ How you would like to be involved as a member of your SCBWI-IL Region

Submit as a Word Doc labeled as : Last_first.doc or Last_first.docx ( ex. Alcantara_Jacqueline.docx )



   ─ Your name should NOT appear on any pages of your sample.

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



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.



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



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

Application Questions?
Email Urania Smith SCBWI-IL Diversity Committee Member



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




2020 Erica Thomas

2019 Samina Hadi-Tabassum

2018 Felicia Whaley

2017 Jiton Sharmayne Davidson