Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Own Voices Contest – Hosted by the OK SCBWI Own Voices Committee

Date(s) - 09/15/2019 - 11/15/2019
12:00 am


 Own Voices Contest

September 15 through November 15, 2019


The new Oklahoma SCBWI Own Voices Committee will host a contest this year to encourage marginalized or under-represented writers and illustrators to share hope through their words and art for children and teens. The winner will receive a free Oklahoma SCBWI spring conference in 2020.


For our purposes, “Own Voices” means that a writer or artist’s work reflects a traditionally under-represented voice in children’s literature in America and that the person is from that same ethnicity, culture, or community.


Note: it is not necessary that every experience a character goes through is also something the writer/illustrator went through, but it is necessary that the writer/illustrator be from the same ethnicity, culture, or marginalized community your protagonist is also from in your work.



Contest Eligibility:

  • The contest is open to Oklahoma SCBWI Members 18 years old or older. To learn more about becoming a member of SCBWI go to


  • The writer or illustrator must be from an ethnic and/or cultural background or be a member of a marginalized community (i.e. LGBTQ or differing abilities).


  • The entry fee is $15 per entry payable through our website with a credit/debit card or via check sent to OK SCBWI at 1205 S. Air Depot #199, Midwest City, OK 73110.


  • Funds raised will go to the Committee to further promote oppertunities for writers and illustrators of marginalized or under-represented ethnicities, cultures, or communities.


  • Manuscripts must be an original work written in English for children or teens, or original art for children or teens.


  • The work submitted may not be under contract at any point during the contest and judging.


  • The writer or illustrator must be unpublished (self-published is not considered published for this contest), and should not yet have representation from an agent.



Contest submissions will be accepted via email only between September 15 and November 15 to

In the email subject line enter “Own Voices Contest – your name: Title of work.”


For those entering a manuscript, attach one PDF or Word document including (Not in the body of the email): Why your work will bring forward an underrepresented voice in less than 250 words. A synopsis of your manuscript in less than 250 words, if you work is longer than a picture book. The first five pages of your manuscript or the entire picture book (If you are both the author and the illustrator, submit a picture book dummy.



For those entering artwork, attach one document including (Not in the body of the email): Why your work will bring forward an underrepresented voice in less than 250 words. Attach five pieces of art for children or teens that depicts an under-represented voice.



The Own Voice Committee members include Abir Sami Wood,  Gwendolyn Hooks, Valerie Lawson, Mariana Llanos, Jerron Scott, and Wiley Barnes. They will each vote on the entries, which will be averaged to get the winner.  If you have any questions, please email Jill Donaldson at