Karen Cushman Late Bloomer Award

An award for a work-in-progress from an unpublished author over age 50.

Award info

The Karen and Philip Cushman Late Bloomer Award is for authors over the age of fifty who have not been traditionally published in the children’s literature field. The grant was established by Newbery Award winner and Newbery Honor Book recipient Karen Cushman and her husband, Philip Cushman, in conjunction with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.  The award is open to unpublished children’s book authors or author/illustrators over the age of fifty, and one winner will be chosen from the pool of those who have submitted material for the SCBWI Work-in-Progress Grants. The winner will receive $500 and free tuition to any SCBWI conference anywhere in the world.

(Conference tuition includes tuition to the general conference, and does not include transportation, hotel, and expenses.) SCBWI reserves the right not to confer this award in any given year. 

Congratulations to 2023 winner Danielle Sunshine!

Submissions open March 1, 2024.

Submission guidelines

You must be a current member.

The award is open to unpublished writers and writer-illustrators fifty years of age and older.

The applicant cannot have been traditionally published or have a project under contract in the children’s book field. (Self-published writers may apply.)

All Work-in-Progress Grant guidelines apply.

The final judging will be by a committee including Karen Cushman.

Submit through the Work-in-Progress Award Portal

Questions? Please email Sarah Diamond at sarahdiamond@scbwi.org.

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Awards & Grants for Writers

Awarded to middle grade and young adult writers working in the fantasy or science fiction genre.