Our Big Events

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SPRING HOLIDAY IN THE PARK (Annual)

Every Spring we host a free social event for our San Francisco/South members. The past few years have been held at the Lodge in Twin Pines Park in Belmont, CA. This is a lovely opportunity to connect with other writers and illustrators in our region - say hello to old friends or find a new critique group! At this event is “Speed Meeting”, a portfolio show, low-key guided writing and illustrating activities, plus manuscript critiques from our local PAL (published and listed) members. We hope to see you there next year!

GOLDEN GATE CONFERENCE – (Biennially – even years, in the Fall)

The Golden Gate Conference is the big weekend-long conference sponsored by SCBWI SF/South for all regions. In the past, it was held annually in February or March. The March 2020 event was canceled just one week prior due to the pandemic shutdown. In 2021, it was “The Golden Gate Year” with virtual presentations every month. The in-person Golden Gate Conference returned in September 2022. After much consideration, it was decided that it was more feasible for our volunteer staff to organize a conference of this quality every other year instead of annually. The next one will be in Fall 2024.

Over the years, San Francisco/South’s Golden Gate Conference has gained a reputation as one of the most impressive intimate gatherings of talent in the field of children’s literature. Speakers include editors and art directors, award-winning authors and illustrators and the agents who represent them.  Past speakers include Daniel Handler, Jon Agee, M.T. Anderson, Arthur Levine, Cynthia Lord, Gary Schmidt, Namrata Tripathi, Jacquelyn Woodson, David Weisner and Dan Yaccarino.

For 38 years, Golden Gate Conference had been held at The Asilomar Conference Grounds at Pacific Grove, on the Pacific Ocean in the Monterey Bay in Northern California, two hours south of San Francisco. Many of the Asilomar buildings are historic, and the famous dining hall, designed by Julia Morgan, provides a friendly, personal gathering place for conference attendees and speakers. 

The conference is limited to a small group of approximately 100-120, including speakers (although we have had as many as 140 in the past) and usually sells out in a day or two. Registration opens three months prior to the event date.  Notification for open registration is done strictly via this website, our monthly email newsletter, and the SF/South Facebook group.

Caption: Faculty and award winners from the 2022 Golden Gate Conference. Photo Credit: Ana Otaru

AGENTS DAY (Biennially – odd years, in the Spring)

Join us for a wonderful day on the San Francisco Bay to learn more about what agents want and how to acquire one. Find out what agents most want to know about you and your work. You’ll learn how to write a query letter, hear the latest about the publishing industry, meet and reunite with other children’s book writers, and – most of all – have some fun. Writers will be given the opportunity to pre-submit their work to agents for critiques and hear inspiring presentations. Agents Day is usually held online.

ILLUSTRATOR DAY (Biennially – odd years, in the Fall)

Join us for a wonderful day on the San Francisco Bay to learn more about illustrating children’s books. Are you ready to be inspired? We’ll pick up new tips and tricks, not to mention hear the latest about the industry, meet and reunite with other children’s book illustrators, and – most of all – have some fun. Our portfolios will be viewed by art directors, editors, agents and award-winning illustrators. We will also have a First Look panel, a Q & A with local children’s literature experts, individual portfolio critiques, and inspiring presentations. Our next Illustrators Day will be in-person, scheduled for September 2023.