Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Spring 2020 Weekend on the Water

Date(s) - 04/24/2020 - 04/26/2020
12:00 am

Semiahmoo Resort
9565 Semiahmoo Parkway - Blaine, WA 98230

Registration is closed!

Due to the current COVID-19 situation,

the Weekend on the Water Retreat

will be rescheduled to the fall.

Information about the new dates will be forthcoming.

All current registrations will be refunded in the next 10-14 days.

Reservations at Semiahmoo will automatically be cancelled on 03-20-2020..

All email critiques will still be returned to you with Anu’s critiques by April 24, the original date of the retreat.



Join us at the beautiful Semiahmoo Resort in Blaine, WA, with a no-host bonfire social on Friday, April 24. This kick-off will be followed by keynotes, master classes, Q&A panel, and roundtable critiques on Saturday, April 25, and Sunday, April 26, for writers of both fiction and nonfiction.


Feed Your Mind:

Our faculty will be Penguin Random House editor Anu Ohioma and author Sherri L. Smith, a member of the faculty at the Hamline MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adult program


Without the expense of going to an MFA program, you’ll experience one of Sherri Smith’s MFA lectures. Covering the beginning of the manuscript writing process, she will bring her expertise on building your story through character.


After that first draft is done, the revision process begins. Penguin Random House Editor Anu Ohioma brings her editorial expertise with a talk on re-visioning your manuscript. She will speak to both fiction and non-fiction works.


Bringing back the Four Minutes of Fame from our highly successful Publishing Bootcamp 2018, we will have Ten Minutes of Fame, more than doubling the previous critique time for each writer. This is your opportunity for face-to-face time in a roundtable critique with either Anu or Sherri.


As an added bonus, there is a pre-recorded Query Webinar by author and previous Quirk Books Editor Blair Thornburgh followed by our own co-RA and Story Coach Julie Artz answering query questions and giving feedback to a few queries.


Feed Your Body:

Snacks and coffee are included both days, as well as three delicious meals: a sandwich lunch buffet, a group dinner on Saturday, and a Continental breakfast together on Sunday, each with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.


Feed Your Manuscript:

We’ve included time for you to apply the knowledge you’ve absorbed from Sherri and Anu. Bring your manuscript and put your new-found knowledge to work immediately.


Feed Your Village:

It takes a village to raise a “book child.” Renew friendships and meet new friends to add to your village. Come to the bonfire social on Friday and share your work at the open mic Saturday night. You’ll be among friends and we’ll cheer on each other.



Kick off the weekend with our own private s’mores bonfire social on the sandy shores of the Semiahmoo Resort from 9 – 11 p.m. on Friday.

Retreat programming begins at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday and ends at 12:45 p.m. on Sunday.


Programming includes:

Friday: S’mores Bonfire Social from 9-11 pm


+ Keynote

+ Q&A Panel with Editor Anu Ohioma and Author Sherri L. Smith

+ Sherri’s lecture on “Character from Story”

+ Roundtable for Group 1 attendees

+ Anu’s lecture on “Re-visioning your Draft” for both fiction and non-fiction

+ Pre-recorded Query webinar by previous Editor Blair Thornburgh followed by query feedbacks from co-RA and Story Coach Julie Artz

+ Open mic with 12 slots—come share and support each other


+ Roundtable for Group 2 attendees

+ Roundtable for Group 3 attendees

+ Anu’s Keynote

+ Thank you for being a part of Weekend on the Water 2020!


All of this wonderful programming is available to SCBWI members for $480 and non-members for $525. (Please note that housing is a separate fee. You may book your housing directly with Semiahmoo. Accommodation details are here.)

Extras: An extremely limited number of editorial critiques will also be available by email for an additional fee and for members only. When this option is selected during registration, Penguin Random House editor Anu Ohioma will critique the first five pages of your manuscript for an additional $60 fee. All genres are welcome, although Anu says she’s “not the best for SF or fantasy.” Submissions for critique must be received by February 28, 2020. More information will follow to those who sign up for this option. Please allow up to 7 days for this.

See the green & grey menu in the upper-right for more details.

Questions? See the FAQ page. If that doesn’t do it, email Please allow 7 days for a response.

Cancellation Policy:

During this period of public health concerns, SCBWI had modified its cancellation/refund policy as follows:  If you are sick and cannot attend an event, you will be able to receive a full tuition refund up until the day of the event so that you can stay home, take care of yourself, and prevent the spread of illness.  Contact for modifications to your registration. This policy is in effect until September 1, 2020.   Be well.