Earlier this month The MFA in Creative Writing Program at The New School and the New York Metro Chapter of SCBWI came together to offer the third annual Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Agent Panel. Seasoned agents Linda Camacho of Prospect Agency, Susan Hawk of The Bent Agency and Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger, Inc., along with moderator Adria Quinones spent the evening sharing advice with the Writing for Children and Young Adults community. From tips on how to write a good query letter to tips on how to celebrate diversity in children’s books, the Agents Panel was one of many useful opportunities the recent partnership between the Creative Writing Program and SCBWI provides MFA Students.
“The New School’s partnership with SCBWI brings us information and opportunities from the literary world,” said MFA student Kelsey Caine after the SCBWI Agents Panel. “Attending these events has been my first step in learning about the publishing side of this industry.”
This unique partnership stems from MFA alumni Caron Levis, Writing for Children and Young Adults MFA program coordinator at The New School, and Kristi Olson, SCBWI Metro New York Assistant Regional Advisor. Levis and Olson have created a strong bond between the two entities that spans more than just the annual agents panel. The two have worked together to help connect MFA students with SCBWI, providing these students an inside look into the children's book community.
“It was great returning to The New School as a proud Writing for Children MFA alum and SCBWI Assistant Regional Advisor,” said Olson. “I truly loved every moment of my time as a student in the MFA program and am excited that we've joined forces - kudos to Caron Levis! When I was a student some of my classmates hadn't even heard of SCBWI which is surprising since it's the No. 1 professional organization for children's writers.
“I was a member of SCBWI before and after my time at the New School. SCBWI introduced me to to the details on the publishing industry and how editors and agents work. The New School helped me work on my craft and story telling, so the combination of both forces is a dream team.”
Like Olson, Levis is glad the two forces have combined and is excited to see how this partnership continues to grow in the future.
"Bridget Casey (SCBWI Metro New York Co-Regional Advisor), Pat Weissner (SCBWI Metro New York Co-Regional Advisor), Kristi Olson and the rest of the SCBWI Metro team do so much for the local children's literature community," explained Levis. "It's been an honor to work with them and is always terrific to get a dose of their energy."