Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Emerging Voices


On-the-Verge Emerging Voices Award


The SCBWI established the On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award in 2012 with funding from Martin and Sue Schmitt of the 455 Foundation. The grant was created to foster the emergence of diverse voices in children’s books. 


SCBWI reserves the right not to confer this award in any given year.


SUBMISSIONS CLOSED. Open September 15 – November 15, 2021.



Congrats, 2021 Emerging Voices Award Winners! 




Two writers or writer-illustrators will each receive:  

  • Full tuition to the SCBWI Summer Conference (excluding the Portfolio Showcase; Intensives depending on availability). 
  • A manuscript consultation at the Summer Conference. 
  • A press release.
  • Publicity through SCBWI social media.
  • Manuscript included on our secure website for a selected list of publishing professionals to view.
  • Guidance available from SCBWI staff on professional career development during the winning year.


The award will be presented at the 2021 SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles.  




Eligibility: Any writer or writer/illustrator from an ethnic and/or cultural background that is traditionally under-represented in children’s literature in America. (Including but not limited to American Indian, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic, Pacific Islander)

The manuscript must be an original work written in English for young readers and may not be under contract.  The applicant must be over 18, be unpublished (self-published is not considered published for this award), and should not yet have representation.


All applications will be accepted via email only between September 15 – November 15 to and must include the following:  

  • In the body of the email:
    • An autobiographical statement and career summary in less than 250 words.
    • Why your work will bring forward an underrepresented voice in less than 250 words. 
    • A synopsis of your manuscript in less than 250 words.
    • Please label the subject of the email First Name_Last Name Emerging Voices.  
  • Attached to the email:
    • A PDF of your entire manuscript. If the manuscript is not complete, it is not eligible.  


When your work is published, the author/illustrator should include in the acknowledgment, “This book was made possible in part by a grant from SCBWI.”


Questions? Please email Sarah Diamond at