Saturday, 13 February 2016

Mazel Tov Meira Drazin!

Honey and Me by Meira Drazin is the winner of the 2016 Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award, presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries. The Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award is given each year to an unpublished fiction manuscript for readers aged 8 to 13 that appeals to readers of all backgrounds while depicting authentic aspects of Jewish life.

Honey and Me chronicles a year in the friendship of Honey Wine and Milla Bloom, two Modern Orthodox sixth graders. The girls are very different in personality and family life but balance each other in their friendship. The year is fraught with change, family crises, and personal growth, including Honey’s becoming a bat mitzvah in a women’s minyan, the death of a beloved teacher, and Milla’s complicated relationship with her mother.

While there were several outstanding entries in this year’s competition, the judges were taken by the energy of the characters, the natural way Judaism was woven into the story, and the contemporary flavor to the manuscript. Said one of the judges, “ This is a modern American story set within an observant Jewish milieu.” Another commented that “ the variations in lifestyle between families of Orthodox Jews living in a modern and positive world are rarely depicted in such a non-judgmental way.”

Ms Drazin was inspired by Sydney Taylor, the author of the beloved All-of-A-Kind Family series, which, she feels, shows the importance of the smaller dramas in everyday life. Honey and Me also melds the everyday events in the lives of Honey and Milla with their Jewish identities. Says Drazin, “It’s a huge honor and validation for any writer to be acknowledged for his or her work, not to mention tremendously exciting. But, as they say in the Talmud, ‘kai v’chomer’ -- how much more so to be awarded the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award, an honor literally named for the very inspiration for my project!”Ms. Drazin is a transplant  from Toronto and New York to London, England, where she lives with her husband and four children. A graduate of Barnard College with an MA in English and Comparative Literature, she has been a senior editor for New York Family and is currently a freelance magazine writer. She has been invited to accept her award at the 51st Annual Association of Jewish Libraries Conference in Charleston, SC in June 2016

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Plot and structure are the way to your reader’s heart By Sheila M. Averbuch

Mastering plot and structure can take a lifetime, so there's no time like the present to get to grips with these story elements. SCBWI Southeast Scotland gave writers the chance to do just that in Edinburgh Central Library on 6 February. 

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Writers' Minds - Elizabeth Wein

Writers' Minds image: Whizzy Barr

Ever wondered what makes a writer tick? What cogs of creativity whirr to bring stories to life? We take a peek into the minds behind the craft and probe for creative rituals, routines and inspiration hunting.


Award winning author and longstanding super-SCBWI, Elizabeth Wein joins me this month for Writers’ Minds. Her latest novel, Black Dove, White Raven is shortlisted for the 2016 Scottish Children's Book Award - the winner will be announced at an awards event in Glasgow on 2 March 2016. The full shortlist announcement can be found here

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Alphabet Soup Interview with Jo Cotterill and Cathy Brett

Alphabet Soup logo by Paul Morton
Nick Cross writes:
I’m joined by a very special double act today – Jo Cotterill and Cathy Brett.

Jo and Cathy are both published children’s authors in their own right, but like Marvel’s Avengers they’ve come together to form a writer/illustrator super team!

Monday, 8 February 2016

Contest and Open Agents Roundup for February 2016

Is your children's book manuscript ready to send off? Are you sure? Then here you go: a list of competitions and agents who are open to submissions RIGHT NOW.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

A tribute to Gill Hutchison

Gill was a member of SCBWI Central North for ten years and for seven of those years, she shared the co-ordination duties. For all of those years she was my friend. 

Friday, 5 February 2016

Featured Illustrator - Lorna Murphy

Our Featured Illustrator this month is Lorna Murphy. After studying children's illustration as a mature student, Lorna graduated with an MA from Anglia Ruskin University and now devotes her time working from her studio in Suffolk on projects for all age groups. See more of her work in the Featured Illustrator Gallery.