Online registration is no longer available. Walk-ins welcome! Please call or stop by for more details ($335 for full weekend, $200 for one-day registration). Thank you!
About the Writing Weekend
This unique and exciting conference covers all aspects of creating books for children, from developing ideas to honing your skills to finding a publisher. Conference participants will spend the weekend writing, illustrating, workshopping, networking, and perfecting their craft. Our celebrated faculty of award-winning authors, illustrators, agents, and editors will offer inspiration and guidance in a collegial and intimate setting. Participants will work closely with other writers and illustrators in a particular area of emphasis, such as writing for picture books or illustration; and have the opportunity to get feedback from experts in a workshop setting. Writing sessions will be offered where participants can workshop something they have been working on in a group with a faculty facilitator. The writing sessions will focus on craft, style and structure. Expert panels feature topics of common interest, such as finding an agent, how to work with your editor, marketing and promotion, and more. There will be many opportunities for faculty and participants to talk, laugh, and exchange ideas in workshops, lunches, and at evening events.
Open to new, established and aspiring writers and illustrators, the conference takes place in beautiful Marin County, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco and adjacent to Northern California’s wine country.
What else will be covered?
When participants are not writing and critiquing their work, they will participate in panels and discussions about a variety of key topics for authors. The topics will include:
• How to find an agent
• Query letters and pitches
• Trends in the Picture Book market
• Working with an editor
• Creativity and inspiration
• Working with a writing group
• Developing empathetic characters
In addition to these structured sessions, participants will have plenty of time to network and interact. The Weekend Workshop will include lunch on both days and a dinner on Saturday, during which the faculty and participants are encouraged to mingle.
The Weekend Schedule
SATURDAY, JANUARY 23
9:00 – 9:15 am Conference Check In
9:15 – 9:30 am Conference Kick-off/Welcome + Introductions
9:30 – 10:30 am Against All Odds with Salina Yoon
10:35 – 11:00 am A Librarian’s Perspective with Jane Ritter
11:10 am – 12:00 pm KEYNOTE: Why is Where the Wild Things so Wonderful? Deconstructing Three Classic Picture Books with Jon Agee
12:10 – 1:10 pm Editor Panel featuring Katie Carella and Allison Moore
1:10 – 2:15 pm Lunch
2:15 – 3:15 pm The Graphic Novel & Experience Publishing/Promoting with Ian Lendler
3:15 – 4:15 pm Raising Social Awareness Through Picture Books with Kathryn Otoshi
2:15 – 4:15 pm TRACK 1: Critique Group Session for Illustrators with Julie Downing
TRACK 2: Critique Group Session for Writers with Amy Novesky
TRACK 3: Critique Group Session for Writers with Katie Carella
TRACK 4: Critique Group Session for Writers with Eve Porinchak
TRACK 5: Critique Group Session for Writers with Andrea Alban
4:25 – 5:50 pm Agent Panel featuring Eve Porinchak, Abigail Samoun, & Amy Rennert
5:50 – 7:00 pm Dinner & Networking Consultations
SUNDAY, JANUARY 24
9:00 – 10:30 am A Query Letter Workshop with Eve Porinchak, Abigail Samoun, & Amy Rennert
10:40 am – 12:00 pm Picture This: Creating a captivating story in 750 words or less with Andrea Alban
Beginning to End, Creating the Art for Picture Books with Julie Downing
12:10 – 1:10 pm Lunch
1:10 – 2:10 pm The Writer and the Illustrator: How They Work Together with Amy Novesky & Julie Downing
Telling Stories with Words and Pictures: How to create more compelling picture books with Bethanie Murguia
2:20 – 3:20 pm Publishing Panel with Amy Novesky & Simon Stahl
3:30 – 4:30 pm Collaboration Magic: A conversation between the author of Desiree’s Night Flight and her writing mentor with Andrea Alban & Jacquie Faber
4:30 pm Conference Wrap-up & Goodbyes
Who will be there?
Was an in-house children’s book editor for over ten years, working on a wide range of projects, from board books to young adult novels. Her books received such honors as the CCBC Charlotte Zolotow award, the New York Public Library Ezra Jack Keats award, and the Pura Belpre. In 2011, Abigail made the transition from editing to agenting, co-founding Red Fox Literary with Karen Grencik. She is the author of three children’s books, What’s In Your Purse? (Chronicle Books, 2014) and the Little Traveler board book series published by Sterling Publishing.
Award-winning children’s book editor and author. Her books include Me, Frida; Georgia in Hawaii; Imogen, The Mother of Modernism and Three Boys; Mister and Lady Day, and the forthcoming Cloth Lullaby. She lives in Marin.
Illustrator of a large collection of children's picture books, such as Little Santa, The Other Side of Town, Nothing, and most notably the National Book Award-nominated Mean Margaret. He lives in San Francisco with his wife.
Author of a series of graphic novels titled, The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue (First Second). In addition, he has written two children’s picture books: An Undone Fairy Tale and the upcoming Saturday (Roaring Brook, 2016). Plus, after the children have gone to bed, he has a book for adults titled, Alcoholica Esoterica (Penguin), a non-fiction history of alcohol. He started life as a journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle, CNN.com, and Mental_Floss magazine.
Bethanie Murguia earned an MFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts. She has created numerous picture books including Zoe Gets Ready, I Feel Five, and the forthcoming, Cockatoo, Too. Her illustrations and books have received many accolades, including Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Book Awards, Bank Street College Best Books of the Year, and a variety of SCBWI awards.
Senior Editor, oversees Scholastic’s early chapter book line, Branches, as well as the fiction leveled reader line. Her career began on the adult side of publishing in marketing and publicity. She then earned her master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania and taught elementary school--all before entering children's editorial in 2007. She has edited many early chapter book series, including The Notebook of Doom and Owl Diaries. She has also edited leveled readers such as The Long Dog. Katie is focused on creating great books for newly-independent readers!
Associate Editor at Little Brown Books for Young Readers who works on a wide range of books from illustrated titles to middle grade and young adult novels. She has worked picture books by Todd Parr, Sujean Rim, Nancy Tafuri, Eric Litwin, Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, Todd Tarpley, John Rocco, Bob Staake, Marc Brown and RL Stine, among others. Allison is particularly interested in clever picture books with fresh art styles and stories that appeal to all ages; character-driven chapter books with original premises and a strong sense of voice; and middle grade and YA novels that encourage readers to open their minds and consider unexpected points of view and perspectives. Before joining LBYR in 2010, Allison interned at Bloomsbury & Walker Books for Young Readers, Barefoot Books, the Kneerim & Williams agency, and Simon & Schuster UK; worked as a bookseller and at her hometown library; and graduated from Boston University and the Columbia Publishing Course.
A true omnivore (both literarily and gastronomically), Eve has eclectic tastes in children's literature, with favorites ranging from THE STUPIDS STEP OUT to Walter Dean Meyers’ edgy YA masterpiece, MONSTER. Eve represents everything from picture books to adult novels. A former early childhood educator, Eve is a lover of laugh-out-loud picture books like I WANT MY HAT BACK, BAD KITTY, and NO, DAVID! but also adores classics like THE GIVING TREE, THE POKEY LITTLE PUPPY, and IF YOU GIVE A PIG A PANCAKE. A world traveler and lover of fresh adventures, Eve will travel anywhere, read anything, and eat anything (except frog legs - EWH!).
An award-winning author/illustrator of nearly 200 books for children, including Penguin and Pinecone, Penguin on Vacation, Penguin in Love, Penguin and Pumpkin, Penguin's Big Adventure, Found, Stormy Night, and the forthcoming Be a Friend. She studied art and design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and now lives in San Diego with her family. Visit her online at www.salinayoon.com.
Art director at Creston Books, a small children's book press in Berkeley. He has lectured at Pixar and is the recipient of a Publishing Professionals Network award for book design. More importantly, he is a recent winner of the Zachary's Pizza Art Contest.
Has written and or illustrated over 45 books for children, and has worked with major publishers including Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster, Scholastic Press and Houghton Mifflin. Downing has won many awards for her work, including a Parent's Choice Award, the New York Public Library Best Books Award, Chicago Tribune Best Books of the Year and Bank Street Children's Book Award. She was selected to appear in Talking with Artists Too, a book about 12 of the nation’s best Children’s’ Book Illustrators. Downing is most noted for her rich, jewel like watercolor illustrations. Her work has been exhibited in galleries throughout the United States and England. She currently teaches watercolor and Children's Book Illustration at the Academy of Art University and UC Berkeley Extension.
A multi-award winning author, illustrator and speaker, best known for her character-building number/color book series: Zero, One, and Two. She goes across the country to encourage kids to develop strong character assets and help teachers find creative methods to connect with their students through the power of reading, art, and literature.
Represents several New York Times bestselling authors and illustrators including Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Eric Litwin, the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes and Tom Lichtenheld, the illustrator for Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site which has sold one million copies and been on the list for four years.
Optional 30-minute private consultations are available for $95. You may use that time to either discuss a concept or proposal, or have a faculty member give you feedback on a portion of work or portfolio you have submitted. Faculty members offering consultations: Amy Novesky, Andrea Alban, Bethanie Murguia, Eve Porinchak, Julie Downing, Ian Lendler, Simon Stahl, and Katie Carella.
Recommended Local Hotels:
The following is a list of local Marin area accommodations. Please choose based on your own needs:
- Marin Suites Hotel*
- Corte Madera Inn**
- Acqua Hotel
- Mill Valley Inn
- Waters Edge Hotel
- (View the PDF Brochure)
- The Inn Above Tide
- The Lodge at Tiburon
- Hotel Sausalito
- Casa Madrona Hotel
- Courtyard Larkspur