Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Arkansas SCBWI Retreat 2018

Date(s) - 11/09/2018 - 11/11/2018
12:00 am

Coury House Retreat Center
405 N. Subiaco Avenue - Subiaco, AR 72865

The 22nd annual Arkansas Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) Retreat is Nov. 9-11, 2018 at the Coury House Retreat Center in Subiaco.

The retreat will will feature hands-on workshops led by Jordan Hamessley, literary agent at New Leaf Literary & Media; and Kristin L. Gray, author of novels and picture books; writing time; private manuscript consultation with Hamessley and group mentoring with Gray.

At the retreat, writers will learn techniques to strengthen their works-in-progress, submissions and writing skills and improve their manuscripts positively.

Registered attendees will submit pages from a manuscript in advance (via email) and receive in-depth feedback from the agent at the retreat. Instructions will be emailed to those who register.

Cost is all-inclusive: semi-private room with bath (2 people with 2 beds per room), meals, all workshops and consultation with the agent. A private room is available at additional cost. Cost for members is $335 (semi-private) and $390 (private).

For questions regarding registration, contact

Registration opens August 29. It is online with the option to pay online through PayPal or by check (mail).

To register, you will select a registration ticket and choice of semi-private or private room. SCBWI members: Be sure you are logged into to see member options and pricing.

Reservations are on a first come, first served basis for SCBWI members. If you are a not a member of SCBWI, contact to see if space is available and how to register. Cost for non-members is $395 (semi-private) and $450 (private).

Space is limited for the retreat, so register early!

Registration opens: Aug. 29
To participate in the Advance Manuscript Consultation, register by:
— Payment by check (received by): Sept. 28
— Payment online: Oct. 3
Manuscripts received: Oct. 3

Kristin L. Gray
Kristin L. Gray drinks coffee (cream, no sugar) and writes books (funny, not sad) from her home in northwest Arkansas. She loves to read, walk her dogs, and eat cake for breakfast. Kristin’s fourth-grade self would never believe she has five children, two dogs, one fish, a bearded dragon, and a shy gecko. Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge is her first novel. Her forthcoming books include The Amelia Six (Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster), Koala Is Not a Bear (Sterling Children’s Books), and A Party for Rover (Knopf). To learn more about Kristin, or to send her a cake, visit her online at

Jordan Hamessley
With nearly a decade of experience working on the editorial side of publishing at Penguin Young Readers (Grosset & Dunlap), Egmont USA, and Adaptive Studios, Jordan Hamessley made the switch to agenting. Jordan had the pleasure of editing many award winning and critically acclaimed authors such as Sara Benincasa, Len Vlahos, Ilsa J. Bick, Adam-Troy Castro, E.C. Myers, Dori Hillestad Butler, Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kate Wetherhead, Michelle Schusterman and more.

She is actively building a list of diverse children’s fiction from picture books through YA and select adult science fiction and horror authors. Jordan has a deep affection for contemporary middle grade and YA with heart and humor. She is always looking to find stories that bring the queer experience to the children’s space across all age ranges. In terms of genre, she is interested science fiction and horror. She is also looking for quirky, non-fiction picture books with a STEM focus.

Jordan lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family and sings show tunes and tap dances in her spare time.

The Nitty Gritty of Revision – Congrats! You’ve written a manuscript! Now what? This workshop will talk about how to approach the revision process from big picture changes to line editing.

Let’s Start at the Beginning – We’ll dive into some great opening chapters and discuss what makes them work and how to create opening pages that will catch an agent or editor’s eye.

Creating Dynamic Characters – Techniques on creating engaging, relatable characters who are worth rooting for. (Hint: It’s always their fault.)