Network News: Featuring George Kirk, North-West Network

George Kirk tells us a little about her network and what belonging to a SCBWI network means to her:


Tell me a little about your network.

 I'm a member of the North West Network. It's a very large region and most of our events tend to focus around Manchester because transport links there are good. We have a monthly critique meeting which takes place in the events room at Waterstones on Deansgate. It's a great place to meet, there's a great coffee shop there and of course lots and lots of books! For the past two years there has also been a Professional Series. This has meant that throughout the year we have been able to attend a number of events that put is in contact with industry professionals. We've been visited by authors, illustrators, agents, editors and publishers. It's given us a chance to get 'up close and personal’ to professionals ask direct questions and get direct answers. I can't talk about our network without mentioning our coordinator, Stephanie Williams. She beavers away in the background coordinating and organising all our events. She's always ready for a supportive, encouraging chat whenever anyone needs one. Thanks Steph!

Has being a member of a SCBWI network helped you with your writing? 

Absolutely! When I went to my first crit meeting I was as green as a boy scout on a roller coaster. I would 'tell' more tales than the brothers Grimm, I scattered adverbs as carelessly as confetti. I used more points of view than Anne Robinson in debate club. My language was as clunky and clanky as an old rusty tractor and I used as many similes as a.... well okay, maybe that one still needs some work. There is always something that you need to work on, but I have really seen my work grow and develop and every step feels like it is getting me closer to my publication dream. It's really important to be open to advice though. When I joined it was after I'd had a gap from writing of nearly ten years. I knew I had a lot of ground to make up and the only way I could do that was to put myself on the steepest learning curve I could find. The hard truth is, you won't develop as a writer if you are not ready to listen to criticism and take a lesson away from it.

Which network activities do you value the most? 
I've been a member for almost three years now and it has and what I value most in that time has changed as I have changed as a writer. In the earlier days it was definitely the crit meetings. I got such a buzz just from being there and having the chance to meet other people who felt like I did about children's writing. I also knew I need to learn a lot and this was the place to do it. I still really enjoy and learn from them, but as time changes my writing and new members join I find more and more it's me that is explaining what 'show not tell' means and why we don't need to uses every speech tag in the thesaurus. And that's great, I feel like I am putting back in what I have already taken out and of course I still get thrown a odd curve ball to make me think. Now, I get excited when a Professional Series event arrives. I know that I am going to get industry level advice. Learn something completely new and hopefully give my pitch an airing.

Would you recommend belonging to a SCBWI network to other writers? 
In a heartbeat. Quite simply, if it wasn't for SCBWI I wouldn't be writing. I always wanted to be a writer, and from the age of 14 knew I wanted to write for children. But when I started submitting work and getting rejections there was no support out there. It was so easy just to slip away from my dream and get caught up in the day job. Before I knew it I wasn't writing at all. But that wasn't a state of affairs that was going to last, and in one of life's turning points I started pouring out my ideas again. I started looking about for support once more and this time it was there. The SCBWI offers a whole support network of encouragement, expertise, advice, and friendship, with a network just a short bus ride away for me. I haven't fully realised my dreams yet, but I know I am well on my way down the road to publication and being a SCBWI member is like having fully comprehensive AA insurance just in case I break down and need an oil change or a new fan belt. (Enough with the similes!)

George Kirk is a teller of tales, purveyor of poems and wearer of hats. She told stories before she could write (her mum called them fibs) and wrote them before she could spell. Actually, she still can't spell, but she's not going to let a small thing like that get in her way. She has been a teacher in a primary school for 15 years and has worked with children from 5 right through to 11 it's the prefect place to incubate and hatch the crazy notions that lurk in her head. She started writing towards the hope of publication three years ago. In that time her picture book text 'Once Upon a Princess' was the overall winner of the Brit Writers Unpublished Award and her 9+ cultural fantasy 'Sarah's Sari' was shortlisted for the Commonword Children's Diversity Writing Prize'. She is also a regular contributor to nonsense poetry website 'The funeverse'. George has problems taking herself seriously and is never happier when coming up with a stupendously stupid idea.

If you would like to to be a featured network member or if you are a network coordinator and would leik to nominate someone, please get in touch with me on:



  1. George, you are like a giggling stream of silliness. Great post. Spot on.

  2. Fantastic George!
    Not only are you a great advert for SCBWI but also for the networks and the value of getting together with members in the real world too.


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