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by Christine Van Zandt

On March 12, 2016, writers from all walks of life attended this year’s daylong SCBWI-Los Angeles Writer’s Day at the beautiful Skirball Cultural Center. The comfortable seating was an ideal place to take in presentations by the four keynote speakers: Stephanie Stein, Brenda Bowen, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, and Robin LaFevers. As with other SCBWI events, Writer’s Day provided opportunity for education, motivation, and networking.


Writer’s Day 2016

The morning opened with Stephanie Stein’s inspirational presentation, “Writing Your Book (Not Someone Else’s). Stein is an editor at HarperCollins.

Next up, Brenda Bowen, an agent at Greenburger Associates, shared with us her knowledge of the industry with, “Bunny Eat Bunny: Thirty Years of Kids’ Book Publishing—Brought to You in 60 Minutes.”


Brenda Bowen

After a delicious lunch in the sunny outdoor patio, we were encouraged to overcome our shyness by author and illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s presentation, “Introverts, Rejections, and Lightning Rods.”


Debbie Ridpath Ohi

The day of speakers was concluded with author Robin LaFevers’s advice on “Digging Deep, Letting Go, and Breaking Out: Some Thoughts On Building a Sustainable Creative Life While Pursuing Your Publishing Goals.”

Throughout the day, attendees received smaller-group instruction in breakout sessions with one of the four speakers. Because of limited class size, these sessions were both educational and personal.

Attendees also had the opportunity to schedule ahead for face-to-face critique.

Karen Vreeland from Once Upon a Time in Montrose provided the conference bookstore.

Congratulations to the Writer’s Day contest winners:



2016 Writer’s Day Contest Winners

Picture Book

First place Puggy and the Baby by Wakako M. Rollinger 

First runner-up When Mice Move In by Sue Welfringer

Second runner-up The Orchestra Train by Alison Bonn

Other (included nonfiction and poetry submissions)

First place Art on Wheels: Pakistan’s Decorated Trucks by Colleen Paeff

First runner-up The Kids’ Guide to Writing Fiction by Laurisa White Reyes


Middle Grade

First place The Last Crane by Cheryl Manning

First runner-up Warling by Nancy Whitesides


Young Adult

First place Blanca and the Ruins by Andrea Ellickson

First runner-up Across the Silver River by Mort Bernstein

Second runner-up Stricken by Abi Estrin Cunningham


We hope to see you at Writer’s Day next year!