Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

May 2016 Newsletter

Happy May Everyone!


April was a busy month with Bologna Book Fair, which I was lucky enough to help organize and work at. If you haven’t had a chance to check out SCBWI Co-Chair Chris Cheng’s Bologna blog ( ), do so. Also, SCBWI member Chazda Albright, who I met for the first time down in Bologna, also wrote a very thoughtful piece comparing the Frankfurt and Bologna book fairs. Also well worth the read:


Summer, hopefully, is right around the corner and that means it’s time to think about the Summer BBQ party! Catherine Freiss, from the Stuttgart area,  has volunteered to host it this year and she has set up a survey for everyone to mark down which Saturday works the best. The date with the most votes win. You can find the doodle poll here:


Upcoming Events:

I am very excited to announce a new event especially for Middle Grade writers:


Creating Memorable Middle Grade Characters – A webinar with Agent Stephanie Fretwell-Hill

Why do some characters stay with readers long after the book has closed? In this webinar, we will look at techniques for creating, writing, and revising character details to help your middle grade characters come to life. Some of the topics we will cover include your characters’ wants, needs, and flaws; how to use setting, POV, dialogue, and plot to create richer characters; and techniques for revealing character effectively. There will be ample time for questions during this 90-minute session. Afterward, you may submit a 500-word sample demonstrating one of the topics covered for critique.


About Stephanie

Stephanie Fretwell-Hill is a literary agent with a sales and editorial background. After starting her career in foreign rights at Walker Books in the UK, Stephanie moved home to Atlanta as an acquiring editor at Peachtree Publishers. Most recently, she joined Red Fox Literary where she represents authors and illustrators of picture books, middle grade, and YA fiction and non-fiction. During her ten years in the publishing industry, she has had the privilege of working with respected colleagues and award-winning authors and artists from around the world.



Webinar with Agent Stephanie Fretwell-Hill with optional 500-word critique demonstrating one of the topics covered during the workshop. All submissions due two weeks after the webinar. Further details upon registration. Registration limited to 15 participants.



Thursday, June 9, 2016 from 8:30 – 10:00 pm Central European Time



SCBWI member  – €25

SCBWI member with critique  – €45

Registration starts Friday, May 6th and is limited to 15 people. To register visit the website at:



North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) Kidlit Chat & Creative Scrawl: BONN


NRW is the most highly populated state in Germany and we’re trying to reach as many writers as possible to see how we can support each other.

We'll meet at the natural history museum in Bonn for an insider tour. Come and join us for inspiration from the wild side!


Date: Saturday, May 28, 2016

Time: 11 AM to 1 PM

Location: Museum Alexander Koenig, Bonn. Adenaueralle 160, 53113 Bonn. 

Directions: From the main train station, it's easy to get here with the streetcar 16 or 63 because Museum Koenig has its own stop. (More details, in German:

Cost: Free

There's no charge for the admission or the tour because it's Museumsmeilenfest in Bonn. Bring money for a drink or snack from the café.Please join us for a morning of conversation and creativity in Bonn. All writers, illustrators and SCBWI members are welcome to this stop on the SCBWI tour of central Germany. We’ll be working on character reactions, so bring a short passage or illustration from the work of a favorite author or illustrator.

What to bring: pen/pencil, paper, current project. Digital camera or phone might be especially useful for the tour.


If you live in or near North Rhine-Westphalia and you’d like the NRW Chat and Creative Crawl to come to a city near you, send us an e-mail:

Laurel Decher at ldecher AT gmail DOT com or

Jane Joo Park at janepark AT gmail DOT com 


Other Europolitan Events:




WHAT IT TAKES – A Workshop with Sarah Davies

Join us in Amsterdam for a unique chance to meet with and learn from amazing industry professional Sarah Davies, agent and founder of Greenhouse Literary.

The publishing industry can seem impenetrable. This is an inside, interactive look at how to write great, standout fiction and break into the marketplace. What it takes in concept, craft and industry knowledge, plus insights into agents’ decision-making and processes, client relationships, query-writing, how deals are done, and tips on surviving the publishing rollercoaster and building a career. Lots of opportunities for questions and hopefully some creative writing to finish off the session, so bring paper and pen!

A limited number of participants can sign up for one (1) individual 10-minute Manuscript Consultation (10 pages max or one picture book text of 1,000 words max) for an additional fee. Select the Manuscript Consultation add-on when registering. Full details of submission are printed below. Deadline for submission is May 1, 2016.

Sarah Davies is always looking for new MG and YA. She is also open to new picture book work by author/illustrators.

Sarah Davies was a publisher for 25 years before launching Greenhouse Literary in 2008. She’s open to all genres of fiction from chapter-book series through YA, but also sells picture books, non-fiction and even adult fiction by existing clients. Among Greenhouse’s authors are NYT bestseller Brenna Yovanoff, Morris Award winner Blythe Woolston, and 2015 Kirkus Prize finalist Martha Brockenbrough. In YA she seeks quality writing complementing a unique premise. In MG she enjoys both adventurous storylines and classic-voiced fiction. More than anything she loves to see something she’s never seen before!  Sarah is a member of AAR.


For more information visit:


Future things to think about:


Frankfurt Book Fair October 19 – 23, 2016

If people are interested, SCBWI can rent a house or apartment near Frankfurt to use as a sort of retreat/drop in center during the fair. All costs for lodging and any shared meals would be evenly divided between all participants. Please contact me if you’d like to participate. If there’s enough early interest, I’ll start looking for an easily accessible place.



Europolitan Conference March 2017

Belgium is our host for the next conference. Once again all of the Europolitan regions are working together to make it a conference you won’t want to miss. And – it won’t be during the Easter Weekend this time around!



Remember to follow us on twitter ( ), Facebook (, and over at our blog ( ) for the most up to date information. And if you’d like your blog featured on our Members’ blogs list on the website, please let me know.


I wish you all a sunny and warm spring. And be sure to stay in touch!