Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Laney Nielson Wins Austin SCBWI Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award

Laney Nielson
By Samantha Clark of Austin SCBWI
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

Congratulations to Laney Nielson, who won a year's mentorship with the inaugural Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award, at the Austin SCBWI 2014 Writers & Illustrators Working Conference last month.

Laney was one of eight nominees chosen by the conference's critiquing faculty for their high-level writing. She wins a year's mentorship, this year with Cynthia herself.

"Laney's manuscript, 'Shattered,' was chosen as the winner due to its charm, humor, and kid appeal," said Cynthia. "The quality of finalists' writing, obvious potential, and wide variety of their works made for a difficult decision."

Laney Nielson is a writer who lives in Plano, Texas. A former upper elementary school teacher, Laney has taught in both suburban Virginia and inner city Boston. She has her Masters in Education.

Laney is a member of a critique group formed through the North Texas Chapter of SCBWI. She has attended the Highlights Foundation Whole Novel Workshop and many regional events, including the Austin SCBWI conference for the past three years.

Cynsational Notes

At the Illumine Award Banquet
Cynthia Leitich Smith is the New York Times and Publishers Weekly best-selling author the Feral series and the Tantalize series (Candlewick).

Cynthia is also the author of several children's books, including Jingle Dancer, Rain Is Not My Indian Name and Indian Shoes (HarperCollins).

Cynthia was named a Writer of the Year by Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers in recognition of Rain is Not My Indian Name. She has been twice featured at the National Book Festival. 
Recently, she was named the first Spirit of Texas Young Adult author by the Young Adult Round Table of the Texas Library Association and the first young adult author to be honored with the Illumine Award by the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation. 
In 2013, the Austin chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators instituted the Cynthia Leitich Smith Mentor Award in her honor.


  1. What a great opportunity! Congrats to Laney!

  2. Congratulations, Laney! Cynthia was one of my Vermont College advisors - you are in for a treat!


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