Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Recharge Your Writing Retreat- April 14-16, 2023

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Date(s) - 04/14/2023 - 04/16/2023
1:00 pm

Conception Abbey
37174 State Highway VV - Conception, MO 64433


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KSMO-SCBWI is excited to announce …

Recharge Your Writing Retreat

at Conception Abbey

Friday, April 14–Sunday, April 16, 2023

Full Registration is now closed!
Last day for Working Retreat Tickets is March 23!
We still have a few spots left for those who would like to attend at a reduced rate as a working retreat. NoteThis consists of all of the same amenities minus any interaction with Viking Editor Aneeka Kalia.
So if you are interested in escaping everyday life to commune with your own—children’s book writers—in this peaceful, quiet setting minus the critique and sessions with the editor, please sign up at a reduced rate by clicking below. KSMO-SCBWI offers this retreat, for all writing levels.
This new option still includes peer reviews where you would provide others feedback and in turn receive feedback on 1 or 2 works-in-progress during two interactive critique group sessions.

Our faculty presenter and critiquer is Aneeka Kalia, Associate Editor at Viking Children’s Books. (Not included in the reduced working retreat rate)


Ms. Kalia will be leading two one-hour presentations that include:


Authenticity Readers in Children’s Books
As the industry seeks to diversify its story offerings for young readers, authenticity readers are essential during the writing and editorial process. When authors are writing outside of their experience, feedback from experts within the communities they’re writing about is crucial. In this session, we’ll discuss how authenticity readers can offer new perspectives on your writing to make your story stronger. We’ll also look at the role of authenticity readers in the writing and editorial process, Aneeka’s experience of working with them as an editor, and what it’s like to be an authenticity reader.


A Day in the Life of An Editor

We’ll walk through the roles and responsibilities of an editor, the nuts and bolts of the bookmaking process, the various ways that projects can come to fruition, my collaboration with agents, and what I look for in picture books.


(**Note: Topics of presentation are subject to change.)


You will also receive a one-on-one 15-minute personalized critique covering 10 manuscript pages and a synopsis, OR one complete PB manuscript (under 1500 words) using the SCBWI gold critique form filled out by Ms. Kalia.


The cherry on top is that you can submit to Ms. Kalia July 15, 2023 thru October 15, 2023!


You can have all of this, in addition to a two-night stay in a private room with up to 6 meals provided in this secluded location good enough for monks! All for the low, low price of $450-$600 (see below for details).


That’s food and lodging, two peer critique sessions, two writing presentations, quiet writing time, and an individualized, in-person critique by a professional editor!


It’s a steal! Don’t miss your opportunity! Sign up now! You won’t be sorry.


SCBWI’s COVID policy for US regions is listed below. Because there will be fewer than 75 attendees, you will NOT be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. Masking is encouraged, but not be required, as per the guidelines.
U.S. Regions are required to comply with the following policy:

To minimize the risk of Covid-19 at all SCBWI in-person events with more than 75
attendees, event organizers are required to implement the following attendance

• Within three days of the event, attendees must submit current proof of
vaccination OR proof of a negative covid test administered by third-party
healthcare, taken no earlier than three days prior to the event, as a
condition of attendance.

At any SCBWI in-person event, regardless of the number of attendees, organizers
must offer each attendee a free disposable mask, provide hand sanitizing stations
throughout the event area, and post this policy in its entirety in areas visible to

Comments regarding this policy should be directed to SCBWI headquarters by
emailing Include your name and contact information in
order to receive a response.


Registration will open Saturday, February 4th at 9 am CT and close Wednesday, March 8 at 5 pm CT. Attendance is limited, sign-up early!


About the editor:



Aneeka Kalia is an Associate Editor at Viking Children’s Books, editing contemporary, realistic picture books and graphic novels. She gravitates towards funny, community-driven stories and stories that showcase moments of joy in everyday life, particularly in traditionally marginalized communities. When Aneeka’s not editing, she loves to ride her bike, hike, try out all of Brooklyn’s coffee shops, and try her hand at cooking.







The retreat will be held at Conception Abbey—37174 State Highway VV, Conception, MO 64433—a Benedictine monastery in northwest Missouri.


Established in 1873 by monks from Engelberg, Switzerland, the Abbey is situated in a rural setting and provides simple accommodations in a quiet, peaceful atmosphere—perfect for writing, revising, and editing! It is a beautiful site with ample space for quiet walks to get the creative juices flowing. We have reserved rooms with private baths and showers in the St. Gabriel Guest House.

Conception Abbey, MO




Includes: Interaction, critique, lectures, and submission opportunity with Aneeka Kalia, in addition to PEER critiques with other PB/MG/YA authors, 2 nights in a private room and up to 6 meals provided including Saturday night pizza party!

Cost for SCBWI members:  $450

Cost for non-members: $600









Cost includes private room and the following meals:

(Please note: you will need to eat prior to arriving on Friday as no lunch will be provided.)

Friday:  dinner

Saturday: breakfast, lunch, DINNER will be a pizza party mixer for retreat attendees

Sunday: breakfast, lunch


Since meals are served buffet style, the Abbey cannot guarantee to accommodate any special dietary needs (though we ask that you email us your requests, as the Abbey usually tries to accommodate if given enough notice). There are also no cooking facilities for guest groups. There are a limited number of refrigerators to keep food cold, so if you have a lot of your own items to keep cold, the Abbey suggests bringing a cooler and ice. Hospitality areas provide coffee and hot water service.  A donation jar is provided to help offset the cost of this service. The nearest town (complete with Walmart, fast food, etc.) is just minutes away. In addition, if you prefer to eat separate from other Abbey guests, to-go containers will be available.


Critique groups:


Critique groups are MANDATORY!

They are an integral part of this retreat and participants are expected to actively participate in critiques, which means we ask that you fill out and print a copy of the gold form for each manuscript in your critique group prior to attending. 


Submission guidelines:


Submit the first 10 pages and a synopsis (if you wish) or one complete picture book (Please note ) in standard manuscript format, as an email attachment to

Send all materials & manuscript pages as ONE document.

SUBJECT LINE of your email and Doc title should read: LastName_Title_Kalia (ie. Helsel_Fantastic_Manuscript_Kalia)


Please use .doc NOT PDF.


All Materials due by 5:00PM CT on Wednesday, March 8, 2023. This is to give Ms. Kalia maximum time to complete her critiques.



Tentative Retreat Schedule
(Subject to change)


Friday, April 14, 2023

12:30 Check-in
1:00 p.m. Individual critiques with Aneeka/ Individual mss. revision/writing time
5 pm Ice Breaker in main meeting area
5:45 p.m. Dinner
7:00-8:00 p.m. Presentation by Aneeka Kalia
8:00-10:00 p.m. Mandatory Peer group critique meeting #1


Saturday, April 15, 2023

7:45 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m. – Noon Remaining critique meetings with Aneeka / Individual mss. revision/writing time
12:00 p.m. Lunch
1:00-2:00 p.m. Presentation by Aneeka Kalia
2:00-5:45 p.m. Individual mss revision/writing time
5:45 p.m. Pizza party Dinner with Aneeka Kalia and SCBWI group
7:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. Mandatory Peer critique group meeting #2


Sunday, April 16, 2023

8:15 a.m. Breakfast
9:00-10:00 a.m. Editor Q&A
11:30 a.m. Lunch
2:00 p.m. Check out


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Whether Regional events or the International Conference, all members receive a discount.

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Ticket Information

SCBWI Member: Working Retreat Ticket - $350.00
Attend the weekend and participate in peer critique sessions but no critique or in person sessions with editor, Aneeka Kalia

The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy
The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy
To register for an SCBWI event, you are required to acknowledge our Anti-Harassment Policy.
Scroll to the bottom to read the policy.

You will then be able to click the checkbox indicating that you have read our policy.


The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is dedicated to providing a safe and harassment-free environment for all of its members and will take any and all necessary steps to address and prevent harassment at events associated with SCBWI. Harassment under this policy may include verbal comments, written comments, displayed images, or behaviors such as intimidation, stalking, body policing, unwelcome photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, unwelcome sexual attention or advances, and bullying or coercion. 

The SCBWI Member Anti-Harassment Policy applies to all situations of harassment or intimidation at any SCBWI Event. An “SCBWI Event” is any event, meeting or activity that is authorized by an SCBWI Regional Manager to be sponsored by, or affiliated with, SCBWI. SCBWI events may include, if properly authorized by an SCBWI Regional Manager, the Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles, the Annual Winter Conference in New York, regional conferences, meetings and meet-ups. This SCBWI Member Anti-Harassment Policy also applies to “SCBWI On-Line Interactions,” which include Zooms, Webinars, online meetings, communications and content posted on, or directed towards, SCBWI’s Social Media accounts or sent through any of the communication tools available on SCBWI’s website, SCBWI’s Social Media accounts under this policy include the official SCBWI accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and LinkedIn.


Code of Conduct

All participants in SCBWI Events and SCBWI On-Line Interactions, including faculty, volunteers, staff, and attendees, are required to comply with the following anti-harassment code of conduct. The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy prohibits harassment, including but not limited to the following behaviors:

  • Intimidation, stalking, or following;
  • Sustained disruption of talks or other events;
  • Unwelcome sexual attention or advances;
  • Abusive verbal comments;
  • Quid pro quo– sexual harassment that occurs when one in an authority position requests sex or a sexual relationship in exchange for professional consideration or favors;.
  • Harmful or prejudicial verbal comments, written comments, or visual images related to gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, religion, socio-economic status, disability, age, appearance, body size, or other personal characteristics;
  • Inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images
  • Unwelcome or uninvited attention or contact
  • Physical assault (including unwelcome touching or groping);
  • Real or implied threat of physical harm;
  • Real or implied threat of professional or financial damage or harm;
  • Body policing, unwelcome photography or recording;
  • Doxing
  • Harassment does not include respectful disagreement or reasonable and respectful critique made in good faith. SCBWI continues to welcome and appreciate presentation of appropriate controversial ideas, free speech, and creative artistic expression. SCBWI encourages members to hold one another accountable to the Code of Conduct as stated in this part of the Policy and to take the perspectives of others seriously when a disagreement arises.

We expect all participants at SCBWI activities, meetings, and networking events to abide by this Anti-Harassment Policy in all venues, including sanctioned events, ancillary events, unofficial events, and social gatherings.


Reporting Procedures

Any person who believes there has been a violation of the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy can report the offense in one or all of the following ways:

  • Certain SCBWI Events, including the Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles and the Annual Winter Conference in New York, will designate one or more Safety Team Members who will be available during the conference to provide a safe space for members to report an incident. The Safety Team Member will report directly to the conference director or regional advisor in charge.
  • A complainant may submit a complaint under this policy to the Director of Community Marketing and Engagement, the Director of Illustration and Artist Programs and/or your Regional Manager.
  • SCBWI has a dedicated email address for reporting any potential incident of harassment under this policy. Anyone who chooses to report an incident can find the Anti-Harassment Report Form on the SCBWI website (About > Anti-Harassment) or use the following link: Reports should include the substance of the complaint, date, and whenever possible, a list of witnesses or a reference to the relevant URLs, if the offense occurred through an SCWBI On-Line Interaction.

SCBWI will investigate all complaints subject to the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy. If the policy applies, SCBWI will investigate the matter and take whatever action is necessary and appropriate to prevent a recurrence and protect the environment at SCWBI Events. If a complaint is made anonymously, please note that SCBWI will not be able to follow up on an anonymous report with the complainant directly, as SCBWI will not have contact information for the anonymous complainant. Moreover, anonymous complaints may hinder SCBWI’s ability to investigate the complaint.  SCBWI will take steps to protect the confidentiality of the complaint, to the extent possible.  However, complete confidentiality may not be possible in all circumstances.  SCBWI will make every attempt to respond to a named complainant in a timely fashion.

If appropriate, SCBWI may report the incident to local authorities.



The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy prohibits retaliation against a member of the SCBWI community for reporting harassment, intimidation or discrimination, or for participating in an investigation relating to any complaint made under this policy. The sanctions for retaliation are the same sanctions available to address any other violation of the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy.



SCBWI takes all allegations of harassment seriously. Complaints will be investigated by SCWBI if they fall within the scope of SCWBI’s Anti-Harassment Policy. Depending on the results of the investigation, SCWBI will determine whether a sanction is appropriate.

Sanctions for faculty, speakers, volunteers, staff or board members may include any of the following:

  • warning the party involved that the particular behavior is inappropriate and must be ceased;
  • immediate removal from a particular event;
  • denial of access to SCBWI spaces and venues on a temporary or permanent basis;
  • withholding of a contracted honorarium;
  • prohibition from future speaking engagements;
  • prohibition from future faculty appointments;
  • expulsion from SCBWI; and/or
  • removal from the Board of Advisors or Board of Directors, when appropriate.

Sanctions for attendees, members, and guests can include any of the following:

  • warning the party involved that specified behavior is inappropriate and must be ceased;
  • immediate removal from a particular event, without refund;
  • denial of access to SCBWI spaces and venues on a permanent or temporary basis;
  • termination of SCBWI membership, without refund; and/or
  • prohibition of future SCBWI membership.

If the conduct at issue involves one of SCBWI’s employees, SCBWI will utilize whatever corrective action is appropriate based on the result of the investigation and subject to SCBWI employment policies and practices.



SCBWI will make every reasonable effort to conduct all investigations into allegations of harassment, intimidation, or discrimination in a manner that will protect the confidentiality of all parties and witnesses. Notwithstanding the above, confidentiality is not absolute, and those with a legitimate business reason to know and be informed of the allegations will be so informed. Parties to the complaint should treat the matter under investigation with discretion and respect the reputation of all parties involved.


If you wish to file a complaint or an anonymous complaint, CLICK HERE to access the Anti-harassment Report Form.

If you have questions regarding this policy, you may send an email to Please include the words "Anti-Harassment Policy" in the subject line. 


I have read and accepted the SCBWI Anti-Harassment policy.