Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Winter Great Critique – January 2019

Date(s) - 01/26/2019
9:00 am - 12:00 pm

TaborSpace, The Dining Room
5441 SE Belmont Street - Portland, OR 97215

logo for The Great Critiquelogo designed by Barbara Herkert

SCBWI Oregon’s Great Critique is an event that happens twice a year. Each session is an awesome opportunity for writers and illustrators to be critiqued by a professional and their peers.

Never been in a critique group? Wish you could be critiqued by someone who is ahead of you in the publishing game? Want to strengthen your work? Need a fresh set of eyes and ears on that oft-revised piece? This is your chance. A published author or illustrator will lead each small group and critique your manuscript or art. You’ll also hear/see others’ work and get feedback from those writers and illustrators too. Plus you’ll learn from the comments by the critique leader about the work of others.

So join us for a morning of perfecting your craft. And, who knows, you might make a few new like-minded friends to start a new critique group, too.

There will be a meet and greet at 9:00, where attendees sign in and get their name tags, then can enjoy a cup of coffee and a snack while meeting other writers and illustrators. Faculty books will be available for purchase during the refreshment time as well.


The early bird rate through December 15th for SCBWI members is $15 and for non-members is $25. Regular rates start on December 16th and will be $20 for members and $30 for non-members.

You must pre-register for this event–no registrations at the door. Registration opens November 15th at 8:00 a.m. Registration closes January 19th.  You must select your critiquer when you register–one selection only. Please review the Great Critique Faculty Bios  before you select your critiquer.

If you are having trouble registering, contact Sue Ford at

How It Works

IMPORTANT! Please refer to the Winter Great Critique Resources page for information on how the Great Critique works. That page also tells you what to bring, and how many copies, on January 26th! The link is in the tan box in the upper right.

Questions about this event? Contact Joan DiCicco,



Ellen Beier – Illustration

I started drawing as a toddler perched on a pile of telephone books in my artist grandmother’s Brooklyn studio. After studying architecture, I studied and worked in the old world—England and Germany—for many years, where my passion turned towards history. Early books I illustrated were young biographies, followed by MRS. PEACHTREE AND THE 8TH AVENUE CAT and ANNE OF GREEN GABLESTHE PROMISE QUILT takes place during the Civil War. THE CHRISTMAS COAT: MEMORIES OF MY SIOUX CHILDHOOD is set in 1945 on the Rosebud reservation. Another rewarding journey into history was illustrating LES MISÉRABLES for a Korean publisher.

For the past year I have been moving in the direction of author/illustrator—a visit to petroglyph sites in Central Asia has evolved into a story I am developing, set in the 19th century, regarding the discovery of prehistoric art. I live in Corvallis and my work can be seen at and at

 Kevin Diller – Picture Books

Long ago and far, far away — well, Los Angeles, actually — Kevin Diller started out as a screenwriter and playwright before turning to producing TV commercials for a living.  Fatherhood brought him back to writing and his first children’s book, HELLO, MY NAME IS OCTICORN, was published by HarperCollins in 2016.  The sequel, OCTICORN PARTY! will be out next year and another picture book CHICKEN CHICKEN is slated for 2019, with Scholastic.)

Mr. Diller lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, Marni and their two children.  He is represented by Elena Giovinazzo at Pippin Properties.

Laurel Gale – Middle Grade

 Laurel Gale is the author of two middle grade novels published by Crown Books for Young Readers/Random House: DEAD BOY and MONSTER, HUMAN, OTHER. She has led several creative writing workshops to help writers improve their skills. She also provides school visits and acts as a guest speaker and panelist. You can visit Laurel online at or on Twitter at @Laurel_Gale.

Gretchen McLellan – Picture Books

Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan is a former elementary reading specialist who now devotes herself to writing for children and visiting schools as an author. She is the author of MRS. MCBEE LEAVES ROOM 3, illustrated by Grace Zong (Peachtree), I’M DONE! illustrated by Catherine Lazar Odell (Holiday House) and looks forward to the release of BUTTON AND BUNDLE, illustrated by Gillian Flint (Knopf), and WHEN YOUR DADDY’S A SOLDIER, illustrated by E.B. Lewis (Beach Lane), this spring.  She is an active tribe-member of SCBWI and writes chapter books and middle-grade fiction as well.

Gretchen grew up as a global nomad, daughter of a career Army officer, and lived on three continents.  She has settled in Camas, WA where she lives with her husband, cat and dog, stunt squirrels, nomadic neighborhood chickens, and celebrates when her children and grandchildren come home. Children will find a home in her heartfelt books about community, courage and compassion.

When she isn’t writing or teaching, Gretchen can be found playing word games, hiking in the woods with her dog, x-country skiing and attending plays.  Please visit Gretchen at for more information about her books, events and author visits.

Dawn Babb Prochovnic – Picture Books

Dawn Babb Prochovnic is the recipient of the coveted “Pleasure Reading Award” (her most memorable 5th grade achievement) and the author of multiple picture books, including WHERE DOES A COWGIRL GO POTTY? and WHERE DOES A PIRATE GO POTTY? (forthcoming, 2019) and THE NEST WHERE I LIKE TO REST, an Oregon Book Awards finalist. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her family and a collection of crazy hats. If you ask what her favorite color is, she’ll usually say, “Purple.” Find out more at

Elizabeth Rusch – Nonfiction
Elizabeth Rusch writes fiction and nonfiction for both children and adults. She has more than 100 magazine articles published and 15 books for young readers including READY, SET…BABY!; THE MUSIC OF LIFE; IMPACT: ASTEROIDS AND THE SCIENCE OF SAVING THE WORLD and the graphic novel MUDDY MAX. Her newest title is AVALANCHE DOG HEROES. Her work has been honored by the Junior Library Guild, ALA, SLJKirkus, NBC News, the Oregon Book Award, Washington Reads, and the New York Public Library. She loves reading, writing, and critiquing all kinds of writing. Visit her at

Emily Whitman – Middle Grade
Emily Whitman is the author of THE TURNING, a middle-grade novel based on Celtic lore, and two acclaimed books for teenagers. In all her books, myth and magic are a part of everyday life. Emily grew up in Boulder, Colorado and studied history at Harvard and UC Berkeley. She has worked in bookstores and behind library reference desks, and now she teaches writing workshops at the Attic Institute. She lives with her family in Portland, Oregon. Come visit at

Cat Winters – Young Adult
Cat Winters is an award-winning, critically acclaimed author of fiction that blends history with the supernatural. Her young adult works include IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS, THE CURE FOR DREAMING, THE STEEP AND THORNY WAY, ODD & TRUE, and a forthcoming novel about Edgar Allan Poe’s teen years, THE RAVEN’S TALE (available 4/16/19). She is also the author of two adult novels, THE UNINVITED and YESTERNIGHT. Winters has been named a Morris Award finalist, a Bram Stoker Award nominee, and an Oregon Spirit Book Award winner, and her books have appeared on numerous state and “best of” lists. Visit her at