Los Angeles Region Writers Day 2024

Mar 09, 2024

Skirball Cultural Center 2701 N Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049


Bud to Blossom. How to Grow Stories and Nurture Creative Inspiration

Join us for our in-person 'Bud to Blossom' Writers Day Conference, March 9th, 2024, at the Skirball Cultural Center. Our amazing faculty will nourish your creative spirit and encourage your stories to sprout and grow. Already have a flourishing manuscript? Then add an Agent Pitch to your event day! Enter our manuscript contest for a chance to win a free event plus a free 10 page manuscript review. You can also sign up for a paid manuscript review. Looking for a critique group? Come meet and greet with fellow SCBWI Los Angeles and Tri-Region members and make new connections. Finally, enjoy a delicious patio lunch by the famous lily pond. We look forward to seeing you!


The day will begin with registration, coffee and mingling from 8:00am - 8:45am.

The day will end with book signing beginning at 4:30pm.


  • Early Bird Premium Members registering before 2/10/2024, use discount code EARLYBIRD24: $135
  • Premium Members (registering after 2/10/2024): $150
  • Non-Premium Members: $180

There will be a $30 administration fee for cancellations. No refunds after February 10, 2024.

Writing Contest:

Entry deadline is January 28, 2024. Click here for more information.

Agent Pitch Session:

Sign up for a 10 minute spot to pitch your project to an agent in person. Click here for more information, rules and best practices. Price: $65.

C. Harrington Scholarship:

Would you, or another SCBWI member you know, benefit from a scholarship to attend this event? Apply for our C. Harrington Scholarship here.

Paid Manuscript Review:

Sign up to receive a manuscript review from Editorial Assistant Estefania Valencia. A limited number of reviews are available. Click here for more information. Price: $55


"The Pep, the Prod, the Pause: Strategies for Leveraging Conference Insights AFTER the Conference" with Ariel Richardson

So often what we learn at conferences is inspiring in the moment, but then we return to normal life. Let’s talk about how to build mechanisms in to our daily life to ensure inspiration, creativity, and finished product manifests. 

"Disability Reset: Changing How We Think (and Write) About Disability" with Karol Ruth Silverstein

Ableism is so woven into the human experience it can be hard to recognize. Stigma-reinforcing language and assumptions can cause harm despite our best intentions. Award-winning author Karol Ruth Silverstein examines misconceptions and biases so that we can bring authentic disability inclusion into our work.

"Twenty Years, Twenty Take-Aways: Lessons Learned Looking Back" with Liz Garton Scanlon

Liz Garton Scanlon's first book was published in 2004. Twenty years later, with more than 30 picture books, chapter books and middle grade novels out or on their way, Scanlon looks back at all she didn't know and what the years -- and the books -- have taught her. In the hopes of shortening (or softening) your own learning curve, this talk will touch on craft, the industry, the hard knocks and the human heart. 

Breakout Sessions:

While registering for the event, choose two of the following breakout sessions to attend:

"Scenecraft: What It Is and How It’ll Blow Your Writing Open" with Henry Lien

Many prose writers neglect scenecraft because they don’t even know what it is. Scenecraft includes elements such as blocking, visual tableaux, power dynamics, use of negative space, and strategic deletions of sight, sound, ability, or knowledge. Some of the most unforgettable scenes in all of art draw their power from their scenecraft. This workshop uses examples from various mediums, including painting, film/tv, and video games. Writers will leave the workshop with a practical list of tools to make their scenecraft more memorable. This workshop is taught by an experienced international art dealer.

"The Chapter Book Sweet Spot: Writing Vivid, Voicey Books for Newly Independent Readers" with Liz Garton Scanlon

Chapter books offer rich and joyous opportunities for both writers and readers: writers get to fully explore character and story arcs within relatively manageable containers, and proud new readers devour these books (and series), falling forever in love with their protagonists. In this interactive, generative session we'll talk about key elements that will make your work for 5-9 year olds irresistible and unputdownable. 

"Bringing the Magical Elixir Home: How to Connect Your Book with Those Who Need It" with Ariel Richardson

The publishing industry has had a hard couple of years, and your marketing department may be understaffed or working with a small budget. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find an audience for your book, and make an impact. I’ll go over how I coach my authors on marketing, both philosophy and details like activity sheets, ideas for what to do with original art, ideas for partnerships, best practices for Amazon, ideas for social media, some best practices for events and school visits, how to interact with bookstores, and more. The last stage of the hero’s journey is bringing the magical elixir back home to your community—let’s make sure you can connect your book with those who need it, and help to break your book out from the competition.

“The Ultimate Checklist for Submitting to Editors: 10 Tests a Novel Must pass to Prove It’s Really Ready for Submission” with Deborah Halverson

How can you know when your manuscript is really ready to submit to agents or editors? You think it is, but how can you know for sure? Learn ten actionable tests for knowing when a novel is really, truly ready to submit . . . along with ways to whip the manuscript into shape if it fails a single one of them.

About the Speakers


Deborah Halverson

Deborah Halverson is the award-winning author of "Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies" and "Writing New Adult Fiction", as well as numerous teen novels, books in a series for struggling readers, and a picture book. Formerly an editor at Harcourt Children's Books and now a freelance editor specializing in picture books and Young Adult/Middle Grade fiction and nonfiction, Deborah has been working with authors—bestsellers, veterans, debut, and aspiring—for twenty-five years. She is also the founder of the popular writers’ advice site and serves on the advisory board for the UC San Diego Extension “Children’s Book Writing and Illustrating” certificate program.


Henry Lien

Henry Lien is an author from Taiwan, now living in Hollywood, CA. He is a graduate of St. Paul’s School, Brown University, UCLA School of Law, and Clarion West Writers Workshop. He is the author of the award-winning and critically-acclaimed PEASPROUT CHEN middle grade fantasy series. Henry also teaches writing for institutions including UCLA, the University of Iowa, and Clarion West. He previously worked as an attorney and fine art dealer. He is a four-time Nebula/Norton Award finalist and won the UCLA Extension Department of the Arts Instructor of the Year award. Hobbies include writing theme songs for his novels and losing Nebula and Norton Awards.


Ariel Richardson

Ariel Richardson is a Senior Editor in Children's at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. She is a versatile bookmaker, working at the intersection of art and impact. She’s had demonstrated successes, from "Invisible Things" debuting on the New York Times bestseller list to "Seen and Unseen: What Dorothea Lange, Toyo Miyatake, and Ansel Adams’s Photographs Reveal About the Japanese American Incarceration" winning the Robert F. Sibert Medal and Bologna Ragazzi Award. She has worked at three independent bookstores on two coasts, and has a masters degree in Children’s Literature from Simmons University.


Liz Garton Scanlon

Liz Garton Scanlon is the author of numerous beloved books for young people, including picture books Frances in the Country; Kate, Who Tamed the Wind; One Dark Bird; the Caldecott honored All the World, and many others, illustrated by some of the very best artists in the business. She's also co-authored several books with her pal Audrey Vernick, including the hilarious Bob, Not Bob, and the upcoming World’s Best Class Plant. Scanlon’s middle grade novels are The Great Good Summer and Lolo's Light, and her chapter book series Bibsy Cross debuts in 2024.


Karol Silverstein

Karol Ruth Silverstein (she/her/disabled) is an award-winning children’s book author, screenwriter and longtime SCBWI member. Intent on championing misfits, underdogs and that weird kid nobody wants to sit next to at lunch (spoiler alert: she qualifies as all of the above), Karol is a passionate supporter of diversity in children's books. Her debut young adult novel, "Cursed" (Charlesbridge Teen, 2019), was loosely drawn from her experience of being diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at thirteen. A funny, frank and unsentimental take on the “sick kid” genre, "Cursed" won the Schneider Family Book Award in 2020. Originally from Philadelphia, Karol now lives in West Hollywood, California, with two unmanageably fluffy cats.

About the Pitch Session Agents


Hannah Andrade

Hannah Andrade (she/her) started as an agency assistant before moving on to acquire her own clients. She’s been with Bradford Literary Agency since 2017 and has had the privilege to work with a number of bestselling authors across a variety of genres. She likes to think of herself as an editorial-focused agent and is particularly eager to acquire BIPOC/underrepresented voices. She is prioritizing stories of joy where identity isn’t the focus and is especially excited about stories rooted in history, mythology, and legends, particularly those that are lesser-known or underrepresented in traditional publishing.


Jemiscoe Chambers-Black

Jemiscoe cannot say that reading and writing came naturally. Rather, these interests were inspired by pizza. Her school offered free Pizza Hut and Shakey’s Pizza coupons as a reward for reading books, and Jem was sold. Who would have ever figured that pizza could create an avid reader? Before Jem joined Andrea Brown Literary Agency in 2020, she was an assistant director for film and television. Her love for books prevailed, and she went back to school to study English Literature and creative writing in fiction and earned her MFA. While born and raised in Washington, D.C., Jem lives in Los Angeles with her family. She represents adult fiction, YA, MG, picture book authors, illustrators, and select adult nonfiction. She is especially looking for diverse voices.


Alyssa Maltese

Alyssa Maltese is a literary agent at Root Literary seeking young adult fiction, adult fiction, and adult nonfiction. She worked in early childhood education before moving to the west coast and joining Root Lit in 2019. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and disobedient cat, though she will always be a Jersey girl at heart. Alyssa is excited to find and uplift books you can’t put down, books that surprise you, books that make you think, and, above all else, books that help people.


Jennifer Rofé

Jennifer Rofé is a senior agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, where she’s hung her hat for nearly 20 years. She works primarily with picture book author-illustrators, illustrators, and middle grade and chapter book authors. Generally, Jennifer always seeks masterful writing, distinct voices and perspectives, and richly developed characters (if she is consumed by your characters, she will follow them anywhere).


Sarah Stephens

Sarah Stephens is a children’s book enthusiast in every sense. She has worked as an editor, author, and indie bookseller, and before that she was a book-loving child. As an agent, Sarah is looking to champion books that make her laugh out loud, delight her with new wonders or quirky surprises, or speak deep truths—books that make her want to say “yes.” She is interested in elevating the voices of marginalized individuals, amplifying stories that need to be heard, and connecting children to nature. She likes authors and illustrators who know their craft and tell their own unique tales with humor, heart, and integrity. Though she enjoys everything from board books to YA, if forced to pick favorites, picture books would be at the top of the heap.


Michaela Whatnall

Michaela Whatnall is an agent with Dystel, Goderich & Bourret, where they have worked out of the West Coast office since 2019. They have a degree in English and linguistics from Emory University, completed the Columbia Publishing Course, and in 2023 they were selected as a Publishers Weekly Star Watch Honoree. Michaela represents middle grade and young adult fiction across genres; upmarket adult fiction and grounded fantasy; and select picture books, graphic novels, and narrative nonfiction.

About our Manuscript Reviewer


Estefania Valencia

Estefania Valencia began her journey in children’s publishing as an editorial fellow for Chronicle Books and now works on picture books as an Editorial Assistant for Random House Studio. She adores picture books, but also previously enjoyed working on board books and middle grade graphic novels. She lives in Los Angeles where her current obsessions include watching animated shows, trying new and tasty coffee spots, and getting bullied by her one-year-old tuxedo cat, Luna.