Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

SCBWI-IL 2022 Spring Network Events

NETWORKS offer easy, handy access to programs, writing groups, networking opportunities and other interested (and interesting!) writers and illustrators. 

Interested in starting a NETWORKS group?
Contact NETWORKS Coordinator, Deb Aronson, Assistant Regional Advisor

Summer 2022 Network Events:
(Updated 06/2022)


Please find below the COVID protocols from SCBWI HQ. (Updated 06/22)
Please note:
Networks are in no way obligated to hold in-person events but if they do…

To minimize the risk of Covid-19 at all SCBWI in-person events with more than 25
attendees, event organizers are required to implement the following attendance

The policies listed below are the minimum standards required. Regions have the
freedom to adopt additional measures, especially in areas where local regulations
are more stringent.
—Require attendees to submit proof of vaccination, or proof of a negative PCR
test taken no earlier than three days prior to the event, as a condition of
—At any SCBWI in-person event, regardless of the number of attendees, organizers
must offer each attendee a free disposable mask, provide hand sanitizing stations
throughout the event area, and post this policy in its entirety in areas visible to

Comments regarding this policy should be directed to SCBWI headquarters by
emailing Include your name and contact information in
order to receive a response.


And, as always:

Networks are free and open to all. You may attend any Network at any time, not just the one in your area.
Special Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: If you have a disability and need any special assistance to enjoy the event’s online programming, please email the Network Representative or Co-Regional Advisor to ask for assistance for your particular needs.
All Network participants, regardless of membership status, agree to abide by our SCBWI Anti-harrassment Policy.

A recording of online programs may be offered for a small convenience fee on our Recordings BY REQUEST page. Recordings BY REQUEST are available in February, May, August and November. Your convenience fee gives you unlimited viewing all month long.  Your fees support NETWORKS and other free Regional opportunities like scholarships and mentorships.



SCBWI-IL Members: You can also join in the fun at our SCBWI Illinois Illustrators Network Group on Facebook – request to join here.
SCBWI member illustrators please make sure you are on the illustrator Google Group for updates….to be added please email Allan Woodrow


Chicago-Area Illustrators’ Network


Rich Green – 815-341-0925
Pav Kovacic 773-490-5902

The Chicago-Area’s Illustrators Network meets once each quarter.  Meetings are free, open to the public, and include a topic discussion, presentation or guest speaker.  We also leave time at the end of each meeting for sharing creative work and/or peer review of works in progress, book dummies, and portfolios.



Stay tuned!

Downstate Illustrators’ Network

Louann Brown 217-839-3264
Jerry Barrett 217-621-1369

QUARTERLY MEETINGS:   This Network maintains a Facebook page (Downstate Illinois SCBWI Illustrators) for critiques and information sharing between meetings. If you’d like to join us, send us a request via Facebook or email one of the network reps. At our meetings we typically discuss markets, critique work and share our journey. Everyone is welcome.


Diversity Network

 Stay Tuned for upcoming programming!

Representative: Donna Beasley

About our Diversity Network…

Every month, FREE, non-members welcome. If anyone needs additional ADA support such as sign language interpreter or other resources, please email  Donna Beasley in advance.

Diversity Network Meetings create a space where writers and illustrators who’ve traditionally been left at the margins in children’s publishing can get together. At these meetings we’ll build community, share stories of hurdles and successes, work to dismantle barriers, improve diversity and inclusion in children’s literature and SCBWI-IL, work on our craft and further our writing and/or illustrating careers. 

Our focus on diversity springs from the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement: We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, Native, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities. Because of the breadth of this focus, we will be particularly conscious of the intersectionality of oppressions and identities. Allies are welcome. (An ally is a person who supports, empowers, or stands up for another person or a group of people.)


“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” – Aboriginal activists group, Queensland, 1970s



Chicago Network


Mary Jo Gugliemo.

 Stay Tuned for upcoming programming!

Hyde Park Network (Chicago Southside)

Kate Hannigan  

Natasha Tarpley

DATE:  Wednesday, June 29

TIME: 6:00 pm

TOPIC:The Business of Books

Do you find yourself too busy to make books? Do you feel overwhelmed when it comes to growing your author business or pursuing your publishing goals?

In this interactive workshop, author/illustrator and creative entrepreneur, Arree Chung will teach you a step-by-step process of hiring a virtual assistant at a rate you can afford. You’ll learn how to get your time back so that you can focus on the creative work.

Arree is the founder of Storyteller Academy, which offers classes in children’s writing and illustration. and

Zoom Link Here


Chicago’s Southland Network


Jim Danielson 708-596-4479
Linda Dryfhout 

For more information and current shop talk topics, visit the Chicago Southland blog at

Shop Talks: 
Second Thursday of every month.


North Suburban Network


Carolyn Crimi 

Anny Rusk

Ilana Ostrar


DATE: Wednesday, July 13

TIME: 7-9 pm

EVENT: Summer Soiree

LOCATION:Happ Inn: 305 N Happ Rd, Northfield, IL 60093

Missing the original face time? Join us for our annual summer soiree to raise a glass and stuff your face with fellow kid lit comrades at the Happ Inn: 305 N Happ Rd, Northfield, IL 60093
RSVP by July 7th so we can get a head count for a reservation.

DATE: Wednesday, September 14

TIME: 7-9 pm

EVENT: NSN Annual Planning Meeting

Our programming is top notch because planning is a team effort. So please join us for our annual programming meeting to help us plan another stellar year. NOTE: We are not yet sure if this will be exclusively virtual or if we will meet in person. We will decide closer to the date.


Far North Suburban Network

Nicole Hewitt
Kim Oclon 


DATE: Wednesday, June 1

TIME: 7-9 PM

TOPIC: In-person Critique Night

If you would like to receive feedback on your work, please about 6-8 copies no more than  five double spaced pages. We’ll provide you with praise and suggestions. 

As of now, we are hoping we can meet in person. Please contact Kim if you are unsure if we are meeting in person or over Zoom.


Barnes and Noble Mellody Farms
901 N Milwaukee Ave Suite #500
Vernon Hills, IL 60061

DATE: Wednesday, August 3

TIME: 7-9 PM

TOPIC: Zoom Critique

We will met over Zoom this month. When the meeting reminder is sent out and if you’d like to share pages, please send them to Kim by the designated time. Prepare no more than five double-spaced pages.


Northwest Suburban Network


Veronica Rundell
Liz Searle

Stay Tuned for upcoming programming!

Dundee Area Network


Jennifer Wagh

Shop Talk/Critique Session

Second Wednesday of the month 7-9 p.m., unless otherwise noted.

Time:Jul 13, 2022 07:00 PM
        Aug 10, 2022 07:00 PM
        Sep 14, 2022 07:00 PM
        Oct 12, 2022 07:00 PM
Join Zoom Meeting
If you are a first time attendee please RSVP Jennifer Wagh 


Oak Park and Near West Suburban Network


Sarah Hammond 
Sallie Wolf 

Meetings: Stay tuned for Fall!

DATE: Thursday, May 12

TIME: 7-8:30 pm

EVENT:Unlocking Memories and Uncovering Stories










Author, journalist and teacher Beth Finke will lead a discussion on ways writing memoir and first-person narratives  could apply  –and benefit — the writing you do for children.
Through observation exercises and writing prompts, Beth’s workshop will answer common questions about  getting started, the difference between autobiography and memoir, exposing family secrets, using pen names and  pseudonyms,   finding and working with publishers.
A fun and easy-going workshop to discover ways friends, family, celebrations, milestones, moments and place can be catalysts for unlocking memories and uncovering stories.

Beth Finke likes to write, read and edit stories. Her children’s book, “Hani and Beth: Safe & Sound,” was published in print and in Braille in 2007. Written from her Seeing Eye dog’s point of view, it won the ASPCA’s Henry Bergh  Award for Children’s Literature  that year.

Beth has written a couple of books for adults, too: “Long Time, No See” (a memoir about adapting to sight loss at age 25) and “Writing Out Loud” (about  the memoir-writing classes she leads for older adults in Chicago). 

Beth returned to her role as children’s book  writer for a short bit this year, penning two textbooks  for an “Understanding Disabilities” project Sleeping Bear Press will publish for elementary schools this fall.

Find out more  at and on twitter @BethFinke

—LIVE EVENT FREE to both members and non-members. It will be recorded.

—Click to join LIVE Zoom Meeting on Thursday, May 12 at 7PM


—A recording will be made available on our Recordings BY REQUEST page beginning on May 1.

Bolingbrook/Naperville Network

Cathy Velasco
Mary and Rich Chamberlin 

Bolingbrook/Naperville Network meets three times a year from 10 a.m. – noon,  Saturday mornings.


DATE: Saturday, June 4

TIME: 10 am-NOON

LOCATION: Click to Join Zoom Meeting 

EVENT: Jenny Wagh’s Journey to Publication

Jenny Wagh, author of Eggasaurus (Simon and Schuster), is an SCBWI-IL success story! She will share her 16-year-long journey to traditional publication and what she learned along the way.

Also included are how to weather the highs and lows of writing, revising, and submitting, including tips and tricks to nurture your creative self to reach your goals. We personally cannot wait, so hope to see you there!

Geneva Network


Janet Riehecky 847-695-9781
Cheryl App 


Network meetings generally held first Wednesday & fourth Tuesday of each month, 7 p.m.


Rockford Network


Karin Blaski

Gina Buckles


DATE: Monday, June 6

TIME: 6-8 pm

EVENT:  Lisa Cron’s Story GeniusWe will be discussing Chapter 14: The Secret to Layering: Subplots, Storylines and Secondary Characters.


DATE: Monday, August 1

TIME: 6-8 pm

EVENT: Lisa Cron’s Story Genius, We will be discussing Chapter 15: Writing Forward:Stories Grow in Spirals

Galena/Freeport Area Network


Jamie Petras 815-541-3795

Critique Session/Shop Talks:

Fourth Saturday of each month

Please contact Jamie to verify dates.

DeKalb Area Network


Sarah Tobias

Shop Talk & Critique Session:

The third Wednesday of the month, January through November, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

No meetings in December



Central Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) Network

Elaine Bearden  

Stay tuned for upcoming programming!

Springfield Area Network

The Springfield Scribes

Debra Daugherty 


DATE: Monday, June 6

TIME: 5:30 P.M. social time, meeting starts at 6 P.M., ends at 7:45 P.M.

Location: Chatham Area Public Library

TOPIC: Face-to-Face Meet Up

The Springfield Scribes are meeting in person at the Chatham, Illinois, Public Library. There will be a writing prompt for a writing exercise. We will also share pages for critiques.

Location: Chatham Area Public Library
Address:600 East Spruce
Chatham, IL 62629
(217) 483-2713

DATE: Tuesday, July 5

TIME: 5:30 social time, meeting 6 – 7: 45 p.m.

Location: Chatham Area Public Library

TOPIC: Writing Prompt and Writing Goals

The Springfield Scribes are meeting in person at the Chatham, Illinois, Public Library. There will be a writing prompt for a writing exercise. We will also share pages for critiques. .

Name: Chatham Area Public Library
Address:600 East Spruce
Chatham, IL 62629
(217) 483-2713

DATE: Monday, August 1

TIME: 6-8 pm

TOPIC: Writing Prompt and Critique

The Springfield Scribes are meeting in person at the Chatham, Illinois, Public Library. There will be a writing prompt for a writing exercise. We will also share pages for critiques. .

Name: Chatham Area Public Library
Address:600 East Spruce
Chatham, IL 62629
(217) 483-2713



Edwardsville Network

Juli Caveny
Bonnie Swanson 

Monthly Critique Meeting:
We meet at 6:30 on the 2nd Wednesday of the month. Contact reps if you have any questions!

Fairview Heights Network

Katie Otey 

Monthly Critique Meeting:
Usually 3rd Wednesday of the month. Contact reps for meeting place and time.