Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Karen and Philip Cushman Late Bloomer Award


Karen Cushman Late Bloomer Award


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The award is open to unpublished children’s book authors or author/illustrators over the age of fifty, and one winner will be chosen from the pool of those who have submitted material for the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 the 2022 winner, Don Halquist for MARBLES IN HIS TOES: THE STORY OF TAP DANCER BILL EVANS









  • 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  • The award is open to unpublished writers and writer-illustrators fifty years of age and older.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 published or have a project under contract in the children’s book field.
  • All Work-in-Progress Grant guidelines apply.
  • The final judging will be by a committee including Karen Cushman and Lin Oliver.
  • Submit through the Work-in-Progress Award Portal HERE  


Questions? Please email Sarah Diamond at



2020: Sherrie Lorance for At the End of Happy Road 

2019: Jennifer Rawlings for Empty

2018: Holly Smith for Stray Blue Star and Elizabeth Lund for Finding Memory

2017: No grant awarded

2016: Stephen Baker for Prayers to Broken Stone

2015: JC Kato for Finding Moon Rabbit

2014: Jennifer Sommer for Octopus Capers

2013: Edie Parsons for Mercury Sea