Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

26th Annual Pocono Mountain Retreat 2018

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Date(s) - 05/04/2018 - 05/06/2018
3:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Highlights Foundation at the Barn
392 Boyds Mills Road - Milanville, PA


You bring the FORCE to your work.

We’ll bring the FORCE with awesome faculty and engaging sessions.


May 4 – 6, 2018

Registration opens on February 27 at 8am.

→Network with peers, authors, illustrators, agents, and editors 

→Attend Workshops

→Have your work peer and professionally critiqued

→Retreat to your cabin to revise and write in this beautiful setting

Our annual Pocono Retreat is packed with talent. This year’s faculty includes: Tara Lazar, Angela Dominguez, Harold Underdown, and KM Walton, as well as industry professionals: editor Kate Prosswimmer, art director Ellice Lee, and agent Kira Watson.

Our theme this year is MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU and is meant to inspire FORCE in your work and in the children’s book community. You’ll enjoy portfolio reviews, manuscript critiques, craft sessions, and the comforts of the Highlights Foundation Retreat Center.


Faculty bios HERE.

Tentative schedule HERE.


Our full conference schedule runs from Friday, May 4th, 3:00pm with an optional tour of Boyds Mills Press and Highlights Magazine editorial offices, through Sunday, May 6th, at 1:00pm. The cost is $275 for SCBWI members ($325 for non-members).  Sorry – no refunds after 4/17/18.

PAL REGISTRATION: $175 for SCBWI PAL Members for entire weekend. You can join our keynotes, attend our workshops, or just stay in your room and write. Hang out with your friends at meals, sell your books Saturday at our book sale, and (did we mention?) write. Sorry – no refunds after 4/17/18.


(not included in registration)

LODGING: Available onsite at the Highlights Foundation or at the nearby Central House.  Rooms for two nights (Friday and Saturday) and onsite meals from Friday (dinner) through Sunday (lunch) are $293 for a single and $218 for a double, triple or quad. Price includes room and meals for the weekend. Single rooms are limited and available on a first come, first serve basis.  For reservations, please contact Jo Lloyd at the Highlights Foundation at or call 1(877) 512-8365 or (570) 251-4557. Central House is a short drive from the retreat center.

*Please inform Jo Lloyd of any dietary restrictions when making lodging/meal arrangements*

MEALS: Are included in lodging costs from the Highlights Foundation but are not included in the registration costs.  If you will not be staying onsite, please contact Jo Lloyd to make meal arrangements.  If you have any special dietary preferences or requirements, please inform the Highlights Foundation when making lodging reservations.

Please speak directly with Jo Lloyd to ensure the arrangements available will meet your needs, or call 1(877) 512-8365 or (570) 251-4557. 


ARTWORK/PORTFOLIO CRITIQUES: (at additional cost of $45) Register and add on this option. Bring your illustrator portfolio to the conference. You may also bring 1-2 originals to share with the art director/illustrator during your critique; however, SCBWI cannot be responsible for lost, stolen or damaged art. Do not send your portfolio/work in advance. Submit your payment of $45/critique with your conference registration.


MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUES: (at additional cost of $45) Register and add in this option. Email up to 10 pages of one manuscript, plus a one-page synopsis to  using Subject Line: “MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE POCONOS 2018”

For picture books:  Send one entire manuscript.

For chapter books, MG, YA:  Send up to 10 pages of your manuscript, plus a one-page synopsis. (Include synopsis in the same document; please don’t send two documents.)

Please follow standard formatting guidelines, double-spaced, 12 point font. Manuscripts must be received by April 12, 2018.

No submissions  or revisions will be accepted after this deadline.

Although a picture book may have fewer than ten pages, each manuscript counts as a separate submission.

You will receive an email confirmation of receipt of your manuscript.

If you do not receive confirmation by email, please let us know as we may not have received your submission.

We will try our best to honor your critique requests.

Submit your payment of $45/critique with your conference registration.

IMPORTANT: Critiques overlap with workshops,

as such you may miss part of a workshop during your critique.


At least one full scholarship is available to SCBWI EPA members who demonstrate exceptional promise as a writer or illustrator, and who could not otherwise afford to attend the retreat. Scholarship(s) will cover the registration fee and full accommodations for the weekend. Recipient(s) are responsible for transportation and should assist as needed during the retreat.

To apply: First, ensure that you are an SCBWI EPA member. EXTENDED TO March 18, 2018 please email (Use Subject line: Pocono Retreat 2018 Scholarship Application) with a cover letter explaining why you wish to attend and what you hope to gain from the conference, as well as one of the following:

→Illustrators: One illustration (in any standard electronic format) and a link to your illustrator’s website OR Three Illustrations

→Authors : Up to ten (10) pages of a manuscript (12 pt., double-spaced, saved as a .pdf, .doc or .docx). It may be a work in progress, but not work that is published or under contract.

→Author/Illustrators: Send a dummy OR manuscript (with above specifications) & one illustration. Dummy must be limited to 10MG. If you have difficulty with the size of your submission, please email

Winner will be notified by email by April 2, 2018.

The Selection Committee reserves the right not to award a scholarship if applicants do not meet necessary criteria. 


Illustrators, we hope you will participate in the Illustrator Showcase, an opportunity for you to display your artwork for the faculty and conference participants. To participate, please bring: your illustrator portfolio and/or one to two mounted prints, promotional postcards or business cards, and any props, such as table top easels you need to display your work. Please make sure all materials are labeled with your name and contact information. Please do not display original art as SCBWI cannot be responsible for lost, stolen or damaged art.

If you have questions please email Illustrator Coordinator Virginia Law Manning at


The conference faculty will sell their books through our on-site independent bookseller. The conference bookstore will be open  Saturday & Sunday.

SCBWI members who are paid attendees of this event may also sell their books at the conference, but must provide copies for sale at an individual table, not through the bookseller. After registering for the event, email to arrange table space. All member sales will take place on Saturday, May 5th.

The Silent Auction is always a highlight of the Pocono Retreat. Every year businesses, SCBWI members, and our faculty generously donate books, critiques, art, gift certificates, and care packages for the Silent Auction. These items are auctioned via silent bids on Saturday night. It’s a lot of fun!!!
The money raised from the auction finances the EPA SCBWI Scholarship Fund, which allows SCBWI EPA members who demonstrate exceptional promise as writers or illustrators to attend the conference when other financial means are not available to them. Please consider donating an item for the auction, and follow this link to see the fantastic packages already submitted!
Contact EPA Illustrator Coordinator Virginia Law Manning at with questions or donation information.


(Free with registration)

New to 2018, Peer-to-Peer manuscript and portfolio critiques will take place Saturday evening prior to the Silent Auction announcements.


For picture books:  Send entire manuscript and one or two sentence pitch. (Include pitch in same document.)

For chapter books, MG, YA:  Send up to 10 pages of your manuscript, plus a one or two sentence pitch. (Include pitch in same document.)

Format:  12pt font, double-spaced, one-inch margins, page numbers, and use .doc or .docx format. Include your name, email, and the genre on the first page of the submission, followed by your one or two sentence pitch.

Deadline:  Email your submission to ARA Lindsay Bandy, subject line CAT Submission no later than April 12,2018.


Sign up for this useful peer review of your portfolio by contacting Illustrator Coordinator Virginia Law Manning by April 30, 2018.


(Free with Registration)

Faculty will offer informal feedback from selected Fresh Pages/New Looks. To be considered, please use Subject Line “Pocono Fresh Pages/New Looks” and submit the first page of your manuscript, double-spaced, 12-pt. font, one page only (up to 250 words) or three illustrations from the same narrative (saved as jpg or PDF) to

Please include the genre and word count in the upper right hand corner of the page. Names should not be visible anywhere on the page.

We regret we may not be able to use all submissions due to time constraints but we will try to accommodate a variety of genres. 

Deadline: April 20, 2018.



Register online at Payments accepted via PayPal or check payable to:

Eastern PA SCBWI c/o Kim Briggs, PO Box 533, Pocono Pines, PA 18350


IMPORTANT: If you are an SCBWI member, make sure you’re logged into the website so you can see discounted member pricing.

QUESTIONS? Contact the EPA SCBWI regional team (Kim, Alison, Lindsay, and Virginia) at