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

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The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy
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The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is dedicated to providing a safe and harassment-free environment for all of its members and will take any and all necessary steps to address and prevent harassment at events associated with SCBWI. Harassment under this policy may include verbal comments, written comments, displayed images, or behaviors such as intimidation, stalking, body policing, unwelcome photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, unwelcome sexual attention or advances, and bullying or coercion.


The SCBWI Member Anti-Harassment Policy applies to all situations of harassment or intimidation at any SCBWI Event. An “SCBWI Event” is any event, meeting or activity that is authorized by an SCBWI Regional Manager to be sponsored by, or affiliated with, SCBWI. SCBWI events may include, if properly authorized by an SCBWI Regional Manager, the Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles, the Annual Winter Conference in New York, regional conferences, meetings and meet-ups. This SCBWI Member Anti-Harassment Policy also applies to “SCBWI On-Line Interactions,” which include communications and content posted on, or directed towards, SCBWI’s Social Media accounts or sent through any of the communication tools available on SCBWI’s website, SCBWI’s Social Media accounts under this policy include the official SCBWI accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and LinkedIn.



Code of Conduct

All participants in SCBWI Events and SCBWI On-Line Interactions, including faculty, staff, and attendees, are required to comply with the following anti-harassment code of conduct. The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy prohibits harassment, including but not limited to the following behaviors:

  • intimidation, stalking, or following.
  • Sustained disruption of talks or other events.
  • Inappropriate physical contact.
  • Unwelcome sexual attention.
  • Abusive verbal comments.
  • Quid pro quo– sexual harassment that occurs when one in an authority position requests sex or a sexual relationship in exchange for professional consideration or favors.
  • Harassment does not include respectful disagreement or reasonable and respectful critique made in good faith. SCBWI continues to welcome and appreciate presentation of appropriate controversial ideas, free speech, and creative artistic expression. SCBWI encourages members to hold one another accountable to the Code of Conduct as stated in this part of the Policy and to take the perspectives of others seriously when a disagreement arises.


Reporting Procedures

Any person who believes there has been a violation of the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy can report the offense in one or all of the following ways:

  • Certain SCBWI Events, including the Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles and the Annual Winter Conference in New York, will designate one or more Safety Team Members who will be available during the conference to provide a safe space for members to report an incident. The Safety Team Member will report directly to the conference director or regional advisor in charge.
  • A complainant may submit a complaint under this policy to the Director of Community Marketing and Engagement, the Director of Illustration and Artist Programs and/or your Regional Manager.
  • SCBWI has a dedicated email address for reporting any potential incident of harassment under this policy. Anyone who chooses to report an incident can find the Anti-Harassment Report Form on the SCBWI website (About > Anti-Harassment) or use the following link: Reports should include the substance of the complaint, date, and whenever possible, a list of witnesses or a reference to the relevant URLs, if the offense occurred through an SCWBI On-Line Interaction.


SCBWI will investigate all complaints subject to the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy. If the policy applies, SCBWI will investigate the matter and take whatever action is necessary and appropriate to prevent a recurrence and protect the environment at SCWBI Events. If a complaint is made anonymously, please note that SCBWI will not be able to follow up on an anonymous report with the complainant directly, as SCBWI will not have contact information for the anonymous complainant. Moreover, anonymous complaints may hinder SCBWI’s ability to investigate the complaint.  SCBWI will take steps to protect the confidentiality of the complaint, to the extent possible.  However, complete confidentiality may not be possible in all circumstances.  SCBWI will make every attempt to respond to a named complainant in a timely fashion.

If appropriate, SCBWI may report the incident to local authorities.



The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy prohibits retaliation against a member of the SCBWI community for reporting harassment, intimidation or discrimination, or for participating in an investigation relating to any complaint made under this policy. The sanctions for retaliation are the same sanctions available to address any other violation of the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy.



SCBWI takes all allegations of harassment seriously. Complaints will be investigated by SCWBI if they fall within the scope of SCWBI’s Anti-Harassment Policy. Depending on the results of the investigation, SCWBI will determine whether a sanction is appropriate.


Sanctions for faculty, speakers, staff or board members may include any of the following:


  • warning the party involved that the particular behavior is inappropriate and must be ceased;
  • immediate removal from a particular event;
  • denial of access to SCBWI spaces and venues on a temporary or permanent basis;
  • withholding of a contracted honorarium;
  • prohibition from future speaking engagements;
  • prohibition from future faculty appointments;
  • expulsion from SCBWI; and/or
  • removal from the Board of Advisors or Board of Directors, when appropriate.


Sanctions for attendees, members, and guests can include any of the following:

  • warning the party involved that specified behavior is inappropriate and must be ceased;
  • immediate removal from a particular event, without refund;
  • denial of access to SCBWI spaces and venues on a permanent or temporary basis;
  • termination of SCBWI membership, without refund; and/or
  • prohibition of future SCBWI membership.


If the conduct at issue involves one of SCBWI’s employees, SCBWI will handle utilize whatever corrective action is appropriate based on the result of the investigation and subject to SCBWI employment policies and practices.



SCBWI will make every reasonable effort to conduct all investigations into allegations of harassment, intimidation, or discrimination in a manner that will protect the confidentiality of all parties and witnesses. Notwithstanding the above, confidentiality is not absolute, and those with a legitimate business reason to know and be informed of the allegations will be so informed. Parties to the complaint should treat the matter under investigation with discretion and respect the reputation of all parties involved.



If you wish to file a complaint or an anonymous complaint, CLICK HERE to access the Anti-harassment Report Form.


If you have questions regarding this policy, you may send an email to Please include the words "anti-harassment policy" in the subject line.

I have read and accepted the SCBWI Anti-Harassment policy.