Friday, March 8, 2019

Scholarship Winner Laura Stewart's SCBWI New York Conference Experience

In addition to regional conferences, SCBWI hosts two national conferences - one in Los Angeles in the summer and one in New York in the winter. Our SCBWI-MI chapter has sent members to the New York conference for several years thanks to a scholarship offered by author Shutta Crum. This year's scholarship winner was Laura Stewart, and we asked her to fill us in on her New York adventure.
Here's Laura:

On the eve of flying out for the 2019 N.Y.C. conference I was a jumble of feelings. A healthy amount of nervousness, excitement and pure exhaustion. I had just returned 52 hours prior from Arizona after seeing my first grandbaby in the NICU born by an emergency c-section. With jet lag alive and active, I conserved my energies over the next day and a half to prepare for
my next adventure.

This experience as an attendee and the fact that I was in N.Y.C., completely pushed me out of my comfort zone. There was a definite feeling of camaraderie in this community of storytellers. I was honored to be part of the SCBWI history this year, from celebrating Jane
Yolen’s 80th birthday to witnessing Elizabeth Acevedo give her first keynote speech. Both truly beautiful people.

One of the threads woven throughout the conference and shared by key speakers, was that no one should eliminate themselves as having the potential to become an author. Even when the voice in our head tells us we really have no clue what we’re doing in this space with such talented individuals. Each of the intensives I attended gave me practical tools to dissect and improve my stories and also polish my queries. I came away feeling more confident in my ability, direction and a renewed perseverance to succeed in publication.

I am thankful to Shutta for offering this scholarship and to SCBWI MI for offering the
stipend. I have enjoyed being part of this community of writers and am grateful to be a part of
your story. Thank you for being a part of mine.

Laura lives just a short stroll from the banks of the peaceful River Raisin, where she has gleaned many of her story ideas while canoeing, kayaking and daydreaming. While raising her family, Laura has continued to write stories, songs and prayers. Learn more at

Go to the Official SCBWI Winter Conference Blog for plenty of photos and takeaways.

Find more inspirational highlights here:

If you weren't able to attend the New York conference, SCBWI has more opportunities in the coming months.

The SCBWI Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles will be August 9-12th.

Closer to home and coming up soon is the SCBWI Marvelous Midwest Multi-Region Conference May 3-5th in Chicago.

Don't miss our special SCBWI-MI Features and Programs, here on the Mitten Blog and on the SCBWI-MI website:

  • Read our first Ask the Editor post where editor Katherine Gibson answers your questions about children's publishing. Do you have a question for her? Email your questions to Mitten blog editor Kristin Lenz.

  • Introducing The Teacher's Corner, a new resource on the SCBWI-MI website where connecting with a local children’s book author or illustrator is made easier.

  • 75 new books were donated to students at Burton Elementary through the SCBWI-MI ABC program! Thanks to PAL Coordinator Jodi McKay for coordinating the program and collecting the books, thanks to Nick and Ashley Adkins for delivering the books, and thanks to all the authors who donated copies of their books!


  1. Laura--my buddy! So glad you won the scholarship and that it pushed you out of your comfort zone. Sometimes we all need that. Hugs!

  2. Sounds like a wonderful experience for you Laura! And a big thank you to the SCBWI community for all the wonderful resources!

  3. Thanks for sharing your experiences. It was so nice meeting you in New York, Laura!

  4. Thanks all for your kindness. It was a great experience. Even the gross subway. I should have been taking notes then.

  5. So glad that you had a great experience at the conference. It would push me out of my comfort zone to go too.

  6. Glad you were able to go and have a wonderful experience. What a juxtaposition of emotions.

  7. Sounds like a great experience Laura. I'm so happy you were able to go and get some great information.

  8. It was lovely to have you there, Laura, and we know the information will propel you toward your goals!