Calling for Entries in the Year’s Most Competitive Writing Contest
The winner of the SUE ALEXANDER GRANT receives a guaranteed spot and free tuition to the 2023 Working Writer’s Retreat, which will be held September 29 to October 1, 2023, at the Holy Cross Retreat Center in Encino. More information about the Working Writer’s Retreat will be posted soon.
Author Sue Alexander was a founding member of SCBWI and was instrumental in the formation of the L.A. region. Her clear vision of the need for an organization to support children’s literature made her a vital force in establishing the early structure of SCBWI and growing it into the international society we enjoy today. For 35 years, she mentored writers, illustrators, librarians and teachers — always nurturing, but setting the highest standards for the craft. Established in her memory, this grant brings her encouraging spirit to one promising writer.
2023: Submissions accepted 4/13/23 – 5/25/23. Winner notified 7/3/23.
1. You must be a member in good standing of the SCBWI-L.A. region.
2. Published or unpublished SCBWI-L.A. members may apply.
3. The submitted manuscript must NOT be under contract for publication at the time of application.
4. The submitted manuscript must NOT have won first place in any other SCBWI-L.A. contest at the time of application.
5. Limited to one entry per person.
Submissions not in compliance with the following rules WILL BE DISQUALIFIED. To ensure fairness for all, no questions will be answered. Please read carefully.
1. Limit the length of your fiction or non-fiction submission based on its genre:
– Picture Book – text only (no illustrations or dummies)
– Middle Grade – first 10 pages
– Young Adult – first 10 pages
– Poetry – 10 poems or 10 pages total
2. Format your manuscript as follows:
– 1-inch margin on all sides
– Font: Times New Roman, 12 point
– Header including PAGE NUMBER AND TITLE ONLY. Do not include your name or any other information on your manuscript.
– Save your manuscript as a PDF file named with SURNAME_TITLE. Example: Rowling_Harry Potter
3. Send your submission in an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
– Subject line of email must read: SUE ALEXANDER GRANT
– In the body of your email include:
– Your current SCBWI member name
– Contact phone numbers
– Title of your submission
– Category of your submission (PB, MG, YA or Other)
– Attach your PDF file
4. One winner will be announced on August 2, 2023, in the Kite Tales blog. In announcing the award, we may wish to publish a brief, attributed selection from the winning manuscript in our Kite Tales blog or on our website. If you do NOT agree to this, please state so in the body of your email.
5. Complete entry must be emailed by 11:59pm (PST) on May 25, 2023.
Judges will remain anonymous.
2021: Christine Van Zandt for Butterfly Dreams (PB)
2020: Nicholas Ponticello for Pigs in Clover (YA)
2019: Jennifer Rawlings for Empty (YA)
2018: Julia Edwards for Anno Catti (MG)
2017: Andrea Custer for Forgotten Angels (YA)
2016: Karen Lyn Jameson for Woodland Dreams (PB)
2015: Kes Trester for Collision (novel)
2014: Melody Mansfield for Between the Wish and the Word (novel)
2013: Amanda Hollander for Crumbs (novel)
2012: Penelope Merrell for SQUAWK! (A Graphic Story in Fowl Language) (PB)
2011: Abi Estrin for Stricken (novel)
2010: Susan Lendroth for Not So Loud, Natsumi (PB)
2009: Connie Summer for Garbage Day (PB)
Sue Alexander (1933-2008)
Children’s Author and Co-Founder of SCBWI
Author Sue Alexander was a founding member of SCBWI and was instrumental in the formation of the L.A. region. Her clear vision of the need for an organization to support children’s literature made her a vital force in establishing the early structure of SCBWI and growing it into the international society we enjoy today. For 35 years, she mentored writers, illustrators, librarians and teachers – always nurturing, but setting the highest standards for the craft.
Sue wrote more than 25 books. A spinner of tales, she wrote from the heart and from experience. She worked long and hard to create the best stories she could. After years of unsuccessfully submitting stories to children’s magazines, Sue sold her first book in 1973. Published by Scholastic Books, Small Plays for You and a Friend evolved from the simple dramas she created for her own children to act out. Success soon followed with the well-received World Famous Muriel series.
One of her most beloved books, Nadia the Willful, about a Bedouin girl mourning her brother’s death, grew out of Sue’s own grief over the death of her brother and her father’s unwillingness to talk about it. Lila on the Landing recalled her 1940s childhood in Chicago. With the birth of her first grandchild, Megan Elizabeth, Sue found a new source for storytelling and wrote One More Time, Mama. Her last book, Behold the Trees, was published in 2001. In this poetic, historical picture book, Sue captures the significance of trees planted in Israel and how that changed a small, but precious piece of earth.
Students of Sue’s UCLA writing classes remember her as a benevolent yet stern taskmaster. Sue did not waste her time on dilettantes. A writer had to be up to the demands of crafting a good, well-told story, and willing to revise and revise and revise in order to get to the story’s nugget of truth, and to earn Sue’s approval. It was all about story – and not the glory – for Sue. It was also about creating “new readers” in children – a most worthy goal in Sue’s eyes.
Sue was emphatic about “service and commitment.” Each year at L.A.’s Writer’s Day, she took great pride in announcing the name of the recipient of the Sue Alexander Service and Encouragement Award. This award is presented to a volunteer who has given his or her time, energy, and expertise in extraordinary ways on behalf of the region. The service award, as well as the Sue Alexander Grant for writers help Sue’s legacy of encouragement to continue.