Conferences, Workshops & Retreats

© Lori Ann Levy-Holm

The following is a list of conferences and workshop retreats offered for writers across the country. Conferences are listed first, chronologically, and retreats follow.


Tips for Attending the Summer Conference

Tips for Conference SCBWI Conference Newbies, Second Timers, plus a challenge for Many Timers

Avoiding the Biggest Post Conference Pitfall

Do's and Don'ts of Attending a Conference

9 Ways to Ruin a Writing Conference

Ask the Agent: Do You Need to Go to Writing Conferences?

On SCBWI, Advice for Authors and Illustrators - Giuseppe Castellano


A List of SCBWI Mentor Programs - there's no better way to advance your career and improve your craft than finding a mentor. SCBWI helps with its many regional mentor programs.

Ask a Picture Book Author and Free Mentorship (with Rebecca Colby)

Nevada SCBWI Mentorship Program - a six month mentorship program with a published author, illustrator, or editor, with in person writing conferences. Highly recommended!


SCBWI Events Calendar- Workshops, conferences, retreats and regional events. We do not list the individual regional SCBWI conferences on this page. 

Highlights Foundation Workshops 2015- A list of all of the workshops being offered by Highlights for the year. Some really great workshops being offered by the best in the biz.

Craft Writers' Workshops/Retreats: a nice list of writing retreats and conferences compiled by author Vonna Carter, not limited to kid lit

College Kid Lit Conferences -listing of children's literature conferences around the country

What are the Great Children's Literature Writing Retreats?


Online First Pages Workshop: Middle Grade and Chapter Books Share your first fifteen pages and get critique from literary agent and writing instructor Sally Apokedak. You'll submit to a private online workshop group, exchange feedback with peers and get written feedback from Sally. There will be a debrief webinar to close for discussion and questions.

JUNE 2017

June 19-24 Writers who Run Retreat - Spend six days with fellow writer-runners (or runner-writers). Be active, run/walk, workshop, see the sights, and be creative. (Fontana Dam, North Carolina)

JULY 2017

July 10-15  Writing for Children Workshop with Esther Hershenhorn Small week-long workshop with craft and writing instruction in the morning and writing time in the afternoon. (Green Mountains VT)

July 17-19 Mazza Museum Conference A conference for teachers, librarians, writers and illustrators to discuss picture books with prominent authors and illustrators. (Findlay, OH)

July 19 - 23 Stonybrook Children's Literature Conference  Five days of intensive writing craft workshops with a top-notch author in Picture Book, Middle Grade, and YA, with opportunities to "cross-pollinate" learning from the many other sessions in the entire Arts Summer program. Limited to 12 participants in each kidlit type. (Southhampton, Long Island)


Sept. 8-10 Squam Lake Retreat Hosted by the NESCBWI, join a small group of writers and mentors to work on your manuscript.

Sept. 22-24  Pacific Coast Children's Writers Workshop  
(15th annual): Receive 1-2 critiques on your partial or full MG or YA 

novel by editors Stacey Barney (G.P. Putnam's) and Katherine Harrison (Knopf), and/or agent Brianne Johnson (Writers House), plus savvy teen readers. Craft-intensive; intimate. Scholarships available for teen writers in the separate, partly-integrated Teenspeak Novel Workshop. (Coastal Santa Cruz, CA) 

Sept. 22-24 Big Sur on Cape Cod Come join the Andrea Brown Literary Agency for their second Big Sur on Cape Cod conference. Work closely in small groups with ABLA agents and hand-picked editors and authors. (Cape Cod, MA)


Oct. 7 Picture Book Summit  Participate in a full day of picture book learning, with luminaries like Tomie DePaola, Carole Boston Weatherford, and Adam Rex; live craft workshops; and agent and editor interviews. Brought to you by the amazing people at 12x12 (Julie Foster Hedlund), CBI (Laura Backes Bard and Jon Bard), Institute of Children's Literature (Katie Davis), and Just Write for Kids (Emma Walton Hamilton)

Oct 12-15, 2017 Better Books Marin An intensive craft-based workshop for MG & YA authors, with one-on-one mentor workshops with a stellar lineup: editor Emma Dryden, editor Harold Underdone, senior agent Stephen Frasier (Jennifer diChiara) and editor Tiffany Liao (Henry Holt Books). (Menlo Park, CA)

Oct 21, 2017 Rutgers One-on-One  A conference where you are paired one-on-one with an industry mentor (agent, editor, art director, or published author or illustrator). All genres and levels of writing for children (PB to YA) are welcome.  Applications are open and due by June 27.

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