Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Winter Great Critique – January 2020

Date(s) - 01/18/2020
9:00 am - 12:00 pm

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

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 15th.  You must select your critiquer when you register–one selection only. Please review the Great Critique Faculty Bios  below before you select your critiquer.

If you are having trouble registering, contact Robin 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 18th! 

Questions about this event? Contact Lisa Gerlits,

Great Critique 2020 Faculty:


Cindy Baldwin – Middle Grade 
Cindy Baldwin is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Where The Watermelons Grow and the forthcoming Beginners Welcome. As a middle schooler, she kept a book under her bathroom sink to read over and over while fixing her hair or brushing her teeth, and she dreams of writing the kind of books readers can’t bear to be without. She lives in Hillsboro with her husband and daughter.
My website is SOLD OUT!

Addie Boswell – Picture Books
Addie Boswell is an artist and writer living in Portland but grown in Iowa. She specializes in murals and picture books that focus on family, community, and the creative power of children.  Titles include The Rain Stomper, The Snow Dancer, Five on the Bed, and the “In Motion” series which starts with Go, Bikes, Go! Her writing, always vetted by her decade-long critique group Viva Scriva, has won two Oregon Literary Fellowships, an Oregon Arts Commission Grant, and an Oregon Spirit Award. When not working from her home studio, Addie can be found teaching kids and adults around the Northwest, filching drawings from her five-year-old, and waiting for the rain to return. Find more at SOLD OUT!

Zoe Burke – Picture Books
Zoe Burke is the author of the Annabelle Starkey mysteries, Jump the Gun and No Gun Intended  (Poisoned Pen Press, 2013, 2016) and several children’s books including the Charley Harper Nature Discovery Books: What’s in the Woods, What’s in the Rain Forest, What’s in the Coral Reef, and What’s in the Desert? (Pomegranate, 2013, 2014, 2017). She has also developed and written board books for little ones: Count the Birds, Animal Alphabet, and Book of Colors (Pomegranate, 2015), CatBook, Owls & Loons, Lines and Triangles and Squares, Oh My! (Pomegranate, 2016, 2017), Molly Hashimoto’s Birds!  and Molly Hashimoto’s Trees! (Pomegranate, 2018, 2019).

In her day job, Zoe Katherine Burke (also known as Katie) is the vice president and publisher of Pomegranate Communications, an art book publishing company. She enjoyed a brief singer/songwriter career in the 1990s. She grew up on the East Coast, lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for some thirty-five years, and currently resides in Portland, Oregon.  SOLD OUT!


Kelly Fry – Illustrator 
Kelly Fry is the illustrator of the Washington Post featured picture book “But I Don’t Eat Ants”. She has illustrated a number of books for kids including “Expert Advice on How to be a Lady” and “Birds of Wordhollow”. She’s also a maker of spot illustration and book covers, having worked for TinHouse Magazine and Microcosm Publishing. Fry lives in Portland, Oregon where she can be spotted teaching at PNCA or riding her bike around town.

Melissa Hart – Middle Grade 

Melissa Hart is the author of the award-winning middle-grade novel Avenging the Owl (Sky Pony, 2016) as well as Better with Books: 500 Diverse Books to Ignite Empathy and Encourage Self-Acceptance in Tweens and Teens (Sasquatch, 2019), and the forthcoming middle-grade graphic nonfiction Media Adventurer’s HandbookDecoding Persuasion in Everyday News, Ads, Videos, and More (FirstSecond, 2020)She’s contributing editor at The Writer Magazine, and teaches for the MFA in Creative Writing program at Southern New Hampshire University. Web:
Twitter/Instagram: @WildMelissaHart 

Sarah Jane Marsh – Nonfiction
Sarah Jane Marsh is a narrative nonfiction writer and the author of Disney-Hyperion’s THOMAS PAINE AND THE DANGEROUS WORD and MOST WANTED: JOHN HANCOCK AND SAMUEL ADAMS (forthcoming 2020). Her Thomas Paine book is a 2019 Teacher’s Choice by the International Literacy Association and a National Council of the Social Studies Notable Book of 2019. Sarah loves visiting schools and sharing a growth mindset. She lives outside Seattle and got started at an SCBWI Great Critique event. Visit her or on Twitter at @MsSarahJMarsh.

Kate Berube – Picture Books
Kate Berube (Bear uh bee) grew up in a cow-filled Connecticut town where she dreamed of being an artist.  She earned her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and spent a semester studying in Paris. Like many artists, though, her career trajectory wasn’t a straight line – along the way she was a nanny, a tax preparer, a scenic painter, a decorative painter, and a bookseller (at celebrated Powell’s Books). Portland is where she now makes her home with her husband and daughter.

In 2013, Kate was featured on the blog, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, in an ‘Up-and-Coming Illustrator’ post. Publishers Weekly named Kate a spring 2016 ‘Flying Start’ and she now has five picture books published. Her work has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal, and has been on multiple ‘best book’ lists, including Chicago Public Library, SLJ and All the Wonders. Kate’s authorial debut, HANNAH AND SUGAR, was reviewed in the Wall Street Journal, was a CCBC Charlotte Zolotow Highly Recommended Title, a Parent’s Choice ’16, shortlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize, and won the Marion Vannett Ridgway Award and the Oregon Book Award for Children’s Literature. THE SUMMER NICK TAUGHT HIS CATS TO READ was a CLEL Bell Award winner. THE SANDCASTLE THAT LOLA BUILT and MAE’S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL were both reviewed in the New York Times. MAE’S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL is a finalist for the Oregon Book Award for Children’s Literature.  SOLD OUT!


Suzy Vitello – Young Adult
Suzy Vitello’s young adult novels include Jr. Library Guild pick THE MOMENT BEFORE, THE EMPRESS CHRONICLES and THE KEEPSAKE. Her award-winning short fiction and nonfiction has appeared in The Rumpus, Mississippi Review, Plazm, Tarpaulin Sky, The Southampton Review and various anthologies and other literary journals. She has been a prize winner in The Atlantic Monthly Student Fiction Contest, The Frank McCourt Memoir Prize, and has been a recipient of an Oregon Literary Arts grant. She lives in Portland where she writes and runs workshops in her basement.