Thursday, 30 April 2015

Elizabeth Wein on the writer’s craft of world-building

UK and US Covers for
Black Dove White Raven

In Edinburgh on 9 May, celebrated author of historical YA Elizabeth Wein is offering writers a hands-on workshop on world-building 

Her latest book, BLACK DOVE, WHITE RAVEN, is set partly in Haile Selassie’s Ethiopia, and we caught up with her to ask how she brings out such rich settings in her own work.

Network News: North west, Cumbria

By Marion Brown 
Marion Brown
Our recently formed SCWBI Cumbria group had an excellent first 'official' meeting on the 28th of March in Castle Street Community Centre in Kendal. Six of us spent a very valuable three hours critiquing and discussing our work with the occasional cup of coffee and very tasty donated biscuits from Deb to keep us going.
Castle Street Community Centre 
Our work ranged from 'just started' pieces to fully completed drafts with a truly diverse range of target age groups and genres. 

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Industry Insiders: Book Quiz Success & Reasons for the Relaunch

Industry Insiders

Event Report by Non Pratt Reasons for the Relaunch by David Richardson.

Wednesday 8th April saw the relaunch of what was the London Professional Series, now rebranded as INDUSTRY INSIDERS heralding a series of four events in 2015 aiming to promote relations and understanding between SCBWI members and people working in the children’s publishing industry. 

To launch the rebrand, co-ordinators Non Pratt and David Richardson held a Kids Books Quiz at the Square Pig and Pen in Holborn. Participants who bought a ticket received a free drink and were guaranteed to spend time on a team with either an agent or an editor from within the business. The event was a sell-out! 

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Blog Break Interview with Candy Gourlay

Now we’ve entered year three of the Blog Break, I’m going to make some gentle changes to the formula. This is one of them – a monthly interview about blogging and blog techniques with one of our terrific SCBWI-BI bloggers.

Monday, 27 April 2015

The Second SCBWI Europolitan Conference: Amsterdam 2015

Amsterdam was the setting of the 2015 Europolitan SCBWI conference
SCBWI Europolitan Conference, 3-6 April 2015
The biennial SCBWI Europolitan conference is the brainchild of Regional Advisors (RAs) Kirsten Carlson (formerly Germany/Austria), Tioka Tokedira (France), and Mina Witteman (the Netherlands). Because of the small membership of each region, the RAs decided to join forces, and the first Europolitan conference was hosted by SCBWI France in Paris in 2013. 

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Welcome, Timothy Bentinck

It gives me enormous pleasure to welcome our very first Sunday Guest, Timothy Bentinck. He's been a familiar presence in our homes for decades. We know all about the cows, and Ruth - and The Flood. But did you know about Colin the Campervan? 

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Around the world with scbwi

Have you ever wondered what SCBWI members are up to across the world? Each month we will be globe-trotting to take a look. This is a perfect chance for us to keep in touch with our SCBWI neighbours. Second stop: Nevada

Friday, 24 April 2015

Open Sketchbooks Part 1

This week we're taking a peek inside the hidden sketchbook pages of SCBWI member illustrators. 

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Masterclass: Books that sell - and sell well, with Lil Chase.

Lil Chase, Senior Commissioning
Editor for Working Partners Ltd

Commercial Fiction SCBWI Masterclass – 16th May 2015 

Q&A with Author and Editor Lil Chase 

Lil Chase is the author of Boys For Beginners, Secrets, Lies & Locker 62 and The Boys’ School Girls series. Book 1 (Tara's Sister Trouble) and 2 (Abby’s Shadow) are out now, with the third (Obi’s Secrets) coming out in June 2015. 

Lil is also a Senior Commissioning Editor for Working Partners Ltd; a book packager that has been creating fiction for children and adults for over 20 years. 

Network News: South East, welcome to Jane Haryott our new south east coordinator

an interview with Gill James 
Jane Haryott

What made you decide to volunteer to be Network Coordinator? 

I am a huge fan of SCBWI. One-to-ones at the SCBWI conferences in Winchester gave me the confidence to keep writing and I first met my agent at a SCBWI Agents' Party. 

What have you yourself gained from belonging to a network? 

I've loved meeting other SCBWI members who understand all the ups and downs of the writing process. I've also found SCBWI critique groups invaluable for advice on my writing.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Our friends from SCBWI Ireland - Insight into the Irish Children's Book Market.

Who Are You? Meet SCBWI Ireland 

By Colleen Jones

Maeve McMahon and award-winning writer Jane Mitchell together established the Irish Chapter of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) in 2007. Our chapter has maintained a small but active membership, recently increasing from 22 to 30 members. We have jointly held several events with Children's Books Ireland, one of the premier organisations supporting children’s literature and literacy. 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 21st April

Did you all spot the competition that Nancy launched on Sunday to design a new logo for the Ten-Minute Blog Break? I'm really looking forward to what you super-talented SCBWI illustrators come up with!

Monday, 20 April 2015

Well, who are you?

Apologies for the earworm which, depending on your age, will remind you of Mod band of the 60s or CSI. Either way, the point remains - it's all about identity.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

A call for submissions!

Words & Pictures is hungry for your input, because YOU, dear reader, are what we're all about. We have something for everyone to get involved with, RIGHT now...

Saturday, 18 April 2015

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die by the woman who wouldn’t give up! – Marnie Riches

In 1991, during my first year at university, I saw The Silence of the Lambs at the cinema. In love with Clarice, Hannibal and that murderous monster, Buffalo Bill, I went on to read the book by Thomas Harris on which the film had been based. Again and again and again. It was amazing. I vowed then, at the age of nineteen, that I would one day write a crime thriller, as close to the perfection of Harris’ novel as I could get it. Then, growing up happened, and I had to shelve my ambition for twenty long years... 

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Writer's Retreat - Interview with Award Winning Author Sally Nicholls


Award winning author Sally Nicholls is leading the SCBWI Writer’s Retreat on 8th May – 11th May 2015. 

In anticipation of this exciting and productive event, Rowena House catches up with Sally… 

Network News: Southeast

And it’s goodbye from me…

Kathy Evans
 Well, not really. I’m still SCBWI Finance Co-ordinator but I have handed over the running of the SCBWI in the South East to Jane Haryott. I’m guilty of being a bit of an over volunteer, I find it hard to say no. This is partly vanity (I can do that!) but I also find volunteering gives you so much back. Being a SCBWI volunteer means: you meet great people: you learn how your organisation works and even get some influence over how it operates;   you get a sense of community and belonging that really help in a career choice that can, sometimes, be a bit lonely. And it’s joyous seeing people succeed and knowing that, by being a part of an organisation like SCBWI, you (kind of) helped that happen. So why, you may well ask, have I given up this role?

The truth is, I wasn’t doing a very good job of it. I’ve just sold my first book, I run a very busy fruit farm, I fence competitively and help out at the fencing club and I had over-volunteered.  I was not giving the South East what it deserves – a driving force!

During my time running the network we welcomed a lot of new people, new face to face groups sprang up in Southampton, Brighton, Portsmouth, Winchester and Chichester – I think we have about 12 active groups now – and room for more.  The South East has the largest membership of SCBWI in the British Isles and it needs more than someone vaguely holding it together.  This is why I’m so thrilled that Jane has taken the reins.  She’s in the process of visiting all our face to face groups, something I hadn’t even contemplated. She’s full of energy and enthusiasm and there’s the possibility that another long standing volunteer, known for her social prowess, might be joining her soon as well.

I look forward to seeing the South East Network go from strength to strength – sometimes you need to know when to hand things over to someone else and I’m pretty sure I’ve got this one right! Thank you so much for stepping up Jane – and thank you  to all our face to face group leaders – you’re all brilliant. I truly believe that ground roots contact is the real strength behind our organisation.
If you want to find out more about a face to face group in the South east, please contact Jane at
Kathy Evans has worked really hard for us as a Network CoCoordinator. I'm sure we'd all like to join in thanking her for her commitment. And of course, she is, as she says above, still  a volunteer for SCBWI. 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Proofreading Tips: Fact Checking


Fact (and feasibility) checking
by Catriona Tippin

Polar bears with penguins? Dinosaurs with prehistoric people? 

Unless a plot explicitly allows, these are a couple of the impossibilities that have cropped up in children’s books. Check your facts…

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 14th April

I've had a couple of bloggers approach me directly this week, asking if I'd consider their posts. Both were cautious, in case this was in some way "against protocol." It isn't, and I can't be everywhere, so if you're a SCBWI-BI member who's posted something you're proud of (especially on a non-SCBWI group blog) let me know!

Monday, 13 April 2015

Fearless Creativity, Ruthless Critique

Tim Bowler In Exeter: Fearless Creativity, Ruthless Critique

By Lesley Moss 

You get the feeling Tim Bowler is on your side. “I haven’t brought any books to sell,” he says, at the start of our Exeter event: “I’m here today for you.”

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Your map is here

As an aspiring author, it's easy to go off sideways. The deadlines created are your own, the daily word count arbitrary, the mountain of publication – ladies and gentlemen – lies far off in some distant land. 

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Anna McKerrow's debut novel

By Charlotte Comley

One of the lovely aspects of this job is announcing debut novels. Today Anna McKerrow has shared her story about gaining publishing success.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Event report: International Publishing Opportunities

For our most recent Illustrator Masterclass event SCBWI welcomed art director Marianne Vilcoq of Bayard Presse and illustrator-author Bridget Marzo to talk about International Publishing Opportunities. Shana Nieberg-Suschitzky was there and offers this report.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Illustration Masterclass Series - Portfolio Intensive on the 18th April 2015

Portfolio Intensive groups underway! Emma Farrarons, Picture Book Designer
from Macmillan Children's Publishing, looking at portfolios.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Our Friends Down Under - Insight into the Australian Children's Book Market.

Three great Aussie writers give us the inside track to the Publishing Market and their writing life, Down Under.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 7th April

Many thanks for your generous reaction to last week's special Ten-Minute Time Machine feature. It's back to the present day this week, as we see what our crack team of SCBWI bloggers have been up to...

Monday, 6 April 2015

Ask a Picture Book Editor

How to Submit Your Picture Book Professionally (and pitch for other kinds of book illustration work)

Part 3 - What to Submit if You're an Illustrator 

If I am an illustrator, what should I send to publishers?

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Who are you writing for?

I've always struggled with the idea that a story is written for a particular somebody. 'Who are you writing the story for?' is a question often asked of us. As the story-teller, are we not taken with character and story first, and once the story's finished, and only because of the way the publishing industry works, have to worry about the category of reader? 

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Friday, 3 April 2015

Featured Illustrator - Duncan Wilson

This month's Featured Illustrator Duncan Wilson has been inspired by comics and graphic art throughout his life. His own work combines hand drawn and digital techniques that explore humorous fantasy for children. See more of his work in the Featured Illustrator Gallery.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Event Report: Picture Books for the Digital Age with Eric Huang

I first heard Eric Huang speak at the SCBWI Winchester conference last October. I was inspired by the creativity of the apps, characters and stories Made in Me were developing for Me Books - but what particularly struck a chord, was Eric’s suggestion that authors and illustrators should start thinking about themselves as creators.

Network News Stop Press


"I’m keen to get the Tunbridge Wells critique group back on its feet. So, how about a meeting on Thursday 30th April from 10am-12pm at Juliet’s, 54 High Street, Tunbridge Wells, TN11XF? Everyone is welcome. There is restricted street parking but also the Torrington Car Park, Vale Avenue, TN1 1DJ (next to Morrisons). I know that a meeting during the day will not suit all of you but if you would be interested in an evening meeting, please let me know and I’ll see if that would be possible in addition. I really look forward to seeing some of you there"
Jane Haryott
SCBWI SE Network Organiser


A little taste of what some of us got up to at Salford University: Pushing Boundaries, Flying Higher

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The Debut Author Series: Lindsay Littleson

Nicky Schmidt 

The Learning Curve - Insights from Debut Authors

For many the road to publication is long and fraught. For others, a publishing deal comes relatively easily. Those who are still trudging the path may find it hard to imagine what it’s like to be a debut author, and authors with a few books to their name may only dimly recall the original experience.