Sunday, 30 November 2014

It's Advent, are you ready.... for seasonal micro fiction?

After a month of novelling dangerously - hands up 1667 words a day #NaNoWriMo novelists - are you ready for a daily story-soaked 140 characters?
Yes, Paul and the marvellous illustrators have done it again and we have a completely new set of seasonal images for this year's advent calendar!

Thursday, 27 November 2014

How to Draw Robots

Robots have been filling out Christmas stockings since Santa made his first ride, so as the festive season draws near lets connect the circuits and open the lid on the mechanics of drawing our metal friends. And who better to lay down the nuts and bolts than robot supremo Mike Brownlow. Don't touch that dial!

Skylark Literary Launches with New Competition for Children's Writers

W&P is very pleased to promote this free competition:

To celebrate its launch, Skylark Literary is delighted to announce an exciting free competition for new children’s authors, full of fun and sparkle to brighten these dark winter days.

The company prides itself on seeking and supporting the best new voices in children’s fiction and with this in mind has enlisted the support of top editors and publishers as guest judges.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

An Interview with Anthony McGowan

Continuing our interviews for conference month, Celia Anderson interviewed Anthony McGowan, multi-award winning author of novels and children's stories.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 25th November

I like the book and I like the film adaptation, but which is best?

Harry Hill would have them FIGHT, but here at Words & Pictures we like to take a more measured approach.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Failure is the only option

I was deep in conversation with an artist the other evening, and we were talking about the traps that lie in wait along the footpath of creativity.

Friday, 21 November 2014

ProCATsination, by Jion Sheibani

Click to enlarge

Jion's Illustrator Showcase Gallery is here, She can be reached at
Click here for her personal website.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Network News: North West Thank You Stephanie Williams – A SCBWI Star

We are feeling a little sad out in the networks this week. Our North West Network Organiser, Steph Williams has unfortunately had to step down from the role due to ill health.

Steph is a long serving SCBWI volunteer. She has been working hard to build the North West network for a number of years now, setting up critique groups in Manchester and Chester, as well as launching the popular North West Professional Series. Before that, Steph was the Editor for Words and Pictures.

If you keep up with the discussion on our SCBWI British Isles Facebook Page, you’ll know there’s been much love out there for Steph this week.  Members have been paying homage to Steph’s hard work and commitment and thanking her for the support she has offered in terms of their own writing journeys.

Writing for Reluctant Readers #scbwicon

Janet Foxley

Following the excellent interviews with Mairi Kidd of Barrington Stoke and Barrington Stoke Author, Anthony McGowan, Janet Foxley gives us an overview of SCBWI British Isles Conference 2014’s Craft Intensive on Writing for Reluctant Readers.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Breaking into Educational Publishing

Have you ever thought about diversifying into educational publishing and non-fiction, but don't know where to start? Anita Loughrey reports on tips and suggestions from a panel of top authors and publishers at the recent SCBWI conference. 

On the panel sharing their thoughts about writing fiction and non-fiction for the educational market were Juliet Clare Bell (SCBWI member and author), Rebecca Colby (SCBWI member and author), Steve Rickard (Ransom Publishing), Sophie Thomson (Pearson Bug Club) and Kersti Worsley (OUP). 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 18th November

Diversity is a word that gets bandied around a lot, and I hope we can agree that diversity in children's books is generally a good thing. But moving from that concept to actually bringing more diverse books to the market seems to be a tougher job.

Monday, 17 November 2014

"I'm all about story"

An interview with Melvin Burgess
by K. M. Lockwood
Melvin Burgess (Photo by John Coombes)

Where Fact Meets Fiction

We love to sort, indeed we have to sort to make sense of the world. Being National Non-Fiction November, the sorting I have in mind is that of children's books into fiction and non-fiction. By 'books' I mean any fiction or non-fiction story-carrying media and specifically, for  this post, the media are short stories and theatre.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

How's Your Word Count?

Everyone knows November is National Novel Writing Month. (How are your words?). But did you know that it's also National Non Fiction November?  'the whole month now celebrates all those readers that have a passion for information and facts and attempts to bring non fiction celebration in line with those of fiction.' To join in with the Federation of Children's Book Groups' 'annual celebration of all things factual' we have some posts on a non-fiction theme.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Celebrating the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and the Best Young Critics Competition

By Candy Gourlay

PIERS TORDAY. Photo: Quercus
I am the keeper of the SCBWI British Isles Brag Book. Right now, it's a bit out of date because I've been extremely busy (to be rectified soon!).

I mention this because this was how I became aware that Piers Torday was getting shortlisted for all the major children's book prizes.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Illustration Showcase and Conference Roundup

This year's SCBWI conference in Winchester was tremendously inspiring for book creators of all kinds, and notably so for artists. As this year's Illustration Showcase gallery goes online, here's a roundup of what happened for illustrators.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Network News South West Round-Up, 2013-14: To Bristol – And Beyond!

Lesley Moss

Into Wonderland –
photo by Jo Thomas
Trip to the
Oxford Story Museum

A distant rumble from the Bristol and Bath area last autumn (hmm, it HAS been a long time!) informed us of many members longing to get together. All that was needed was someone brilliant, talented and awfully well organised ...  and on the spot ... step forward Jo Thomas. Professional writer, editor and children’s author Jo had no sooner joined SCBWI than she was persuaded to arrange meet-ups for a mix of published and emerging writers and illustrators, which she has done with aplomb.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

An Interview with Mairi Kidd

Continuing with our interviews for conference month, Celia Anderson interviewed Mairi Kidd, M.D. of Barrington Stoke, an independent publisher that publishes fantastic books for dyslexic and struggling readers.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 11th November

How's NaNoWriMo treating you? You may think that writing a novel in a month is tough, but how about producing a whole comic in 24 hours (without sleep) like Sarah McIntyre did a couple of weeks ago?

Monday, 10 November 2014

Ask a Picture Book Editor

Our blog this month is all about . . .

(Here are steps 6 - 10! Head to last month's post for steps 1 - 5.)

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Be Brave, Go in to the Woods

I lost my courage around the age of 9. The real world stepped up like a policeman to my childish imaginings and said:

'Allo 'allo 'allo. What's going on here then?

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Congratulations to Anne-Marie, an Outstanding SCBWI Volunteer!

It is such a joy to wish many many congratulations to the lovely Anne-Marie Perks, who has won this year's SCBWI British Isles Outstanding Contribution Award!

The Outstanding Contribution Award recognises a special volunteer, somebody who embodies the welcoming and supportive spirit of SCBWI and has made an outstanding contribution to shaping and growing our chapter.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Featured Illustrator: John Shelley

This month's Featured Illustrator is our Friday editor, John Shelley. Having formerly lived in Tokyo for many years, John has developed a uniquely international career, working directly with publishers in Japan and the USA as well as the UK on over 50 books. But how did his journey start? 
Check the Featured Illustrator Gallery to see a broad selection of illustration from John's recent titles. 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Karen Hart, Our New ARA for Members Services!

It's wonderful to welcome Karen Hart to SCBWI volunteering and especially wonderful to tell you she is our newAssistant Regional Adviser with a special responsibility for members services. She'll be taking @SCBWI_BI in hand and looking at other ways to manage our PR and to generally support and increase membership - no mean task!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

An Interview with Cathy Cassidy

Photo Credit: Louise Llewelyn

Hi Cathy, thanks so much for agreeing to talk to Words & Pictures. I very much enjoyed your keynote speech at SCBWI Conference last week and I’m looking forward to hearing more in this interview!

As an emerging writer, I’m particularly interested in learning about the realities of the job in these changing times. You’re an established and respected author with many books under your belt (something I’m sure all of us at SCBWI aspire to be) and I’d love to find out what that really means for you on a day-to-day basis. Unfortunately, we’re not able to meet face to face for this interview, but maybe we could pretend...?

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 4th November

I'm in a post-conference state of over-stimulated tiredness (if such a thing is possible), but have valiantly dragged myself to my Blog Break chair to summarise another week's worth of great blog posts. Please wake me up if I... zzzzzzzz.

Monday, 3 November 2014

An incestuous Chinese King, polishing pearls and three Govian boys: An Interview with Sally Gardner

Karen J. Hart
I was nervous about meeting one of my heroes. Sally Gardner, who gave the first Pulse keynote speech at the conference this weekend. She comes garlanded with prizes, awards and accolades. I've been a huge fan ever since her spellbinding YA novel I, Cor-iander was published, wept uncontrollably over Maggot Moon and have introduced lots of little reader relatives to the cool magical detectives of Wings & Co. I certainly didn't need to be nervous: talking to Sally was like meeting an old friend for a long and laughter-filled chat, with lovely writing insights as a bonus. 

Saturday, 1 November 2014

We'd love to celebrate a new Celebrations Editor - could it be you?

Sharing members' good news by editing W&P's Saturday morning Celebrations is a lovely job - everyone loves you!
If you're a @SCBWI_BI member,  have a sunny disposition, spend more time than is good for you on Facebook and can deliver members' good news with lots of joy, virtual cake and fizz, please do study this card!
Click to enlarge
Very much looking forward to hearing from you !