PRESS RELEASE: August 5, 2012, LOS ANGELES — The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) announced the creation of the On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award at their 41st Annual 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 foster 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 at www.scbwi.org under Awards and Grants.
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."
About Martin and Sue Schmitt
Martin and Sue Schmitt are the founders of We Can Build an Orphanage, sponsoring the Kay Angel orphanage in Jacmel, Haiti. The organization was established in 2007 with the mission to provide a home and education for abandoned children infected with or affected by AIDS in Jacmel, Haiti. The Schmitt’s generous and continuous efforts to support SCBWI’s long-term goals also co-sponsored the 2007 Global Voices Program, which highlighted Mongolian artists and authors. To find out more information about the Kay Angel orphanage please visit www.kayangel.org.
Founded in 1971, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is one of the largest existing writers’ and illustrators’ organizations, with over 22,000 members worldwide. It is the only organization specifically for those working in the fields of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia. The organization was founded by Stephen Mooser (President) and Lin Oliver (Executive Director), both of whom are well-published children’s book authors and leaders in the world of children’s literature. For more information about the On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award, please visit www.scbwi.org, and click “Awards and Grants.”