Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

SCBWI and The New School Agent Panel

Date(s) - 11/08/2021
6:00 pm - 7:15 pm

What are agents looking for? What are some current trends in publishing? What are agents looking for in a submission? For the answers to these questions and more please join us for our annual agent panel in collaboration with the New School. We are pleased to have Harold Underdown moderating the event and agents: Jemiscoe Chambers-Black, Steven Chudney and Gwen Beal on the the panel.

Harold Underdown

Harold is an author and independent children’s book editor who works with authors and publishers. Harold enjoys teaching, and in that role wrote The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Children’s Book Publishing, now in its third edition. He founded and runs The Purple Crayon, a respected Web site with information about the children’s publishing world He runs the Kids Book Revisions workshops and tutorials with colleague Eileen Robinson. He also speaks and gives workshops at conferences, including the SCBWI’s national conferences in Los Angeles and New York, the Highlights Foundation Workshops, and smaller conferences all over the country. Previously, he worked at Macmillan, Orchard, and Charlesbridge, and has experience in trade and educational publishing. He has edited a variety of fiction and nonfiction in both picture book and chapter format.

Jemiscoe Chambers-Black

Jemiscoe “Jem” Chambers-Black (she/her) is an associate agent at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. But before joining the publishing industry, she was an assistant director for film and television. Her love for books prevailed, and she went back to school to earn her MFA in English literature and creative writing in fiction. Jem represents a diverse client list of illustrators, picture books (by referral only), MG, YA, and adult authors. Across the board, and regardless of age group or genre, Jem is interested in writing that contains authentic emotional resonance–whether it brings on the giggles or tears or both.

Steven Chudney

Steven Chudney has worked in the book business since he was 13 years old, when he worked part-time at a bookstore in Israel. After college, he initially worked for a variety of publishers in sales and marketing positions. Then he officially entered the world of children’s publishing and worked in marketing and product development capacities. 20 years ago, right after the twin towers came crumbling down in NY City he opened up his eponymous agency, The Chudney Agency, where he concentrates on all age levels of children’s publishing, as well as some adult novels as well.

Gwen Beal

Gwen Beal graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut in 2016 and started in the WME mailroom later that same year. She began assisting a theatre agent shortly thereafter, but ultimately made the switch to the books department- her happy place! Gwen developed a passion for children’s literature and now acquires everything from picture books to young adult fiction and non fiction. An agent trainee, Gwen is actively seeking author/illustrators on the picture book front, adventurous middle grade, anything in verse, and contemporary YA (though a good genre bending twist is always welcome!) Gwen has worked with a variety of authors across both foreign and domestic markets, including Lev Grossman (The Silver Arrow), Adam Borba (The Midnight Brigade), Tom Wheeler (COSMOS), and Echo Brown (Black Girl Unlimited). Some of the authors Gwen represents include Sonja Solter (Little, Brown) and Stuart Hausmann, whose debut picture book will publish with Atheneum (S&S) in 2022. WME is a talent agency representing creatives across mediums including TV, Motion Picture, Music, Books, Digital, Theatre, Commercials, and more, based out of LA with the book group housed primarily in NYC.

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