Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Desert Sunrise Scholarship for Own Voices/Lived Experience Creators

At SCBWI, we recognize that publicly committing to equity and inclusion is crucial to our membership and the readers we serve. Words, stories, and images are powerful: They define who we are for ourselves and for others. Historically, content creation that reaches a wide audience of children and teens has been intertwined with a legacy of privilege, oppression, bias, and racism. We acknowledge that, as part of the children’s publishing industry, we share in that legacy.

You can find our complete Equity and Inclusion Statement here: SCBWI Equity and Inclusion Statement

Our Mission

Support the creation and availability of quality books for every young reader championing equity and inclusion.

Our Goals

– Expand inclusivity in our membership and create a welcoming and safe environment for all members.

– Provide learning opportunities to increase social consciousness.

– Increase inclusive programming, events, and community outreach.

SCBWI-AZ is committed to boost equitable representation in children’s publishing by broadening access to diverse voices.
To achieve this goal we are delighted to offer three different opportunities within our Desert Sunrise Scholarship for Own Voices/Lived Experience Creators:

– Continue to hone your craft by becoming a member of SCBWI-AZ, taking part of our events and attending our annual regional conference.

– As an active member expand your industry knowledge by attending our annual regional conference.

– Receive tailored feedback to support your publishing path with an industry professional’s written critique of your manuscript or portfolio.

We invite those who are eligible to apply and look forward to receiving your submission.

The SCBWI AZ E&I Team and Planning Committee

WHAT – Prizes


Open to non-members only, includes one annual SCBWI membership and one regional AZ conference registration fee. (Does not include lodging, travel/meal expenses.)


Open to SCBWI-AZ members for one regional AZ conference registration fee. (Does not include lodging, travel/meal expenses.)


We will waive the conference requirements for scholarship critique recipients not attending.

One runner-up writing candidate will receive a free critique.

One runner-up illustrator will receive a free portfolio critique.

WHO – Eligibility

Unagented or agented, previously published, or unpublished applicants that self-identify as underrepresented creators in one of the following categories:

Black, Indigenous, or Person of color


Disabled Person (including neuroatypicality, and mental illness)

Member of an underrepresented religious group

You are not an eligible candidate for the Lived Experience / Own Voices Scholarship if you are:

married to, parent of, sibling of someone in the above-mentioned categories

writing about these topics but NOT a self-identified creator under any of these categories

HOW – Guidelines

Only one submission per person. You must be 18 or older to apply.

Submit a PDF or Word file. Please DO NOT include your name or contact information in your attached file.

– Authors include a maximum of 250 words of a finished manuscript, regardless of genre. Name your file with the title and genre of your story Title_genre.doc example:  TheColorsOfSpring_MG.doc.

– Authors must also submit a logline (no longer than 75-words) for their story to go along with their 250 words. This applies to all manuscript submissions (board books, picture books, etc, to novels) For instructions on how to create a logline, please read the article Preparing for Online Pitch Contests: How to Write a Killer Logline”.

Use industry standards when formatting your manuscript.  Additional Manuscript Formatting and Categories Information: Please refer to the following guide provided at SCBWI:

– Illustrators please include a PDF file of 3 art samples or 3 spreads of your book dummy only. To name your file use a descriptive word of the attached art and the word illustration e.g., GirlAndTree_illustration.pdf

– AUTHOR ILLUSTRATORS PLEASE NOTE: You may submit for only one scholarship. Please choose to submit EITHER your manuscript OR your illustrations. Do not apply for both scholarships.

Complete the appropriate form below completely.

Please direct any questions to:

WHEN – Submission windows

Application opens March 1, 2021.

– Submission deadline: April 15, 2021, by midnight AZ time.

Works will be judged anonymously by an expert panel of judges.

Winners will be announced May 15, 2021, notified by email with a certificate (code) for registering online or further instructions to claim their prize.



In order to apply to the Desert Sunrise Scholarship for Own Voices/Lived Experience Creators, you must complete the appropriate form below in full.

NOTE: Please DO NOT include your name or contact information in your attached file

Scholarship Application for Writers

Scholarship Application for Illustrators