Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2017 Golden Gate Conference

Date(s) - 03/03/2017 - 03/05/2017
8:30 am - 9:30 pm

Asilomar Conference Grounds
800 Asilomar Avenue - Pacific Grove, California [CA] 93950


The 34th Annual SCBWI Golden Gate Conference and Retreat will be held March 3-5, 2017 at Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, CA. Conference attendee check-in begins at 2:30pm. We offer a highly recommended Orientation Session for new members and first time Golden Gate Conference attendees from 3:00-3:45pm. The conference will kick off at 3:45pm sharp. On Saturday, the event runs from 8:30am all day until around 9:30pm. The conference closes around noon on Sunday. A full schedule of the weekend will be posted in the near future! 
IMPORTANT! Please Note: Registration for the Golden Gate Conference requires TWO steps. Your registration here with SCBWI covers conference attendance and optional consultations only (Pricing details are below. Earlybird SCBWI member pricing is $325.00 with additional cost for add-ons). Attendees must then register directly with Asilomar for housing (meal tickets are included). There is an additional cost for housing that is not included in the SCBWI conference fee. Two-night double occupancy at Asilomar is $363.44. Two-night single occupancy is $542.34. See the HOUSING section below for details. 




asilomarOver the years, the Golden Gate Conference has gained a reputation as one of the best intimate gatherings of authors and illustrators. Our faculty of speakers includes the industry's top authors, illustrators, agents, editors, and publishers. 

The conference is limited to a small group of approximately 120 people. The Asilomar grounds are on the Pacific Ocean near Monterey Bay in Northern California, two hours south of San Francisco. Many of the Asilomar buildings are historic, and the famous dining hall, designed by Julia Morgan, provides a friendly, personal gathering place for conference attendees and speakers. You can see the conference grounds in more depth at


Candlewick Press editor, Sarah Ketchersid presenting at the 2013 Golden Gate Conference.This year's conference theme is: FIND THE HEART OF YOUR STORY. For beginners and experienced professionals alike, knowing and nurturing the emotional center of your stories can only help you connect more deeply with yourself and your audience. The world and the children's book industry continue to evolve through seasons of change. So come explore the heart of the tales we are crafting–and living–as we look to the future of children's literature. Whether your passion is picture books, middle grade, YA, or non-fiction, we hope you'll gain new friends, inspiration for the year ahead, and new business know-how.







BurnhamMOLLY B. BURNHAM – Author
Molly B. Burnham is the author of the Teddy Mars series and the 2016 winner of the Sid Fleishman Humor Award. She grew up in Washington DC, but now lives in Massachusetts. At one time she studied theater but gave it up to write. She holds a Masters in Elementary Ed., and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She has taught emotionally challenged high school students, as well as kindergartners and third graders. During the day, she can be found writing, walking her dog, or hanging out with her two daughters and husband.


TateDON TATE – Author/Illustrator
Don Tate is an award-winning author, and the illustrator of numerous critically acclaimed books for children, including The Cart That Carried Martin, (Charlesbridge); Hope’s Gift, (Penguin); Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite (Charlesbridge); and Ron’s Big Mission, (Penguin). He is also the author of It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started To Draw (Lee & Low Books, 2012), an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor winner. His most recent titles include The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (Illustrator, Eerdmans, 2015), and Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton (Author and illustrator, Peachtree, 2015). Don is a founding host of the The Brown Bookshelf – a blog dedicated to books for African American young readers; and a member of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his family.






SYLVIE FRANK  –  Editor, Simon & Schuster / Paula Wiseman Books
Sylvie Frank is an editor at Paula Wiseman Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Division. She has edited award-winning and critically acclaimed books including Breathe by Scott Magoon; Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo; Miss Mary Reporting: The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber by Sue Macy, illustrated by C. F. Payne; Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy by Susan Vaught; and Storm by Donna Jo Napoli. Since joining Paula Wiseman Books in January 2013, Sylvie has been on the prowl for literary, character-driven middle grade and kid-focused, snappy picture books. She is drawn to diverse voices across all genres. One of her favorite pastimes is browsing agents’ and illustrators’ websites for new talent. When she’s not reading, Sylvie can be found running while listening to audiobooks.


HowlandCARRIE HOWLAND  –  Agent, Empire Literary
Carrie Howland joined Empire Literary as a Senior Agent in 2016, after eleven years as an agent at Donadio & Olson, Inc. She represents young adult and middle grade authors, as well as the occasional picture book. Carrie’s background is in poetry, so beautiful language is one of the first things she looks for in any project. Also important are a strong voice and great story, which she’s looking for across genres. She often describes her taste as quirky and maybe even a bit dark. Carrie is a member of the AAR and writes for its newsletter, as well as SCBWI. She holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Albion College. In her spare time, Carrie volunteers as a foster for a local dog rescue and with deployed military men and women through an organization called Soldiers’ Angels. She is an active volunteer and member of the New York Junior League, through which she teaches a third grade art class once a week, as well as a member of the executive board of the New York City Alumnae Chapter of Delta Gamma. You can follow Carrie on twitter at @ecarriehowland or visit for more information.


NKirstenNAOMI KIRSTEN – Editor, Chronicle Books
Naomi Kirsten is a Senior Editor at renowned independent publisher Chronicle Books in San Francisco, California. She acquires approximately 25 titles each year, ranging from picture books to novelty books and ancillary formats. Naomi’s recent titles include Benjamin Chaud and Davide Cali's The Truth About My Unbelievable Summer…, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To School…, and I Didn't Do My Homework Because…, which has 17 foreign editions to date; New York Times Notable Book and Society of Illustrators Gold Medal Winner The Bear's Song; and the forthcoming When An Elephant Falls In Love, You and Me, Me and You, and A Funny Thing Happened at the Museum…. Naomi also develops publishing programs for Star Wars, NASA, Richard McGuire, Taro Gomi, Moomin, and Marc Boutavant, among others.


LawrenceTRICIA LAWRENCE  –  Agent, Erin Murphy Literary Agency
Tricia is the "Pacific Northwest branch" of EMLA—born and raised in Oregon, and now lives in Seattle. After 21 years of working as a developmental and production-based editor (from kids books to college textbooks, but mostly college textbooks), she joined the EMLA team in March 2011 as a social media strategist. As agent, Tricia represents picture books/chapter books that look at the world in a unique and unusual way, with characters that are alive both on and off the page, and middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction that offers strong world-building, wounded narrators, and stories that grab a reader and won't let go.


leeSTACEY LEE  –  Author
Stacey Lee is a fourth generation Chinese-American whose people came to California during the heydays of the cowboys. She believes she still has a bit of cowboy dust in her soul. A native of southern California, she graduated from UCLA then got her law degree at UC Davis King Hall. After practicing law in the Silicon Valley for several years, she finally took up the pen because she wanted the perks of being able to nap during the day, and it was easier than moving to Spain. She plays classical piano, raises children, and writes YA fiction. Follow her @staceyleeauthor.


TimTIM McCANNA  –  Author
Tim McCanna is the author of Teeny Tiny Trucks (Little Bahalia Publishing), and Bitty Bot (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books). In his previous lives, he worked in advertising, wrote and produced an off-off Broadway musical, and played accordion in a Texas punk rock band. Tim’s forthcoming picture book titles include Bitty Bot’s Big Beach Getaway, Watersong, and Boing! (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books), Jack B. Ninja (Scholastic), So Many Sounds, and Barnyard Boogie (Abrams Appleseed). He has also produced music and narration for award-winning story apps, picture book trailers, and kid lit podcasts. Tim serves as Assistant Regional Advisor for SCBWI’s San Francisco/South chapter, and he holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing for Musical Theatre from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Find Tim online at


DanielDANIEL NAYERI  –  Director of Children's Publishing, Workman Publishing Company
Daniel is the director of children’s publishing at Workman Publishing Company where he oversees a team of designers, editors, and inventors in the pursuit of creating “art objects for great and terrible children.” Before that, he was digital editorial director at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, editor at Clarion Books, and before that, a professional pastry chef. Daniel was born in Iran and spent a couple of years as a refugee before immigrating to Oklahoma at age eight with his family. He is the author of several books for young readers, including Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow: Four Novellas, and How To Tell A Story.


skyeEVELYN SKYE  –  Author
Evelyn Skye is the New York Times bestselling author of The Crown's Game and The Crown's Fate (May 16, 2017). She was once offered a job by the C.I.A., she not-so-secretly wishes she was on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she guarantees she will win. When Evelyn isn’t writing, she can be found chasing her daughter on the playground or sitting on the couch, immersed in a good book and eating way too many cookies.



WisemanCARYN WISEMAN  –  Agent, Andrea Brown Literary Agency
Caryn Wiseman is a Senior Agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She has sold over 300 children’s and young adult books, both fiction and non-fiction. She represents debut authors, NYT bestselling and award-winning authors like Tom Angleberger and NYT bestseller and Newbery Honor winner Cece Bell, NYT bestseller Tamara Ireland Stone, and authors at every stage in between. Caryn is looking for books with emotional depth and a strong voice; excellent writing in a tightly-plotted, beautifully-crafted story with commercial appeal; and characters that stick with her long after she has closed the book. She loves stories with humor, hope and heart; stories that make her laugh, cry, and keep her up at night!




Are you interested in facilitating your own 45-minute creative session at the Golden Gate Conference? We want to hear from you! The SF/South chapter is offering a limited number of spaces for local professionals to present a hands-on creative session on Saturday, March 4th at Asilomar to fellow attendees. These will be considered "break-out" sessions and attendees will participate in one of their choosing. Your topic should focus on the craft of writing and/or illustrating for children's books from picture books to middle grade to YA or anything in-between. This is not a lecture, but rather a 45-minute workshop where writers and illustrators can experiment, explore, and enjoy a bit of creative output during the weekend. The position is not paid, but is a great opportunity for you to contribute to an amazing conference and present yourself in front of an engaged audience. You must be registered for the 2017 Golden Gate Conference to apply.

Click here for details and application. Deadline to submit your proposal is January 7, 2017.



PLEASE NOTE: SCBWI does not handle Asilomar housing reservations. Attendees should register ONLINE with Asilomar for room and board through our special SCBWI group rate housing page. After you complete your conference registration, click the link below for housing reservations. 

>> CLICK HERE to continue to Asilomar's SCBWI housing registration page. <<

Two-night double occupancy at Asilomar is $363.44. Two-night single occupancy is $542.34. 

NOTE: All Off-Campus Housing is now SOLD OUT.

Asilomar Conference Center allows us a very limited number of off-campus tickets. Thus, off-campus registration is first-come first-serve. However, we have negotiated with Asilomar to provide an alternate option after the first-come, first-serve tickets are sold out. Attendees may pay an additional fee rather than the full housing cost and stay off campus. To work out this special arrangement, please email RA Naomi Kinsman at

If you registered for an ON-CAMPUS "ticket" for the conference, you must complete your housing reservation with Asilomar within TEN DAYS from when you registered for the conference, or email to request an off-campus housing exception. While we will do our best to follow up with you, if we do not follow this policy we reserve the right to cancel your conference registration with SCBWI San Francisco South, less a $25 fee. The conference may fill up and you may be placed on a waiting list. We appreciate your proactive communication and follow through, as it saves valuable volunteer hours.

Housing refunds are subject to Asilomar’s terms and limitations, which you can review at Additional questions can be addressed to

If you have any questions regarding Asilomar room or board, please direct them to:

Betty Forbes at 831-642-4219 or Monday thru Friday (7AM-3PM PST). Please do not contact SCBWI or the SF/South regional team with Asilomar housing questions, as we will be unable to assist you.




Each year, we award the annual Golden Gate Writer’s Award–one for a picture book and one for a MG or YA novel. Editors will choose candidates for the Writer’s Award from those writers who submit their work for a paid manuscript critique. 

Please note: The Golden Gate Portfolio Award is now awarded to attendees of our annual Illustrator's Day event in September. However, a faculty committee will select "Best in Show" candidates from all portfolios displayed at the Golden Gate Conference.






15-minute manuscript critique with a faculty member. Your manuscript will be sent to the faculty member best suited to critique it. All manuscripts will be reviewed by an agent or editor. You will have an opportunity to indicate your top 3 picks for a manuscript reviewer when you upload your manuscript on our NEW Manuscript Submission Page (click link below for submission details).

The submission policy is as follows:

– One picture book manuscript of up to six pages in length (1,200 words max). You may only submit ONE picture book manuscript per paid consultation, regardless of the length.

– Or, for MG/YA novels, up to 10 pages (2,500 words max). You may include a brief one page optional synopsis in addition to your 10 page sample.



20-minute illustration portfolio critique with a faculty member. Please bring your portfolio to the conference. Maximum size: 11" x 17". Do not bring original art.

We will be hosting our annual illustration portfolio display, so we encourage you to bring your illustration portfolio even if you choose not to purchase an individual consultation. All portfolios of illustrators who attend the conference will be eligible for "Best in Show" awards. Again, please note: The official Golden Gate Illustrator’s Award is now awarded at our annual Illustrator's Day event in September in San Francisco.


NOTE: Select only ONE Friday Round Table option. The Editor and Agent Round Tables happen simultaneously during the conference.

The First Pages round table consultations will be held with up to six participants and one agent or editor. Each participant will bring to the conference 6 copies of the first full page of their manuscript (up to 275 words max of either a novel or picture book). Text should begin at the top of the page, double-spaced, 12 pt. font. Please include your name, title and genre. You will be paired with like-genre, if possible. The submission will be read at the beginning of the session and commented on openly by the agent or editor. Each writer will be given the opportunity to ask questions for clarification after the agent or editor comments on his/her piece, but otherwise, writers are asked to remain silent while listening to the faculty member's valuable feedback. In this way, you will have the opportunity to receive your own feedback and listen to the consultations of others.


Conference attendees can purchase a post-conference in-writing manuscript critique from a professional literary agent. Submission deadline is Tuesday, March 28th. This opportunity enables you to take home valuable craft nuggets from the Golden Gate Conference, then apply them to a your work. Following the event, we will provide a list of agents and you will be able to indicate your top three picks in your submission materials. Agents will provide their critiques approximately four weeks after the submission deadline.

The submission policy is as follows:

– One picture book manuscript of up to six pages in length (1,200 words max). You may only submit ONE picture book manuscript per paid consultation, regardless of the length.

– Or, for MG/YA novels, up to 10 pages (2,500 words max). You may include a brief one page optional synopsis in addition to your 10 page sample.

Complete Post-Conference submission details will be provided following the Golden Gate Conference.



SCBWI members receive the Earlybird registration price of $325 until November 30, 2016. Starting December 1, 2016, the regular ticket price for members will increase to $350.

During the Earlybird pricing period, register for two or more extras and receive a $15 discount off your total purchase. Optional paid extras include: Manuscript Consultation, Portfolio Consultation, Post-Conference Online Critique, Agent 1st Pages Roundtable, Editor 1st Pages Roundtable. At the bottom of this page, enter the discount code: bundle and hit return/enter.

On Friday night, we will have a TED Talk style program of three keynote speakers featuring local authors Stacey Lee, Tim McCanna, and Evelyn Skye. After the keynotes we will celebrate and mingle with our Regional Party and booksale. Also, Stacey Lee will receive the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award. For those unable to attend the full weekend, we are offering a limited number of Friday Night Only tickets. See the registration options below.

The SCBWI registration system accepts VISA or MasterCard.

After you have made your registration selections below, click Continue. In a few seconds, you should see a pop-up window with confirmation of your information. NOTE: You will need to scroll down inside that pop-up window to see all information and enter your credit card number. If the pop-up window does not appear, you may need to allow pop-ups in your internet browser's preferences or switch to a different browser. 

SCBWI is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. Membership dues support big-picture functions of the international organization such as the website and many online resources, award programs and scholarships, as well as the hard-working and visionary HQ staff.

Local conferences, such as Asilomar, are carefully priced to cover expenses. For all SCBWI events, members are given the lowest-cost tuition for attendance. The earlybird tuition for SCBWI members for the 2017 Golden Gate Conference is $325.

Our hope always, as your volunteer regional leadership team, is that as many of our members as possible will be able to join us at our yearly local conference. Our primary goal is to continue to build community among the members of the SF/South region of SCBWI and the Golden Gate conference is a huge part of that effort! Whether you're pre-published, traditionally or independently published, a picture book, mid-grade or YA author or an illustrator, we are confident that year after year our exceptional faculty will inspire you, develop your craft, and support your career growth.

There will be no refunds after January 7, 2017, unless we can fill your spot from the waiting list. There will be absolutely no refunds after January 31, 2017. All refunds will be minus a $25 processing fee.

Due to popularity, event extras such as manuscript consultations and roundtables fill up very quickly. If you really want an event extra, we recommend taking one with an available faculty member at that time rather than opting to wait. If you decide to wait, you may select multiple waitlisted faculty. PLEASE NOTE: Once you complete registration, your waitlisted item(s) will appear with prices on an itemized invoice. BUT, your credit card will NOT be charged for waitlist items. We will contact you if a waitlist item becomes available and arrange for payment.