The State of New Jersey and Rutgers University have lifted all Covid restrictions, including proof of vaccination and masking requirements. However, attendees, including those at higher risk, are welcome to wear masks if they so choose. Those who test positive at the time of the conference are asked not to attend and are encouraged to quarantine for five days following the first positive test or onset of symptoms.

About the Conference

We welcome adults 18 and older (published or unpublished) with work in progress, people actively pursuing careers as authors and illustrators of books for young readers. You can be a developing or previously-established professional, but the conference is of greatest benefit to those not already represented by an agent.

The conference will be held at the Cook Student Center in New Brunswick, NJ.

Yes, the conference site is fully accessible.

Click here for our Featured Speaker and here for our One-on-One Success Story Speaker!

We are still in the process of inviting our 2024 faculty. Click here to see previous mentor lists.

Click here to see our detailed schedule of the day’s events!

About the Application

Click here for full application instructions.  Please note that this year we are asking all applicants to apply both by regular mail and online.

No, only one application/category per person in a given year.  Please submit what you feel is your strongest work in your strongest category.

Notification will be sent in late August. It will be mailed in the self-addressed stamped envelope you have included with your application. We do not e-mail this information.

Yes, as long as you include a submission history on the application form. This information will assist us in making the best possible mentor/mentee match.

You may, but please mention it in your application and tell us which mentors looked at it last time. As each year brings a different mix of applicants, please be aware that past acceptance of a manuscript is no guarantee that it will be accepted a second time.

You may, but please note that we are unable to reassign mentors. This may result in you being paired with a mentor who has already passed on the material you’ve submitted for the conference.

Regrettably, we cannot accommodate requests for specific mentors. Mentor/mentee matches are solely at the discretion of RUCCL.

No, please do not, as we cannot return and are not responsible for any materials submitted. Color copies are fine.

If you are both an illustrator and author, and have illustrated your own picture book, you should submit your dummy to the illustration category, along with samples of finished art. If you are not an illustrator, and have written a picture book manuscript, then submit the text-only manuscript to the picture book category.

The application deadline for our 2024 conference is July 8, 2024. Mailed applications must be postmarked by this date. The online application component must also be sent by this date.

To maintain the one-on-one ratio, we accept as many applicants as we have mentors. Over the years this has ranged from forty to ninety.

The one-on-one aspect being fundamental to the conference, and with a limited number of spaces, we can accommodate only one applicant per manuscript.

Paying for the Conference

The conference fee for 2024 is $325 and includes a continental breakfast and a buffet lunch.. Please submit your payment with your mailed application; it will be returned if you are not accepted. Please make checks payable to: Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature.

There are no "partial" conference fees. The full conference fee must be paid in order to attend any part of the conference.

Three scholarships, the Paula Danziger Scholarship Award, the Dorothy Markinko Scholarship Award and the Vivian Grey Scholarship Award, are available to promising writers and illustrators who could not otherwise afford to attend the One-on-One Conference. The scholarship application procedure differs slightly from the standard application procedure. To learn more about each individual scholarship, the awards, and how to apply, click here!


If you are unable to attend and notify us up to one month prior to the conference, we will refund the full fee. If we receive notification in the month leading up to the conference, we will refund 50% of the fee. There is no refund for cancellations made forty-eight hours before the Conference.

Travel Planning

Click here for directions to the conference.

Click here for a listing of overnight accommodations.

RUCCL does not contract with any travel agency or airline, nor does it have an official roommate matching/carpool listing service. Though limited in what we can do, we are happy to assist whenever possible. Feel free to contact RUCCL should you need assistance.

Conference Details

A complimentary continental breakfast and buffet lunch will be served.

Due to the size of the group attending the conference, individual meals are not available. Gluten-free and vegetarian options will be available. Please contact RUCCL directly at if there are other dietary risks or concerns that we should be aware of.

No, you may sit with whomever you like.

The attire is “business casual.”

Pen, paper, a copy of your submission, business cards, and an open mind. Illustrators should bring a portfolio, which may include a picture-book dummy.  If you wish, you may also bring along additional works-in-progress, as there are often opportunities to network and share during the conference day.


Bring a copy of your submission. If you are writing in the middle grade or young adult category, keep in mind that your mentor has only read five pages of your manuscript and will want to hear more about the plot and characters. Practice your pitch. Plan productive questions to help guide your meeting. Be sure to allow enough time for questions.

Expect professional advice and constructive criticism about your submission. Do not expect a close line edit of your work. It's also important to keep in mind that editors and agents are not obligated to request seeing more of your work, nor are authors or illustrators obligated to recommend you to his or her editor or agent.

This is your opportunity to discuss any questions you may have about writing, illustrating, and publishing books for young readers with five professionals in the field. We encourage you to contribute to the conversation and to come prepared with questions.

Etiquette with Editors and Agents

Yes, editors and agents attend the RUCCL Conference expecting to meet new writers and illustrators.

The best time to introduce yourself to an editor or agent is during lunch.

Generally, editors and agents prefer to receive a written query. Instead of pitching them your idea, simply introduce yourself and let them know you will be contacting them after the conference per their submission guidelines. They will appreciate the introduction and be grateful not to be put on the spot.

While you may bring your manuscript along, please don't do so in hopes of passing it on to an editor or agent that day. If an editor or agent wishes to see your manuscript, they will direct you to send it to them at their office after the conference.

Yes, you may, but whether they can be looked at during the One-on-One session is totally at the discretion of your mentor.  Often there is time to look at other works-in-progress, but even if there isn't, there are other opportunities to share your work during the conference day.

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