Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Critique Fest Seminar Schedule

We’ve got a great lineup of seminars spread out over Critique Fest! All times are Eastern Standard Time.


Friday, March 12 at 8 pm (EST)

Motivational Keynote by Carmen Agra Deedy


Saturday, March 13 at 11:00 AM (EST)

Key Revision Tools and Approaches by Harold Underdown

Revising a manuscript can be daunting! So many different aspects may need work. How do you figure out what’s wrong?  Where do you start? To get you going, Harold Underdown will give you an overview of the revision process from “big picture” to final polishing, with recommended tools to use at different stages. These will include the “revision grid,” “Essential Questions,” hunting for problem words, and ways to “read differently.”

Carefully selected from Kid’s Book Revisions workshops and retreats, the tools presented will be supported with handouts and links to instructional videos and additional resources. You’ll learn not only how to get started, but where to turn for additional tools and tips.


Saturday, March 13  at 1:30 (EST)

Pitch Panel with Agents Minju Chang, Emily Forney, Ameerah Holliday, and Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez

Pitch Party. A panel of four agents will give feedback on as many pre-submitted pitches as possible in this hour-long event.

Click here to learn more about these amazing agents.

The idea for a “pitch” came from “elevator pitch,” meaning if you were in an elevator with an agent or editor and she said, “So, tell me what your book is about?” this would be the quick summary you’d say to interest her in your book … keeping in mind you’d only have about a minute at the most until she reached her floor and got off the elevator. A pitch is similar to a logline. For resources about crafting a pitch/logline, click here and  here.  Please note, comp titles are optional in this Pitch Panel setting.

During the panel, the moderator will read a pitch (no more than 3 minutes, shorter is better). Each agent will respond if she chooses — to the idea, to whether the pitch raises questions, to whether the idea fits the genre . . . whatever comes to mind as a first response. Then we move on to the next pitch.

Please note that we may not have time to include all the pitches in the allotted hour.

Send your pitch ahead of time to Deadline to send these is March 12.


Bonus Seminar! Something to enjoy during your wait for feedback from the professional critiques:


Saturday, April 17 at 11:00 AM           

Nonfiction 101: Answers to Your Burning Questions by Melissa Stewart

Nonfiction for children has changed dramatically in recent years, evolving in exciting new directions, and publishers are increasingly interested in publishing this new breed of books that delight as well as inform. Whether you’re new to the world of informational writing or looking to fill in gaps in your nonfiction knowledge, this session is for you. Attendees submit up to three questions when they register, and veteran nonfiction author and SCBWI Board member Melissa Stewart will share PowerPoint slides that address as many as possible in 60 minutes. A handout with additional resources will also be available.


Special Opportunity!

In addition, each person who purchases either of the manuscript critique options will be able to register for one of the small critique language clinics with Harold Underdown!

Clinic Description: Are you puzzled by a suggestion or term in your critique? Do you have no idea what step to take first in tackling the revision of your manuscript? Then bring your questions and concerns to this informal session. Revision expert Harold Underdown welcomes you into his home office through Zoom to answer your questions and discuss common revision problems.

Submit questions by email ahead of time to Melissa Miles (please put “Question for Harold Underdown” in the subject line) or ask them during the session—and be sure to listen to and learn from other participant’s questions. Spaces are limited, and available on a first come, first serve basis–so register early to guarantee a spot in the clinic of your choice. Available dates:


Critique Language Clinic #1

Wednesday, March 17

3:00-4:00 PM EST

Critique Language Clinic #2

Thursday, March 18

8:00-9:00 PM EST   

Critique Language Clinic #3

Friday, March 19

8:00-9:00 PM EST