Local Critique Groups

EASTERN PA SCBWI AUTHOR & ILLUSTRATOR CRITIQUE GROUPS 

Critique groups can be a key resource in your journey as an author and/or illustrator. I find surrounding myself with creative people inspires me. They help me brainstorm ideas when I’m stuck and see flaws in my work. But they also point out my strengths as a writer and illustrator and offer me support when I need it most.

But critique groups work best if the group is a good fit and all members challenge themselves to make the experience valuable for others. The group leader’s job is to coordinate and communicate the group’s rules and meeting times so that members come prepared and participate in a way that breeds a positive and supportive community. I hope you find a group that helps you be the best writer and/or illustrator you can be. And I doubly hope you’ll make the effort to be that partner for others.

EPA SCBWI Critique Groups are often held on a monthly basis, in communities throughout Eastern Pennsylvania. Each group is unique, shaped by the talents and focus of the Critique Group Leader and participants.

On this site you will see a list of critique groups throughout Eastern PA. If the group is open to new members, please contact the leader directly. If you do not see a group open in your area or an online group that meets your needs, please contact the Critique Group Coordinator Virginia Law Manning at vl_law@yahoo.cowith the subject line: Critique Groups. I will contact you about other possibilities. 

 

Please include:

1) Your name

2) Your preferred contact email address

3) Your writing focus: board books & picture books, chapter books, middle grade, young adult, new adult

4) Your location and/or general area


5) Your ideal critique group membership preferences (i.e., for illustrators or writers, meet in person or online, would you be willing to organize and lead a new critique group. If so, there are members who are willing to help you get started. Or would you prefer to join a pre-existing group or an on-line group).

 

Below you'll find a listing of critique groups within Eastern PA. We ask that groups help us keep this information current by emailing changes to Virginia Law Manning at vl_law@yahoo.com.

 

ONLINE GROUPS LISTED FIRST, THEN ALPHABETICALLY BY CITY or REGION

 

 

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Region: ONLINE using Voxer and Google Hangouts

Group Name: The Night Crew

Genres: MG

Writers/Illustrators: Writers

Contact Person: Dana Kramaroff

Contact Email: dkramaroff.depd@gmail.com

Meeting Place: Online using Voxer (a free walkie-talkie app) and/or Google Hangouts

Meeting Time: On Voxer (anytime day or night! ongoing – be as involved as much or as little as you like) AND then monthly On Google Hangouts 8:30-10:00 pm Friday or Saturday nights once a month.  Don't be swayed by the use of technology.  I am happy to help you with that!

Open to New Members: YES!!!

Additional Notes including Submission Guidelines if any:  I work full time in education and have little kids.  I have found great success in using Voxer (you can use it on any device from cell to tablet to laptop/computer) and Google Hangout (all you need is a Gmail account, also free!) with education groups I belong to so I would like to try this out! I am looking to create this group for anyone in a similar situation. Even if writing is your full time job, you are welcome too! The Night Crew is born!

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Region: ONLINE

Writers/Illustrators: Illustrators

Contact Person: Ben Pannell

Contact Email: btpannell@gmail.com

Meeting Place: Online Critiques

Meeting Time: Online Critiques

Open to New Members: Yes

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Region: BERKS COUNTY

Genres: PB and Early CB

Writers/Illustrators: Writers

Contact Person: Nadine Poper

Contact Email:  teachna@hotmail.com

Meeting place: Berks County. Fleetwood Library, but other locations can be considered.

Meeting Time: We meet once a month, usually on a Tues. evening. 

Open to new members: Yes

Additional notes:  Members should have knowledge in children's literature. Members submit manuscripts for critique 2 weeks prior to meeting. Maximum of 6 members.

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Region: BUCKS COUNTY (Newtown, New Hope)

Genres: PB, CB, MG, YA

Writers/Illustrators: Both

Contact Person:  Barbara Clark

Contact Email: bnknclark@gmail.com

Meeting Place: Corner Bakery Cafe, 3 West Road, Newtown, PA 18940

Meeting Time: Once per month, weekdays during the day

Open to New Members: Yes

Additional Notes including Submission Guidelines: Members email manuscripts to all group members one week prior to meetings.

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Region: BUCKS COUNTY (WARINGTON) 

Group name: Pencilvania Children's Book Writers Critique Group

Genre: PB, MS, Poetry (Open to any children's book genre) 

Leader: Ali Pichardo 

Contact information: apichardo56@gmail.com 

Location: Wegmans (upstairs), 1405 N. Main Street, Warington, PA

Meetings: every other Friday 12:30-2:30

Open to new members: Yes!!

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Region:  CHESTER COUNTY (Areas within a forty minute drive of Downingtown, Exton, West Chester)

Group Name:  To be decided with members


Genre:  Middle Grade, fiction and non-fiction

Writer/Illus:  Writers (published and unpublished)

Contact Person:  Helen Kitrosser


Contact email:  rhkit@msn.com

First Meeting Place:  Panera Bread, 151 East Swedesford Rd., Exton, PA (open to change)

Meeting Time:  Monthly during daytime preferred, but open to change by members' needs

Open to New Members:  Yes

Additional notes and submission guidelines: This will be a new critique group for authors (both published and unpublished) who write for children nine to thirteen years old. All interested writers will be asked to exchange writing samples with organizer to determine potential fit. ALL writers will be contacted prior to the first meeting.

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Region: CUMBERLAND COUNTY (Mechanicsburg, Silver Spring Township)

Genres: PB and CB

Writers/Illustrators: Writers

Contact Person: Jeanne Curtin

Contact Email:   jeannecurtin@yahoo.com

Meeting place: TBD, please email Jeanne Curtin for next meeting date and location

Meeting Time: Once per month, please email Jeanne Curtin for next meeting date and location

Open to new members: Yes

Additional notes: New critique group. Members will meet in person. Jeanne Curtin is willing to lead or co-lead group.

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Region: DELAWARE COUNTY (W. Philly suburbs, including but not limited to: Broomall, Media, Newtown Square, Drexel Hill)

Genres: PB

Writers/Illustrators: Writers

Contact Person: Donna Righi

Contact Email:  dmr999@verizon.net

Meeting place: TBD, considering Marple Library in Broomall, PA.

Meeting Time: TBD, considering once or twice a month on Saturday, 10:15 – 11:15 am

Open to new members: Yes

Additional notes: Ideal Membership: Published and pre-published picture book writers; Picture book illustrators also welcome (but group’s focus is on writing). Critique Group Goal: To be a supportive, helpful, informative space for picture book writers, and to put all participants on the road to their best picture book writing ever!

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Region: KING OF PRUSSIA/MALVERN

Group Name:

Genres: PB/CB

Writers/Illustrators: Both

Contact Person: Robin Jordan

Contact Email: rjtweet@roadrunner.com

Meeting Place: Barnes and Noble, Wayne

Meeting Time: Every four weeks at 12:00 noon

Open to New Members: Yes

Additional Notes: Notes: This is a critique group for experienced and dedicated authors.

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Region: LAKE ARIEL

Group Name:

Genres: All genres welcome! [At present, the group mostly consists of YA, NA, and A manuscripts, though occasionally PB, CB, and MG are brought as well.]

Writers/Illustrators: Yes [Again, mostly writers at this time.]

Contact Person: Kristen Strocchia

Contact Email: kcstrocchia@gmail.com

Meeting Place: Currently rotating between members' houses as needed/available.

Meeting Time: Moving to Monday nights at 7pm [once a month]

Open to New Members: Yes

Additional Notes including Submission Guidelines if any: Each member's critique lasts approximately 20 minutes including: time to read your manuscript portion aloud, and time for each other member to provide feedback. Generally this time period allows for 7-9 pages to be shared and critiqued comfortably.
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Region: LANCASTER

Group Name:

Genres: PB, CB, MG, YA

Writers/Illustrators: Yes

Contact Person: Eva Polites

Contact Email: evapol@comcast.net

Meeting Place: Panera–Fruitville Pike

Meeting Time: 2nd Tuesday

Open to New Members: No

Additional Notes including Submission Guidelines if any: Let’s get together!!!

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Region: LANCASTER COUNTY

Genres: PB, CG, MG, YA, NA

Writers/Illustrators: Writers only

Contact Person: Jeanne Moran

Contact Email:  authorjeannemoran@gmail.com

Meeting Place: Aaron’s Books, Main Street, Lititz, PA

Meeting Time: Last Sunday of every month 2-4 pm

Additional Notes: We share our work-in-progress by email a week before our monthly in-person meeting. When we meet, we offer verbal and written feedback to the author in the form of encouragement and constructive critique. Our guidelines are available on request. New members are welcome!

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Region: LEHIGH VALLEY/ NORTHAMPTON COUNTY

Group Name:

Genres: PB, CB, MG, YA

Writers/Illustrators: Yes

Contact Person: Elizabeth Loane

Contact Email: elizloane@gmail.com

Meeting Place:  Barnes & Nobles, Freemansburg Ave., Bethlehem, PA

Meeting Time:  6:30 PM, one Tuesday a month

Open to New Members: Would consider a picture book writer or writer / illustrator 

Additional Notes including Submission Guidelines if any: Must be willing to review all genres and be committed to make most meetings. 

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Region: MONTGOMERY COUNTY Royersford/Limerick/Collegeville

Group Name: Towne KidLit Writers

Genres: PB, CB

Writers/Illustrators: Yes

Contact Person: Lauren LeBlanc

Contact Email: laurenkleblanc@yahoo.com

Meeting Place: Towne Book Center

Meeting Time: First Tuesday of every month 

Open to New Members: No

Additional Notes including Submission Guidelines if any: Group is currently full and closed, but we will put out a notice for new members as soon as a spot opens up. 

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Region: MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Genres: PB, CB, MG, YA

Writers/Illustrators: All writers

Contact Person: Wendy Greenley

Contact Email: wendy@wendygreenley.com

Meeting Place: Barnes & Noble, North Wales, PA

Meeting Time: Two times per month on a Wednesday morning

Open to New Members: Currently closed but group keeps a waiting list in case a spot opens up. 

Additional Notes including Submission Guidelines if any: Manuscripts are exchanged a week in advance online. Comments and manuscripts returned at the meeting. Group size is limited. Currently one opening. No “drop ins.”

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Region: NORTHAMPTON COUNTY/LEHIGH VALLEY

Group Name:

Genres: PB, CB, MG, YA

Writers/Illustrators: Yes

Contact Person: Elizabeth Loane

Contact Email: elizloane@gmail.com

Meeting Place:  Barnes & Nobles, Freemansburg Ave., Bethlehem, PA

Meeting Time:  6:30 PM, one Tuesday a month

Open to New Members: Would consider a picture book writer or writer / illustrator 

Additional Notes including Submission Guidelines if any: Must be willing to review all genres and be committed to make most meetings. 

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Region: PHILLY – CENTER CITY

Group Name: Center City Philly PB Crit Group

Genres: PB

Writers/Illustrators: Writers and author-illustrators

Contact Person: Anna Forester

Contact Email: annaveforrester@gmail.com

Meeting Place: Various locations in Centery City and Manayunk

Meeting Time: Second Wednesday of every month, 6-8 PM

Open to New Members: The group is currently full, as of 1/2017, however we do keep a waiting list and two members are actually in the process of getting a second group started off the waiting list, which is open to both authors and authors/illustrators (but is slightly heavier on illustration than the first group).

Additional Notes: including Submission Guidelines if any: The group is capped at 8 members and includes both published and unpublished authors and author/illustrators. 4 people present work each month. Subbing 1 week in advance of meetings.

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Region: POCONO MOUNTAINS

Genre: My writing focus: Board Books, Picture Books. (Group Genre: OPEN)

Writers/Illustrators: ALL WELCOME!

Contact Person: Kelly Jean Gillow

Contact Email: kellygillow@countryhomelearning.com

Meeting Place:       Country Home Learning & Art Center, 1784 Rt. 209 Suite101 Brodheadsville, Pa.                               18322 (Across from Wawa)

Meeting Time: We meet on the 1st Thursday of every month. 6-8pm

Open to New Members: Yes

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That's it for now, if you didn't find a group in your area or you're interested in starting one, please email EPA Critique Group Coordinator Virginia Law Manning at vl_law@yahoo.com 

 

Thanks and talk to you soon!

 

Write on,

Kim Briggs

CO-RA Eastern PA SCBWI