New England SCBWI Squam Lake Writing Retreat 2024

Sep 06, 2024 - Sep 08, 2024

Rockywold Deephaven Camps, Squam Lake, Holderness, NH


Hello Campers! Join us September 6th-8th, 2024 for a weekend of full of nature, creative sessions, inspiration, good fun, and great company! This year's presentations and critiques will be with editor Ariel Richardson (Chronicle Books) and agent Sera Rivers (Speilburg Literary Agency). Spots are limited. Register by July 31st to secure a place and submit material for a critique. Scroll down to learn more about this event and to see the schedule for the weekend. If you have any questions, please email Shawn Anderson at

What Is the Squam Lake Retreat?

This is an opportunity for children’s book writers and illustrators to connect, improve their craft, and network with industry professionals. Rejuvenate your creativity in this idyllic, rustic setting, enjoy presentations, have fun with staff and peers, and delight in the ambiance and delicious food.


This retreat is open to children’s book authors and author-illustrators of all levels and genres, both published and trying hard to be published — creators of board books, picture books, chapter books, middle-grade novels, young-adult novels, and graphic novels, etc. 


Grab your hiking boots, swimsuit, a flashlight, and your laptop and join us.

And yes, there will be campfires!

Meet the Faculty:


Ariel Richardson, Chronicle Books

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, and comfortable with everything from creating large publishing programs and ideating in-house ‘homegrown’ ideas, to participating in high-profile auctions. Her successes include INVISIBLE THINGS landing on the New York Times bestseller list its first week on sale and THIS IS HOW WE DO IT being the most reprinted book in the company the year it released. She helped make THERE IS A RAINBOW, a picture book about the pandemic, in under 6 months from acquisition to publication. And SEEN AND UNSEEN: WHAT DOROTHEA LANGE, TOKYO MIYATAKE, AND ANSEL ADAMS'S PHOTOGRAPHS REVEAL ABOUT THE JAPANESE AMERICAN INCARCERATION won 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.


Sera Rivers, Speilburg Literary Agency

Sera Rivers is a Literary Agent at Speilburg Literary, an AALA member, and a writer. She holds an MFA in writing for children from Simmons University. Prior to agenting, Sera worked as an editor in educational publishing for seven years. Sera lives in Western Massachusetts with her partner and their puppy Jett. When she’s not reading or writing, she can be found running all over New England training for her next marathon. Check out her website at for her MSWL, events, and updates. She tweets at @writeloudly.

Schedule of Events:

The exact times subject to change (other than check-in)

Friday, September 6

• 3-4pm Arrive and check in after 3pm, light snacks

• 4:30pm: Welcome session with introductions

• 6pm: Dinner

• 7:30pm: Keynote with Ariel Richardson

• 8:30pm: Game night

Saturday, September 7

• (Optional) 5am: Writing session with Shawn Anderson

• 8am: Breakfast

• 10am: Keynote with Sera Rivers

• 11am: Batch #1 Critiques

• 12:30pm: Lunch

• 2-5pm: Batches #2 & 3 Critiques and flexible creative sessions

• 6pm: Dinner

• 8pm: Campfire stories & games

PLEASE NOTE: Free time can be spent hiking, swimming, writing/drawing, and enjoying nature. Canoes and kayaks are available for rental onsite.

Sunday, September 8

• (Optional) 5am writing session with Shawn Anderson

• (Optional) 5am Peak Poetry hike with Alex Hinrichs

• 8am:  Breakfast

• 10am: Q&A with Ariel Richardson, Sera Rivers, Shawn Anderson, and Alex Hinrichs

• 11am: Closing remarks

• Checkout of rooms prior to lunch

• 12:30pm: Lunch

• Depart at your leisure

PLEASE NOTE: Feel free to stay for a hike, dip, or one more writing session on your own before heading home.


Members: $685, includes food, onsite activities, and lodging (double-room occupancy).

Non-members: $785, includes food, onsite activities, and lodging (double-room occupancy).

Single room: $685 extra

Day ticket: $435, includes food and onsite activities.

*Written critique and 10-minute one-on-one chat: $75, Receive a professional critique of your first five pages (12 point Times Roman font, double spaced) of a novel, a picture-book manuscript, or your query letter

Cancellation Policy:

Given the limited spaces available for this event, no refunds can be provided for cancellations unless a replacement can be secured. If the spot can be filled, the initial registrant will receive a refund (minus a $50.00 processing fee).

Images from Past Retreats:

From the Co-Directors:

As co-directors, we look forward to seeing you by the lake!

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Shawn Anderson (Co-Regional Advisor) (@ShawnTWrites on socials)

Alexandra Hinrichs (Co-Assistant Regional Advisor) (@PuddleReader on socials)

Kathy Quimby Johnson (@ktquimby on socials)

Shawn Anderson
Co-Regional Advisor
Alexandra Hinrichs
Co-Assistant Regional Advisor
Katherine Quimby Johnson