This just in, fresh from my return from the annual SCBWI conference. I adore anything that supports unpublished writers trying to break in. This award in particular would have been something I would have jumped on before I got published. From their press release:
The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) announced the creation of the On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award at their 41stAnnual Conference in Los Angeles. The annual award, established by SCBWI and funded by Martin and Sue Schmitt, will be given to two writers or illustrators who are from ethnic and/or cultural backgrounds that are traditionally under-represented in children’s literature in America and who have a ready-to-submit completed work for children. The purpose of the grant is to inspire and further the emergence of diverse writers and illustrators of children’s books.
The work will be judged by an SCBWI committee and two winners will each receive an all-expenses paid trip to the SCBWI Winter Conference in New York to meet with editors and agents, a press release to all publishers, a year of free membership to SCBWI, and an SCBWI mentor for a year. Deadline for submission is November 15, 2012. The winners will be announced December 15, 2012. The On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award will be presented at the 2013 SCBWI Winter Conference in New York. Submission guidelines and information can be found here.
The award was inspired in part by the SCBWI’s increasing efforts to foster under-represented voices in children’s literature. According to SCBWI Executive Director Lin Oliver, “Every child should have the opportunity to experience many and diverse of points of view. SCBWI is proud to contribute to this all-important effort to bring forth new voices.”
The grant was made possible through the generosity of Sue and Martin Schmitt of the 455 Foundation who state: “While our country is made up of beautifully varied cultures and ethnicities, too few are represented in the voices of children’s books. We hope to encourage participation by those not well represented, and look forward to having these stories widely enjoyed by all children.”