Conferences, Workshops & Retreats

© Lisa Anchin

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

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

On SCBWI, Advice for Authors and Illustrators

Seven Tips for Your Next Writers' Conference


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

Craft Writers' Workshops/Retreats 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?


Feb. 26-April 23 Revising and Re-Imagining Your Novel or Chapter Book Kid's Book Revisions invites writers to join them to learn about the revision process and get tools and techniques in their "Revising and Re-Imagining Your Novel or Chapter Book" webinar. Class starts in less than 2 weeks! Taught by renown editors Harold Underdown and Eileen Robinson.

Spring  Writing conference: 9 sessions with writing & marketing professionals As part of author Shaunta Grime's pre-order campaign for her book, THE ASTONISHING MAYBE, she is offering 9 webinars for those who pre-order her book, with agent Elizabeth Bennett of Transatlantic Agency, editor Liz Szabla at Feiwel & Friends, authors Ellen Hopkins, Judy Schachner, Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty, marketing experts Jeff Goin, Tim Grahl, and many more.

April 29, 4:00 - 5:15 p.m. First Pages in Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction A strong opening chapter is essential in capturing not just an agent's attention, but in hooking your readers. But what makes a truly engaging opening? How much backstory is too much backstory, and what is connecting your reader to your main character? And is capturing the entire scope of a novel in the opening pages really all that necessary? In this lecture, literary agent Sarah LaPolla will discuss the best ways to effectively present voice, story, and character in your opening pages in ways that reach teen readers and keep an agent wanting more. (Discloure: the link above is an affiliate link; registering through this link will help support Kidlit411)


May 5-9 Highlights Whole Novel Workshop. For MG and YA authors, have your whole novel read and critiqued prior to the workshop, plus a week of one-on-one mentoring. Application deadline Feb 2.

May 8, 8:30 p.m.-9:45 p.m. Middle Grade v. Young Adult Fiction, a Q&A with Cheryl Klein  Cheryl Klein, editorial director at Lee & Low, will explore the differences between middle grade and young adult fiction in this structured Q&A session. There will be time for audience questions at the end of the Q&A. Unable to attend live? All registrants will have access to the recording for 30 days after the event. (link is an affiliate link: signing up through this will help support Kidlit411)

May TBA Exclusive Nonfiction Beach Retreat. Join authors Candace Fleming and Jen Swanson, five editors, and an editor at a beach retreat focusing on writing nonfiction for kids. More details to come.

May 17-May 19 Big Sur Children's Writer's Workshop An Exclusive Workshop for Serious Children's Book Writers
Through these personalized workshops, Andrea Brown Literary Agency and leaders in the industry, work with writers to polish their materials. Faculty include Yolanda Scott (Associate Publisher & Director, Charlesbridge Publishing), and authors David Elliot, Anne Sibley O'Brien. (Cape Cod, MA)


June 14-16 Squam Writes Retreat A small group retreat for writers and illustrators of children's literature focused on craft and especially beneficial to those ready to start down the road to publication. There will be opportunities for feedback and plenty of time to write, make new friends, and recharge creative batteries in a beautiful New Hampshire lakeside setting. Every participant receives a one-on-one critique with an agent or editor. (Squam Lake, NH)


The annual Southampton Children's Lit Conference provides a unique forum in which to study and discuss the craft of writing for children. Open to new, established and aspiring writers, the 5-day Conference takes place every July in the Hamptons, at the Eastern End of New York's Long Island—a resort area of natural beauty. World-renowned authors, illustrators and editors offer inspiration and guidance through workshops, lectures, group discussions and special presentations. Workshops in picture book, middle grade and young adult writing meet daily for 3 hour sessions (enrollment is limited to 12 students per workshop.) In the afternoons, participants choose from a wide range of elective sessions with distinguished authors, editors, publishers, and agents.  

July 12-14 Vermont Writers Roundtable Learn from editor Laura Backes and authors Stephen Swinburne and Peter Lourie in a three-day, small group (maximum 15 authors) workshop setting, to work on nonfiction manuscripts. Also included is a Skype visit with an author.

2019 Children's Lit Conference 
July 10-14, 2019 
Picture Book with Dan Yaccarino
Middle Grade (Faculty TBA)
Young Adult with Donna Freitas


Sept. 21-25 and Sept 25-29 Avalon Writer's Full Manuscript Retreat Small writing retreats of 8 writers and 2 professionals (agent + editor), where you get a 30-page critique, first page sessions, and more.  Faculty for first session: Catherine Laudone, editor, Simon & Schuster and Wendi Gu, agent, Janklow & Nesbit; Second session: Alexandra Borbello, editor, Athaneum and Claire Freedman, agent at Inkwell Management.

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