April Middle Grade and Young Adult Opportunities

Welcome to the first MG/YA Opportunities post! Marti Johnson and Lexi Donahue are excited to share MG/YA Opportunities each month, starting with April 2021. All opportunities listed are available to anyone with an internet connection.

Does your local writing organization, SCBWI region, etc. host virtual events that are available to anyone with an internet connection? Would you like them listed here?  Please share the info  in the comments, or use our Contact Form.

Click the links to go directly to each list.

To see what’s available all year, and what’s coming up the rest of this year, visit the MG/YA SUPPORT resource page.


Fee or free? Here’s a key:
– no fee to enter or to participate
($) – fee to enter or to participate
(*See note) – look for *explanation within the blurb 


Spring Fling Writing Contest (free)
Challenge for writers, find a springtime-themed gif and write 150 words. Hosted by Ciara O’Neal and Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez. Deadline April 3rd, 2021 at 11:59pm CST

2021 Kraken Book Prize ($) Deadline April 6 A contest hosted by Regal House Publishing for finely crafted middle grade. The winner receives $750 and a publishing contract! Submission window (1/15-4/6)

ReVISIONweek Tune-Up Day Wednesday, April 7th.

Children’s Novel Writing Workshop ($)
New one-to-one 12-week chapter book, middle grade, or young adult novel overview and first chapter critique workshop taught by author and editor Anastasia Suen. April 7-June 23, 2021.

#RevPit (free) A twitter contest for querying authors to win feedback and edits on full manuscripts. April 10, 2021

#WriteMentor Summer Programme (free)
Mentee Applications are open April 15-17th for UK-based program pairing professionals in children’s literature with pre-agented writers for online summer mentorship.

The Adventure Writers Competition ($) A competition for action packed adventure novels. Receive feedback on your manuscript, be considered for publication by Braveship books, cash prize. Deadline April 30, 2021

Write a Story: From a Blank Page to the Last Page with Artist Holly Dave. April 2nd – April 23rd.

Strong Starts with Nicole Krozner. April 6th – April 27th.

Writing Difference: Strategies for Developing Fictional Characters Across Diverse Backgrounds with Angela Ajayi. April 10th.

Idea Lab: Finding Inspiration for Your Children’s Book Writing with Cristina Oxtra. April 10th.

Scrivener 102 with Nicole Kronzer. April 17th.

Generative Writing Exercises to Get Your Words Flowing with Ruby Brunton. April 17th.

Exploring the Verse Novel with Tasslyn Magnusson. April 24th.

Bring Your Characters to Life on the Page with Mary Carroll Moore. April 24th.

Writing Verse Novels with Rajani LaRocca. April 25th.

A 5 week online workshop with CORDELIA JENSEN that explores the challenges of writing novels in verse. The course includes weekly lectures, discussions, writing exercises, and round table events. April 14 – May 19, 2021

Write Now!
A writing group that runs April 6th through July 2nd. There’s nothing like a regular meeting time and space to keep your writing commitments honest.

The Heart and Humor of Amy Krouse Rosenthal: Using AKR’s Body of Work to Enhance Our Own
An in-depth discussion of selected titles from Amy’s extensive catalog, as well as class-time writing exercises as we invite ourselves to “beckon the lovely” in our own writing and lives. Geared for Picture Book writers, but applicable to all writing genres! April 14 – May 19


Low-cost webinars hosted by SCBWI regional chapters, available everywhere.

Digging Deeper: Fresh Stories for a New World ($) Karen Krossing will explore how to tap into ourselves and our stories through the practice of side-writing, which refers to stepping away from the story on the page to explore the raw heart of it through creative exercises. April 10th.

Building Tension in Your Narrative ($) with Linda Camacho, Literary Agent, Tension is critical for reader engagement and in this session, we’ll discuss several techniques that will keep your readers turning the pages. April 10th.

Science and Nature Writing for Fiction and Nonfiction (Free) Join nonfiction authors Claire Datnow and Heather Montgomery as they discuss how powerful storytelling techniques are the keys to touching our audiences’/readers’ hearts, to ignite their imagination, and to inspire them build a bridge to tomorrow. April 10th.

Hitch Up Your Petticoats: Stacey Lee Reveals How to Write Historical Fiction ($) Learn strategies, tips, and resources for writing gripping historical fiction from award-winning author Stacey Lee April 10th

Spotlighting and Promoting Your Books and Your Brand ($) Julie Gribble and Roxie Munro will help you tame the branding beast. Starting with profile-building basics and explaining platforms, they will expand into taking the fear out of YouTube. April 11th.

Career Scaffolding: Building your Writing Support System with Olivia Hinebaugh ($) Presenter Olivia Hinebaugh discusses how we can set ourselves up for success in our writing careers by building a scaffolding of supportive friends and family, sustainable work practices, commitment to developing our craft, and seeking out the expertise of others, particularly in the business aspects of publishing. April 11th.

Memoir Into Make-Believe: Turning Your Life Into Fiction ($) Led by Tina Tocco, write a short memoir piece from a prompt in this session. Then, transform that piece into fiction for young readers. April 14th.

Lights, Camera, Action: Using Cinematic Techniques to Deliver Character and Story ($) Presented by Cinda Williams Chima, learn how to achieve an effective balance of narrative, dialogue, and action, and inject tension into story using classic film techniques. April 15th.

Butt-in-Chair-a-Thon (Free) 10 minute Brain Dump, then two 40 minute sessions. April 15th.

Bloom! SCBWI Montana’s Virtual Spring Writing Conference ($) April 17th and 18th.

Agent Day ($) Lisa Amstutz (Storm Literary), Paige Terlip (ABLA), Kelly Dyksterhouse (Raven Quill), and Kayla Cichello (Upstart Crow) discuss finding the best agent for your work, critique query letters in live session, and discuss how to stand out in a crowded query inbox. April 17th.

Why Do We Care? Creating Story-Worthy Heroes ($) Jessica Brody reveals the three essential building blocks of all story-worthy heroes and shows writers how to use them to successfully develop characters and plots that will leave readers riveted. April 17th.

Nonfiction Series Webinar: Science Writing Panel ($) Mary Boone, Curtis Manley, and Ellie Peterson join SCBWI WWA’s nonfiction coordinator, Lisa L. Owens, for a conversation about the many dimensions of creating science books for young readers. April 19th.

Revising From Manuscript to Novel with Ashley Hope Pérez ($) Ashley Hope Pérez shares her revision process including how to , strategize dialogue and setting, get inside your characters’ experience, discover new story possibilities, use chapter openings and endings to propel readers through your story. April 20th.

Let the Wild Rumpus Start! ($) An Online Conference hosted by the Iowa Chapter of SCBWI April 23-25.

SCBWI-Michigan Spring 2021 Conference: Your Story, Start to Finish ($) An Online Conference. April 23-25.

Pull Up Your Fainting Couch: Historical Fiction Workshop with Stacey Lee ($) Join Stacey Lee, for an in depth look at the craft of writing historical fiction. April 27th.

Characters: Reading Like a Writer & Developing Characters Readers Love ($) Susie Wilde leads an examination of a recent children’s book inviting participants to discuss this mentor text by “reading like writers.” April 27th


Craft Webinar: Using Your Anger to Write Multi-Layered Realistic Fiction with Ann Braden & Nancy Paulsen ($) The Writing Barn offer a webinar on May 19th from 1 -2:30 pm in which Ann “takes the big topics that make her want to throw up her hands in frustration and turns them into concepts to explore in a story.” Learn how to grow a story with strong characters and plot from a theme!

Master Skills Workshop with Esteemed Editor Patti Gauch and Noted Author Gary D. Schmidt (May 30th to June 5th) Whale Rock Workshop presents a Master Skills Workshop for Middle Grade and Young Adult writers who are looking to dive deep into craft and take their writing to the next level. The class will include lectures, writing prompts, four 1-on-1 sessions, nightly readings, and special guests!

NESCBWI Spring Virtual Conference ($) April 30th – May 2nd


Ditty of the Month Club (DMC) (free)
Practice writing in rhyme and submit your poem. A new challenge each month, plus interviews. Hosted by Michelle H. Barnes on Today’s Little Ditty website.

Four on 400 (free) A monthly contest where 1 kidlit writer is selected to receive feedback on the opening 400 words of their manuscript (MG and YA writers) April 4, 2021.

GETTING YOUR MIDDLE GRADE OR YOUNG ADULT NOVEL UNSTUCK: AN ON DEMAND ONLINE WORKSHOP 2021 ($) An on demand workshop available all year long with Erin Dionne and Chris Tebbetts. Learn lots of tools for getting unstuck! Gain access to workshop videos, worksheets, a 20 minute zoom with Erin or Chris to discuss your WIP, monthly office hours, and access to a community discussion page!

KidLit Distancing Social (free)
A free educational hangout for kidlit writers featuring guest speakers, news, every Tuesday: 8pm Eastern Time, 7pm Central, 6pm Mountain, 5pm Pacific. Replays available here. Presented by Children’s Book Insider.

Monthly Twitter Writing Challenge (free)
Participants agree to aim for 500 words or 1 hour of editing each day for a month. Five hundred words? That’s a whole picture book. Founded by author Kristy Acevedo.

#write5minutes ($)
Write your children’s book this year 5 minutes at a time in a DIY writing workshop for board books to YA taught by author and editor Anastasia Suen.

Writing Blueprints ($)
On-demand webinars and resources. Each Writing Blueprint takes a particular genre or category of book and breaks the process of writing and revising it into tiny steps. Each step then features a video with an expert instructor describing this piece of the writing puzzle and giving instructions about using the fillable PDF form for that step. From Children’s Book Insider.

Does your local writing organization, SCBWI region, etc. host virtual events that are available to anyone with an internet connection? Would you like them listed here?  Please share the info  in the comments, or use our Contact Form.


  1. Thank you for this very valuable information. Would it be possible to include opportunities for overseas writers e.g. UK and Australia. We need something like this.


    1. The goal is that the programs mention are available to all with internet access. If you can overcome the time zone issue.


  2. Lexi and Marti, hats off to you both! What a treasure trove of helpful information you’ve collected for all of us. Thank you!!

    Liked by 2 people

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