Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

SCBWI-IL 2019 Diverse New Member Pathway

6 writers or illustrators with different shades of skin tones, including 1 wearing an LGBTQ+ Pride rainbow scarf & one with a Seeing Eye dog, all moving among giant books.

 2019 SCBWI-IL Diverse New Member Pathway

Submission Window: Feb. 1 – Mar. 1  (Applications must be in by 11:59PM EST on Mar 1.)

Eligibility: Diverse Illinois children’s / YA writers and illustrators who have never been an SCBWI member.

Diverse for the purpose of this contest: people of color, Native people, people with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ people, and marginalized religious or cultural minority. Applicant must be at least 18 years in age.

One winner will be selected and will receive:

• One year SCBWI membership 

• Scholarship to 2019 Prairie Writer’s and Illustrator’s Day Conference 

• A manuscript critique or portfolio review at the conference


2019 Diverse New Member Pathway Submission Details:


In the body of an email addressed to Beth Finke provide the following information:

Full name


E-mail address

Phone number

Diversity the applicant identifies with

Is the sample submitted intended for Picture Book, Early Reader, Chapter Book, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Non-Fiction, Poetry

Essay in 250-500 words:

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 the 2019 Prairie Writer’s and Illustrator’s Day

What you would hope to get out of a manuscript critique/portfolio review connected with 2019 Prairie Writer’s and Illustrator’s Day

How you would like to be involved in SCBWI

Attach work sample to the email – your name should NOT appear on any of these materials.

For writers:

Submit sample from a manuscript, no more than five 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 five 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 manuscript.

Graphic Novel submissions: 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. 


Submission Fee – There is no fee.

Questions? Email Beth Finke


The winner will be selected by the SCBWI-IL Diversity Committee:

Susanne Fairfax, Urania Smith, Jacqueline Alcántara, Beth Finke,


The winner will be announced April 8, 2019 at a special event with author Lee Wind focused on diversity, self-publishing and the intersection between the two. More details to come! Need not be present to win.

Questions? Email Beth Finke

Back to SCBWI-IL Diversity Initiatives

The Diverse New Member Pathway has evolved over time. 

2018 Recipient – Felicia Whaley

2017 Recipient – Jiton Sharmayne Davidson

If you are already a diverse SCBWI member living in Illinois, check out the Many Voices Prize.