2016 Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award Winner

Austin SCBWI 2016 Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award finalists with mentor Liz Garton Scanlon

Austin SCBWI 2016 Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award finalists with mentor Liz Garton Scanlon. Photo: Sam Bond

Eleven writers were nominated for the Austin SCBWI 2016 Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award, and this year's mentor, Liz Garton Scanlon, has chosen the winner: Christine Alderman. Congratulations!

Christine wins a year of mentoring with Liz Garton Scanlon, the author of the Caldecott Honor book All the World and the middle-grade novel The Great Good Summer.

Liz said of the nominees, "What a dilemma — to be handed ten truly admirable manuscripts, all full of energy and unique possibilities, and asked to choose between them. There wasn't one I wasn't interested in, not one I didn't want to more fully explore, and what that says about the caliber of work at this year's conference is pretty amazing.

"Christine Alderman's work was unique in having been nominated by more than one person — and there appears to be a sort of exploratory bravery to what she's doing that's really exciting. I'm looking forward to getting to know her and her work a little bit better this year, and to try to echo the insights and generosity Cynthia Leitich Smith has offered to so many of us."

The other nominees, chosen by the critiquing faculty at the Austin SCBWI 2016 Writers & Illustrators Working Conference, are: Salima Alikhan, Jeff Anderson, Donna Janell Bowman, Gogi Hale, Heather Helene, Kris Kuykendell, Eileen Manes, Amy Reynolds, Karen Santhanam and Aimee Thomas.

Austin SCBWI's annual Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award is named after one of the founders of the chapter, known for her generosity and guidance to other writers in our chapter and community. Learn more about Cynthia Leitich Smith on her website and popular Cynsations blog.

Liz Garton Scanlon is the award-winning author of seven picture books and her most recent middle-grade novel. Learn more about Liz on her website.