Big Thaw Retreat 2024

May 03, 2024 - May 05, 2024

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A weekend for authors and illustrators to come together, build community and get your work in front of an industry professional, Rachel Orr of the Prospect Agency. Member cost $250 which includes 2 nights lodging.

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Faculty Rachel Orr

Rachel Orr is celebrating her fifteenth year at Prospect Agency, where she represents both authors and illustrators in projects ranging from board books through YA. She previously worked for eight rewarding years at HarperCollins Children’s Books and uses those editorial skills to help prepare her clients’ work for submission. Her clients include Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Leeza Hernandez (Roxie Loves Adventure), Cathy Carr (365 Days to Alaska), Samantha M. Clark (Arrow), Cori Doerrfeld (The Rabbit Listened), Susie Lee Jin (King of the Mountain!) and Molly Ruttan (Something Wild). In addition to frequently speaking at SCBWI events (which she loves!), Rachel has served on the Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature for over a decade. A native of Pittsburgh and a graduate of Kenyon College, she currently lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, with her husband and two children, where she enjoys dancing, running and reading, of course.

Retreat Schedule



This year's retreat will be held at the Susitna River Lodge located in Talkeetna, just 2 hours north of Anchorage. You will either be housed in a cabin with up to 2 other people or within the lodge itself with possibly one other person. Please do not try to call ahead as we have already reserved the rooms. If you have a preference or going with someone, please let us know. There will be a breakfast buffet on Saturday and Sunday that will contain cold items like yogurt and cereal. If you have food allergies or restrictions, please plan appropriately. Lunches and dinners will be on your own. There are many food choices in Talkeetna itself. The cabins have small fridges and limited cooking facilities including microwaves.

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General Schedule

The retreat will begin on May 3rd and run through May 5th. Checkin begins at 3pm on Friday May 3rd. The first gathering will begin in the evening after dinner. We will gather in the lodge for a welcome and an introduction by Rachel Orr. The night will continue with fun and games! May 4th will begin with a breakfast buffet. The morning will be dedicated to writers with a workshop and time for you to write. The afternoon will be dedicated to illustrators, though authors are welcome. There will be more time to write and get dinner. Then we will wrap up the day with more fun and games and community building. May 5th will begin with a breakfast buffet. We will wrap up our retreat with time to write, a final workshop and farewell. Checkout is at 11 am.

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Talkeetna is located about two hours north of Anchorage along the Parks Highway. The Alaska Railroad Depot is across the road from the Susitna River Lodge and is a beautiful ride from Anchorage. Please make sure you check the schedule as the train only runs once a day. If you are driving and would like to carpool or if you are looking for a ride, please use our Facebook page to connect with other attendees.