Work-in-Progress Awards

To assist children’s book writers and illustrators in the completion of a specific project currently not under contract. Given in the categories of Picture Book Text, Chapter Books/Early Readers, Middle Grade, Young Adult Fiction, Nonfiction, and Underrepresented Fiction or Nonfiction.

Award info

The SCBWI Work-In-Progress (WIP) Award assists children’s book writers and illustrators in the publication of a specific project currently not under contract. One winner per category will be selected. SCBWI reserves the right not to confer this award in any given year.

Submissions open March 1 through March 31. SUBMISSIONS CLOSED. Winners announced in Fall 2024.

WIP Award

The Work-in-Progress Award showcases outstanding manuscripts from the members of the SCBWI. One winner in each of the following five categories will be selected.

Picture Book Text

Chapter Books/Early Readers/Middle Grade

Young Adult Fiction

Nonfiction (Anna Cross Giblin Nonfiction Award)

Underrepresented Fiction or Nonfiction (previously called Multicultural). Note: Members may apply to this category in addition to one of the above.

Karen Cushman Late Bloomer Award. Note: Members may apply to this category in addition to one of the above.

The works submitted by winners will be made available on a secure webpage and presented to a hand-selected group of editors for their consideration. Although this is not a guarantee of publication, the opportunity to have your work presented to acquiring editors, along with an SCBWI endorsement, is a unique opportunity.


You must be a current SCBWI member when your work is submitted and when the award is announced.

You may not submit a work that is under contract. If the work becomes under contract before the award is announced, you will become ineligible. It is your responsibility to notify SCBWI and withdraw your application.

Each member may submit only one manuscript to the WIP awards each year.

Illustrations can apply for one of the Don Freeman Awards. You may not apply for both the Don Freeman and Picture Book category of the WIP Award.

Applying to the Cushman Grant or the Underrepresented category? Simply check the relevant box on the Work-in-Progress submission form. That’s it! You will not receive additional automated confirmation.

If you are self-published, you may submit to the WIP.

Submission guidelines

Please follow the below instructions completely.

Choose from one of four book categories: Picture Book, Early Reader/Chapter Book/Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Nonfiction.

If you wish to be considered for the Karen Cushman Late Bloomer Award or the Underrepresented Voices Award, choose one of the categories in addition to the ones listed above.

Your PDF should include 1) a cover page, 2) synopsis, 3) the first ten pages of your completed manuscript.

Novelists should also include a one-page synopsis of the story. Please feel free to give away the ending. If you are submitting a picture book, you do not need a full synopsis; please instead include a logline pitch of the story.

Please format your document in the following style:

A cover page with title, category, and email address

Page numbers in the bottom right corner

Name (First_Last) in the upper right corner of all 10 pages

Double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font

Your sample cannot exceed ten pages. 

Full PDF submission packet should not exceed 12 pages (cover page + synopsis + 10 page sample)

Please format picture books as a text-only document, with no page breaks. Most picture book manuscripts will be much shorter than 10 pages, more like 2 to 4 pages.

Back matter and author's notes are included in there 10 pages.

Please label your PDF as Category First Name_Last Name; e.g., MG Mary_Ford.pdf.

Questions? Please email Sarah Diamond at


How do I submit to the Cushman Late Bloomer Award?

The Cushman Late Bloomer Award is a part of the Work in Progress Awards, and you must submit to them together. Go to the WIP form in your MEMBER PROFILE and check 1) the box to apply for the Cushman Late Bloomer Award 2) the box for your other book category (PB, MG, YA, NF)

Can I submit an illustrated manuscript to the Work-in-Progress Award?

No, this award is for text only.

Can I submit a PB to both the Don Freeman Grant and the Work-in-Progress/Cushman Late Bloomer Award?

No, you may only submit to one of these awards. The Don Freeman Award is for illustrators and author-illustrators while the WIP is geared toward text-only manuscripts. We recommend that author/illustrators with full picture book dummies choose the Don Freeman.

Can I submit to the Work-in-Progress and the Ann Whitford Paul Award?

Yes, you may apply to both of these awards. You may apply with the same manuscript. Winners will be announced in the fall.

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