Friday, 31 January 2014

Featured Illustrator: Sally Kindberg

February's Featured Illustrator is London based Sally Kindberg. With a long association with comics and journalism, Sally has been a familiar name in the press for many readers. She also focuses her talents on books for children. See the full range of her prolific output in the Featured Illustrator Gallery.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Ask an Agent - with Gemma Cooper and Molly Ker Hawn, from the Bent Agency

Are you looking for a query critique from those in the know? Or do you have a question you've always wanted to ask an agent? This month, agents Gemma Cooper and Molly Ker Hawn from The Bent Agency are offering just that.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 28th January

Oh, the agony of choice!

I had far too many good blog posts to choose from this week, so do excuse me if I missed you out - your time will come, I'm sure.

Monday, 27 January 2014

New Year/ New Words

“The circle of the English language,” observed an editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, “has a well-defined centre but no discernible circumference.” Let’s wander out of that well-defined circle. 

Catriona Tippin aka @ProofReadingTip gives us some food for thought about new words.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Happy Australia Day!

It's the morning after the night before enforced haggis eating, poetry and Scotland's national drink. Burns Night with a great dollop of poetry is a great way to manage the January blues, as is looking forward to all the other exciting events and reasons for celebration this year. Indeed, today is Australia Day - a very good reason to watch Strictly Ballroom, again.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

'The Golden Acorn' hits primary schools across the country!

Catherine Cooper always said she’d write when she retired from teaching. Little did she know that retirement would come early, leading to her bestselling series for children and the chance to be back in the school environment she loves.

Friday, 24 January 2014


Iranian talisman
This week, writer Philippa Francis suggests some ideas for talismans that might help illustrators steer a course through the year and achieve their creative Resolutions.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Network News: Some points to ponder

Gill James
I’m really interested in finding out the impact that belonging to a network has on SCBWI members and I’d really like to feature one or two network members who have benefitted from their membership.
You might like to look at the feature we published on George Kirk from the north-west.
By volunteering to be featured you may help your network grow and you will also boost your own platform.
If you’d like to be a featured member, contact me at Or, if you’d rather just answer one or two of these questions, that would be fine too.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Reading Resolutions

By Celia J Anderson

It’s probably past the time for announcing New Year's resolutions but just for the record, 2014 is going to be my year of reading a whole heap more books aimed at younger readers. 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 21st January

Here I am again, although it may seem like I never went away ;-)

Do excuse my overexposure - I promise to (mostly) shut up about me and get on with the business of highlighting your fine blogs!

Monday, 20 January 2014

Grimm Girls: Picturing the Princess

K.M. Lockwood (Philippa Francis)
An Exhibition at the Otter Gallery in Chichester in association with Chichester University’s English and Creative Writing Department and The Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy.

Social Sheila Video: HootSuite for absolute beginners

HootSuite is a social media management platform that can save you huge amounts of time in monitoring and interacting with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and more. In this post, Sheila Averbuch shows you how to set up and use this application effectively.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

'Be nice to people. Make friends.'

Writing is not fun; especially when that crucial opening line, that springboard into insight and revelation, that door to the imagination, that snowboard down the mountain of possibilities, totally eludes you.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Short Stories, Sweet Success!

Nick Cross
Giant slices of cake all round this week as we celebrate the recent publication of "Princess of Dirt" by our very own Nick Cross in the brand new Stew Magazine!

Nick Cross is an ex-zombie, part-time superhero and all-round techno-ninja. A former winner of the SCBWI Undiscovered Voices, Nick writes almost exclusively for Middle Grade, creating stories that are dark, funny and exciting. Nick, formerly Webmaster for SCBWI British Isles, now fulfils the role of Blog Editor for Words & Pictures magazine, while also blogging weekly at

Friday, 17 January 2014

Keeping Those Promo Plates Spinning

Online portfolios, web galleries, social media, blogs - the internet is packed full of platforms and portals for illustrators to showcase their creative talent. With so much choice available, which sites to choose? Regular contributor and digital artist Paul Morton navigates his way through the cyber jungle.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Network News: North West, one member’s resolutions

A delightful email dropped into my inbox the other day. It was the information form Steph Williams, our local network coordinator about forthcoming network events.
There are some great offerings this year:
• A critique group meeting once a month in Manchester
• A Scrawcrawl in the spring
• A meeting with the professionals in the summer

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Planting Good Foundations

By Bekki Hill

 New Year is often the time when we decide to start a new project or find renewed enthusiasm to work on a project. However our initial surge of enthusiasm can fade quickly. Here are five ways to help ensure that a new start is based on strong foundations which build in motivation and reduce your chances of getting stuck, bogged down, giving up or procrastinating. 

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 14th January

It's been quite a challenge just getting to work this last week, but thankfully the floods around Oxford are now receding. I'm very happy to greet a flood of great SCBWI blog posts instead!

Monday, 13 January 2014

Slush Pile Challenge - January 2014

We are pleased to announce the January 2014 Slush Pile Challenge.

Ask a Publisher - Q&A with Sara O'Connor Editorial Director at Hot Key Books

Publishing expert, Sara O'Connor returns with another set of answers to your questions this month. This time she's focusing on the definition of 'literary, time limits for film options and perhaps Hot Key's favourite 'genre' 'something amazing'!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

The Trouble with Beginnings

Sometimes the secret is to begin. Just picking up a pen or a pencil unlocks the imagination. But beginning a new story can be new-snow exciting or blank-page terrifying.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Congratulations to all the winners of Undiscovered Voices 2014!

What an exciting year 2014 is turning out to be! This week the results we have all been waiting for were finally announced. Please join me with some huge whoops of celebration to congratulate the finalists of UV 2014.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Picture Book Basics - Pace, Drama, Action!

You've sharpened pencils, honed your story and are ready to begin sketching the pages of your dummy. How do you make your picture book stand out from others on the shelf? What ingredients can you add to the mix to lift your illustrations from the mundane to the sublime? In one word - Drama! 

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Network News: Sobriety and Shakespeare in Central North

Liz Miller and Gill Hutchison

Sadly I couldn’t make Central North’s recent Christmas bash due to a family wedding. Fortunately, Gill Hutchison stepped once more into the breach and sent me this report so that I didn’t have to renege entirely on my network reporting duties. (There was a suggestion that I might want to make it sound sober and sensible but why would I do that when the reality was so much more fun?)

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Writing Outside the Story

By Rosemary Bird-Hawkins

In this feature I’m going to explore the idea of writing outside the story. This is not the same as going off on a tangent, or writing something to be edited that will have its place in the book, rather it is a way of discovering more about your characters and the world you are creating, a way to discover back story and motive. 

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 7th January

Welcome back to all you word-wranglers and picture-makers, for a whole new year of blogging. Christmas and New Year is a time for both gazing back and looking forward, so we've got a mix of both on the Blog Break today.

Monday, 6 January 2014

New Beginnings

As a builder’s daughter, to me this suggests all the excitement of construction. I imagine all that planning and creativity going into a new site. But when you build, you also need to clear the ground. You might even have to demolish first. Sometimes this can be a joyous orgy of guilt-free destruction!

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Results - 3rd Slush Pile Challenge October 2013


Apparently today, 5th January, is the day most people abandon their New Year's resolutions. So how are we doing?

I once knew a little boy who even at eleven had the good sense to realise that many resolutions are vain hopes and the only way to make one achievable was to be realistic so his was 'Eat more chocolate'.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Welcome in the New Year with the Margaret Carey Scholarship winners

We get 2014 off to a bang this week, and celebrate with Katrina Charman and Clare Welsh who won the Margaret Carey conference scholarships last year. Katrina is also on the UV longlist and we hear a few words from some of the other UV longlisters who are still biting their nails…

Friday, 3 January 2014

Featured Illustrator: Shana Nieberg-Suschitzky

Debut Illustrator Shana Nieberg-Suschitzky created one of the winning entries to the 2012 SCBWI Undiscovered Voices compilation. She's our first showcased artist of 2014, check her gallery of images on the Featured Illustrator Gallery page.