Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2019 Golden Gate Conference

Date(s) - 03/08/2019 - 03/10/2019
2:30 pm - 12:00 pm

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


**We are excited to announce KAIT FELDMANN as a new addition to our faculty.

**Unfortunately, Celia Lee is no longer able to attend.  

Round Tables, Manuscript and Portfolio Critiques ALL SOLD OUT.

The San Francisco South Region of SCBWI is excited to announce the 36th Annual SCBWI Golden Gate Conference and Retreat, to be held March 8-10, 2019, at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, CA. The conference will run from Friday afternoon until lunch on Sunday. More details about the conference program can be found below.

Important! Please Note: Registration for the Golden Gate Conference requires TWO steps.

Step 1: Register below to attend the conference and for optional consultations. (Pricing details are below in the REGISTRATION section.

Step 2: Register directly with Asilomar for your housing and meals. Meal tickets are included in Asilomar’s housing price. (Housing pricing details are below in the HOUSING section.) 

For questions regarding registration, please contact 



asilomarOver the years, the Golden Gate Conference has gained a reputation as one of the best and most 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:

Going Outside the Lines.  

Take a risk. Break some rules. Push through boundaries. Going outside the lines can enhance your imagination and creativity in unexpected ways, enrich your stories, engage your readers, and draw the attention of publishing professionals.

Click here to view our Golden Gate Conference video!

Click here to see 2019’s schedule  



While a full schedule of events will be published in the near future, below is a general outline of the weekend:

– Friday 2:30 pm: Conference attendee check-in begins

– Friday 3:00-3:45 pm: Optional Orientation Session (Highly recommended for new members and first time Golden Gate Conference attendees)

– Friday 3:45 pm: Conference kick-off

– Friday 4:30-9:30 pm: Lectures, Roundtable Consultations, Ted (style) Talks, Portfolio Show

– Saturday 8:30 am-9:30 pm: Lectures, Panel Discussions, Roundtable consultations, Critiques, Break-out Sessions and Workshops for Illustrators, Keynote, Faculty Book Signings

– Sunday 8:30 am-12:00 pm: Panels, Lectures, Keynote, Commitment Ceremony, Lunch

The conference concludes around noon on Sunday.

For the second year in a row, we are thrilled to include an “Illustrator Track” in this year’s schedule, which includes:

– A special break-out session with illustrator John Parra

– Reserved tables at dinner Friday night so illustrators can gather and meet one another

– A Fireside Chat with local illustrator and Academy of Art University Instructor Julie Downing

– Optional paid Illustrator Round Table “First Look” consultations

– Plus, our annual portfolio showcase (all illustrators attending are invited to show their portfolios), a best-in-show award, and more!

​Please direct illustrator-related questions to our Illustrator Coordinator, Isabella Kung at



Keynote Speakers:

Photograph by Igor Kraguljak

KATHI APPELT – Keynote Author
Kathi Appelt is the NY Times Best-selling author of more than forty books for children and young adults. She is the recipient of the Newbery Honor, National Book Finalist (2x), and the PEN USA award for children’s literature. She is also on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts in their MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults.





JOHN PARRA- Illustrator

John Parra is an award winning illustrator of many books for young readers, including Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos by Monica Brown, named a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book, and Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans by Phil Bildner, which won the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Illustration. His other awards include the ALA Pura Belpré Honors, and the Christopher’s Award. Additionally his books have appeared on Bank Street’s and Smithsonian Magazine’s: Best Children’s Books of the Year lists. In 2015 John was invited by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to present a special event about his work and career in art and illustration. Today his work can be seen at the U.S. Post Office on six new Forever Stamps titled: Delicioso, with art images celebrating Latino food cuisine. John’s most recent book, Hey Wall: A Story of Art and Community, with author Susan Verde, was released this past Fall 2018. To learn more visit John on the web, or follow him on twitter @johnparraart



ELENA GIOVINAZZO – Vice President and Senior Agent, Pippin Properties

Elena Giovinazzo always thought she’d be an English teacher. That is, until the day she realized that books came from someplace and that there were jobs in those places. She immediately set out to find one of those jobs. After attending the Publishing Institute at the University of Denver she worked her way through positions in subsidiary rights and marketing, until she landed at Pippin in June of 2009 and never looked back. She has been mining the queries for gold and jewels ever since.


CHRIS HERNANDEZ – Editor, HarperCollins Children’s Books

Chris Hernandez is an editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books. After nearly nine years in publishing, he’s had the privilege of working with such stellar talents as Newbery Medalist Katherine Applegate, National Book Award winner Thanhhà Lại, and #1 New York Times bestselling authors Tahereh Mafi and Pittacus Lore. He enjoys stories with heart, multi-layered humor, well-crafted mysteries, thrilling adventures, witty voices, accessible fantasy, or a unique twist on something familiar. He spends most of his day editing children’s books for all ages, but when he’s at home he tries to write them too. You can follow him on Twitter @ChrisCanWrite.


KAIT FELDMANN – Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic–Editor

Kait Feldmann joined Scholastic in May of 2014 and is now an Editor at Arthur A. Levine Books, where she is building a list of picture books and graphic novels. She is excited to be working with debut authors and illustrators such as Aida Salazar, Molly Mendoza, Jon Lau, Sarah Jung, and Isabella Kung. Kait is a proud hapa (mixed-race Chinese) and founding member of People of Color in Publishing. She is a strong advocate for diverse representation on and beyond the page and is particularly passionate about editing humorous and heartfelt stories featuring kids of color. Follow her on Twitter @kaitfeldmann.


HANNAH MANN – Agent, Writers House

Hannah Mann grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, and has always loved stories. As Steven Malk’s assistant since 2013, Hannah has had the privilege of working closely with a variety of extraordinarily talented bestselling and award-winning authors and illustrators. In 2017 she began building her own client list, focusing on character-driven stories for children of all ages.



ARIEL RICHARDSON – Editor, Chronicle Books

Ariel Richardson is an Editor in Children’s at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. She primarily edits board books, picture books, and novelty books, working on titles like Bunny Slopes, This Is How We Do It, Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets, and Masha and Her Sisters. She loves books with a global perspective, books about religious literacy and intersectionality, books that celebrate the power of the imagination, and books that push the boundaries of traditional bookmaking. She’s a children’s bookseller in her spare time, and has a master’s degree in Children’s Literature from Simmons College. 


KELLY SONNACK – Senior Agent, Andrea Brown Literary Agency

Kelly Sonnack represents kidlit for all age groups (PBs, MG, chapter books, YA, graphic novels). Novels Kelly represents include NYT bestselling Sharon Cameron’s The Forgetting, David Elliott’s novel-in-verse Bull, which received 7 starred-reviews, and Christine Herman’s upcoming haunting YA, The Devouring Grey. Picture books she’s sold include Mustache Baby by Bridget Heos and illustrated by Joy Ang, Ashlyn Anstee’s Are We There Yeti?, and Alastair Heim’s No Tooting at Tea. Her graphic novels include James Burks’ series Bird and Squirrel and Mike Lawrence’s Star Scouts. She has a strong list of illustrator clients including Joy Ang and Kim Smith. 


KURESTIN ARMADA – Agent, P.S. Literary Agency (virtual faculty member only)

Kurestin Armada began her publishing career as an intern with Workman Publishing, and spent time as an assistant at The Lotts Agency before joining P.S. Literary. She holds a B.A. in English from Kenyon College, as well as a publishing certificate from Columbia University. Kurestin is based in New York City, and spends most of her time in the city’s thriving indie bookstores. She reads widely across genres, and has a particular affection for science fiction and fantasy, especially books that recognize and subvert typical tropes of genre fiction.




JULIE DOWNING – Illustrator

Julie Downing has won numerous awards for her work, including a Parent’s Choice Award, the New York Public Library Best Books Award, APAAL Best Illustrated Book, and the Irma Black Silver Medal. She was selected to appear in Talking with Artists Too, a book about 12 of the nation’s best Children’s Book Illustrators.

Noted for rich, jewel like watercolor illustrations, she has illustrated over 45 picture books. Titles include The Firekeeper’s Son by Linda Sue Park, No Hugs Till Saturday, and First Mothers, a biography of all the mothers of the presidents. Julie’s work has been featured at The Society of Illustrator’s Original Art Show in NYC and has been exhibited at galleries throughout the United States and England.



Naomi Kinsman is the award-winning author of Spilled Ink, A Writer’s Notebook, and the From Sadie’s Sketchbook series. She is the founder and Executive Director of Society of Young Inklings, an organization that empowers young writers. Over the past twenty years, Naomi has developed Writerly Play, an improv-based writing methodology that brings joy, deep inquiry, and play into the writing process. Naomi has a MFA in Writing for Children from Hamline University.




Misa Sugiura’s ancestors include a poet, a priestess, a samurai, and a stowaway. Born in Chicago, Misa went to college at Princeton University and taught English in Japan before settling in Silicon Valley. Her debut novel, It’s Not Like It’s a Secret, won the Asian Pacific American Librarians’ Association Award for Young Adult Literature. Her second book, This Time Will Be Different, comes out in June 2019. You can find Misa online at and on Twitter and Instagram at @misallaneous1.




New this year! We will be offering the opportunity for selected attendees to receive a 6-month mentorship from one of our mentor faculty. Please scroll down for details regarding the selection process.

CHRISTY HALE – Author/Illustrator

Christy Hale has illustrated numerous award-winning books for children, including two that she also wrote. She received a B.A. in Fine Arts and Masters in Teaching at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, then worked as an art educator for several years. She relocated to New York, earned a B.F.A. in illustration at Pratt Institute, then worked in publishing as a designer and art director. Christy has also taught at the Center for Book Arts and as an adjunct professor in the Communication Design department at Pratt Institute—all while beginning her illustration career. She has worked in the children’s book industry since the mid-80s and has helped develop the careers of many new creators.

Christy is the consulting art director for Lee & Low Books and has been in this role since 1991. She teaches an online course in Writing for Picture Books through the illustration department at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.



Erin is the author of over a dozen picture books, including K is for Kindergarten (illus. Joseph Cowman) and Deck the Walls (illus. Nick Ward)/ both Sleeping Bear Press; three books with illustrator Luciana Navarro Powell/ Kane Miller: Grandpa’s Favorite and companion book Grandma’s Favorite, as well as Babies Come From Airports –a kids’-eye view of international adoption; and two with Atheneum/ S&S: Goldie Locks has Chicken Pox, and Little Bo Peep Can’t Get To Sleep (illus. Hanako Wakiyama), which have taken her to school visits as far south as Brazil and as far north as Tok, Alaska.

When her initial career goal of Olympic Gold Medal Tetherball Player didn’t pan out, she became a teacher, theater director, actor, mom, and author. Among Dealey’s forthcoming picture books are Snowglobe Wishes (illus. Claire Shorrock/ Sleeping Bear, winter 2019); Peter Easter Frog (Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum, illus. G. Brian Karas, 2020), and Dear Earth…letters from Room 5 (Harper Collins). Dealey is a former SCBWI Co-RA for CA North/Central, frequent conference presenter, and the social media and PR Coordinator for East West Literary Agency. If you’re still reading this bio (thanks!), follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest @ErinDealey and check out her blog at

**Mentorship does not guarantee offer of representation from East West Literary Agency.



Marilyn Hilton is the author of the APALA award-winning Full Cicada Moon and the Sue Alexander award-winning Found Things. She has also published numerous short stories, essays, and poems in various journals, and has been nominated for a 2019 Pushcart Prize for poetry. She holds a MA in English/creative writing and a BA in Japanese. She also spent a year studying ochado (tea ceremony) at Urasenke Konnichian in Kyoto. Marilyn was a mentee in the 2010-11 Nevada Mentor Program, where she completed a middle-grade novel, made lasting friendships, and developed a deep respect for mentorship programs.



Mina Witteman is a published children’s author, writing in English and Dutch. She has seven middle grade novels out in the Netherlands, the latest is the fourth book in her hugely popular Boreas series. She has a Dutch Little Golden Book to her name, as well as over forty short stories published in Dutch read-aloud anthologies and children’s magazines. Mina sold her debut, De wraak van Deedee (Deedee’s Revenge) upon finishing the four-year course Writing Prose for Children at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, through which institution she also received her certification in Teaching Creative Writing. Trained through the master program Book Editing of the University of Amsterdam, Mina is a seasoned independent editor who has worked and works for prestigious publishing houses, both in the Netherlands and in California.

Mina is SCBWI’s International Published Authors’ Coordinator and a Program Associate for the Bay Area Book Festival, where she is responsible for the children’s and young adult programming. She is a longtime member of and judge for the EU Committee for the Undiscovered Voices Competition of SCBWI British Isles, as well as a longtime judge for the Young Authors Fiction Festival of the American Library in Paris. Mina Witteman lives in Berkeley, California. You can visit her website at



For the second year in a row, we are pleased to offer the opportunity for authors and illustrators to get their headshots taken by local photographer and SCBWI member, Di Starr.

DI STARR – Photographer

Di Starr is a fine art photographer with a long-time exhibition record. Most recently she has been represented by a wonderful photography gallery whose owner promised Ansel Adams she would always exhibit contemporary work. Di’s painted photographs appear in both public and private collections, including hospitals, medical and dental offices, and private residences across the United States, as well as in Milan, Rome and Paris. She also enjoys capturing the very best in people while doing family, portrait and event photography. To see her fine art, visit

– For samples of headshots she has taken, click here.

– For samples of her family photographs, click here.

Each headshot session will be 15 minutes long. Di Starr will be in touch (closer to the conference) to arrange a mutually beneficial time for your session. The sessions will be scheduled on Friday afternoon before the conference begins, on Saturday afternoon during optional sessions, and on Sunday after the conference ends.



Please Note: SCBWI does not handle Asilomar housing reservations. Attendees must register for housing ONLINE through the Asilomar housing link (highlighted in GREEN below) to secure their room and board. Attendees will be offered a special SCBWI group rate when registering.

Asilomar Housing Rates

Two-night double occupancy at Asilomar is $404.54. Two-night single occupancy is $594.46. 

After you complete your conference registration, click the link below for housing reservations. 

 CLICK HERE to continue to Asilomar’s SCBWI housing registration page.

Housing Reservation Deadline

After you complete your conference registration with SCBWI by selecting your “On-Campus” ticket, you must then complete your housing reservation with Asilomar. Your housing reservation must be completed within TEN DAYS from when you register for the conference. While we will do our best to follow up with you, if you do not follow this policy we reserve the right to cancel your conference registration with SCBWI San Francisco South, less a $25 fee. We appreciate your proactive communication and follow-through, as it saves valuable volunteer hours.

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

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

Vivian Garcia at You may also call 831-642-4213 or 831-642-4219 Monday through 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.

Note Regarding Off-Campus Housing 

Some attendees, especially those who live near the Asilomar campus, may prefer to make overnight accommodations off-campus for the duration of the conference. The Asilomar Conference Center allows us a very limited number of “Off-Campus” tickets. The majority of our attendees must stay overnight on the Asilomar campus for the duration of the conference. We have reserved 25 “Off-Campus” tickets which are first-come first-serve. You may register for an “Off-Campus” ticket with the understanding that if we are not able to meet the minimum number of onsite spots, we may require you to stay onsite or refund your registration fee in full.




Each year at the Golden Gate Conference, we award the annual Golden Gate Writer’s Award–one for a picture book and one for a MG or YA novel. Faculty 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.




We are excited to announce a new Mentorship Program for Writers and Illustrators. Though details about the program are still shaping up, we will be kicking off the program at our 2019 Golden Gate Conference at Asilomar.

All writers and illustrators submitting for Individual Consultation critiques at the 2019 conference will be eligible to apply for the program. 

The goals of the program are:

– to help writers and illustrators move forward in their careers by providing professional guidance as well as craft/artistic instruction

– to help the mentee understand the revision process

Selection process:
Mentee nominees will be selected by professional faculty at the Golden Gate Conference based on their submission piece for Individual Consultation critique. Mentors will make final decisions based on a blind selection process after the conference. One winner in each category of Picture Book, Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Illustration will be chosen for the Mentorship Program.

Program Duration:
The duration of the program is 6 months. Communications between Mentor and Mentee will include up to 3 meetings, either in person or by video conference as well as 2-3 written editorial communications.

Besides the critique fee, there is a $25 Application Fee if you opt into the evaluation process. If you are chosen to be mentored, there is no further cost for the program

Mentors: Christy Hale, Erin Dealey, Marilyn Hilton, and Mina Witteman.



Attention: If you plan to receive a manuscript consultation, you must first register for the conference and pay for a confirmed (not waitlisted) consultation.

1. Manuscript Individual Consultation 

Includes a 15-minute manuscript critique with a faculty member. 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 Manuscript Submission Page (click link below for submission details). Submission deadline is Jan 6

The submission policy is as follows:

One picture book manuscript of up to six pages in length (1,000 words max, or 1,200 if non-fiction). You may only submit ONE picture book manuscript per paid consultation, regardless of the length.

Or, for Chapter books and 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. Note: If your submission is over 10 pages, only the first 10 pages will be forwarded to the faculty reader.

 Click here for all manuscript submission details and requirements. 

2. Illustration Portfolio Individual Consultation
Includes a 15-minute illustration portfolio critique with our keynote illustrator. 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.

3. Author Round Table Consultations
NOTE: Select only ONE Round Table option. Editor and Agent Round Tables happen simultaneously during the conference.

The author round tables will discuss “First Pages” and will accommodate up to six participants with either an agent or editor. Each participant will bring to the conference 7 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.

4. Illustrator Round Table Consultations
NOTE: Select only ONE Round Table option. Editor and Agent Round Tables happen simultaneously during the conference.

The First Look round table consultations will accommodate up to six participants with either an agent or editor. Bring a book dummy of a work-in-progress, or up to 3 illustrations from your portfolio for discussion. 

Attention authors and illustrators:
Due to limited availability, attendees may select only ONE round table in total. In other words, you cannot attend an Author round table AND an Illustrator round table. We want as many attendees as possible to enjoy this unique opportunity. 

If you have any questions regarding Illustrator round tables, please contact our Illustrator Coordinator, Isabella Kung at



For questions regarding registration, please contact

Earlybird Pricing

SCBWI members receive the Earlybird on-campus registration price of $375 until December 7, 2018. Starting December 8, 2018, the regular on-campus ticket price for members will increase to $400. NOTE: If you are an active SCBWI member, you must be logged into your account on the website in order to register at the exclusive SCBWI member Earlybird rate. 


Asilomar 2014Friday Night Only Ticket
For those unable to attend the full weekend, we are offering a limited number of Friday Night Only tickets for $75. See the registration options below. That evening, we will have a TED Talk style program featuring one local illustrator and two authors, Julie Downing, Naomi Kinsman, and Misa Sugiura. A social event and local author book sale will follow. PLEASE NOTE: Consultations and Round Tables are not available to Friday Night Only attendees.

Accepted Credit Cards
The SCBWI registration system accepts VISA or MasterCard.

After you press Continue…
After you have made your registration selections below, click Continue. A few seconds later, you will 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. 


Regarding Conference Pricing
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 on-campus tuition for SCBWI members for the 2019 Golden Gate Conference is $375.

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, middle-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, 2019, unless we can fill your spot from a waiting list. There will be absolutely no refunds after January 31, 2019. **All refunds will be minus a $25 processing fee.


Event Extras Waitlist
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 an available option at that time rather than opting to wait. PLEASE NOTE: Once you complete registration, your waitlisted item(s) will appear with prices on an itemized invoice. But, your credit card will absolutely NOT be charged for waitlist items. We will contact you if a waitlist item becomes available and arrange for payment at that time.

For questions regarding registration, please contact