Monday, 30 November 2015

More Conference Round Up #scbwicon15

Sarah Dukes & Jonny Duddle

With the annual conference buzz still strong, we hear from conference newbie Sarah Dukes, along with debut author, and returnee conference-goer, Olivia Levez. 

Learning from other authors and books isn’t cheating: using mentor texts when writing or illustrating creative non-fiction picture books by Juliet Clare Bell

November sees the stars align for creative nonfiction picture book writers in the UK. It's Tara Lazar's ever inspiring PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Ideas Month) and it's National Nonfiction November, where the Federation of Children's Book Groups celebrate all things nonfiction. And as part of their month-long celebration, here's a post for writers wishing to, or already writing, creative nonfiction picture books.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Small Big Celebrations: Jane Howard and Lorraine Cooke

By Charlotte Comley

In today's Small Big Celebrations we have a 'well done' shout out to Jane Howard. Jane has been given her own column in a Winchester Today.

Lorraine Cooke's got a YA short story published in an anthology called Henshaw (or Henshaw Treats on Amazon) and a short story published in the winter edition of Kishboo ezine. It would be great if SCWBI members would check it out at If you like it you will be given a chance and vote for it.
Lorraine Cooke

Friday, 27 November 2015

Featured Illustrator: Trish Phillips

This month Featured Illustrator celebrates paper engineering virtuoso Trish Phillips. A member of SCBWI for many years, Trish has built a reputation as a skillful creator of pop-up books that explore the boundaries of book design and character. She's also illustrated numerous other books for children in a range of styles. To see a wide selection of her work check the Featured Illustrator Gallery

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Network News: SCBWI-BI-CON 2015

What a hoot and a buzz. The coffee’s here and so are the buns. We’ve a glorious view of Hampshire on a cold and frosty morning.  Well it is winter, isn’t it? It’s supposed to be cold in November.
It’s not cold in here though.  We’re amongst friends. 

By Gill James 

Conference Round Up - #scbwicon15 Meet the Newbies!

Philip Reeve & Sarah McIntyre
Keynotes #scbwicon15

How was it for you?

Meet three intrepid reporters as they give us the lowdown on #scbwicon15.

Thank you Natalie Yates, Katherine Lynas and Anna Mainwaring for sharing your first time with us.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

#scbwicon15 - Friendship and Support.

Susan Brownrigg

The Margaret Carey Scholarship for Fiction winner, Susan Brownrigg, tells us about her conference experience. Susan's is a very personal and brave story and reminds that SCBWI is a unique organisation that offers members opportunity, support and friendship in this very special network.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Conference Blog Break

Logo by Melany Pietersen
OK, I admit it - by midday yesterday, I was beginning to doubt myself. Would anyone remember my Conference Blog Challenge? And even so, would anyone actually enter it?

Then at 12:48, the first post appeared. And they kept on coming! The lesson here being: put your faith in Scoobies and they won't disappoint you :-)

Monday, 23 November 2015

A Visit to Paddington Children's Library

Paddington Children’s Library sits almost across from the Royal Oak tube station in central London, hidden away down a ramp from the street. Inside, on a Friday morning, a few women and children are sitting on the floor reading or choosing books. They reflect the diversity of this very heterogeneous neighbourhood. Behind the desk is Sue, a cheerful volunteer doing some paperwork. Just before 10:30, more mothers, nannies and grannies and small children file in and sit on low chairs; it’s almost Toddler Time (“songs and stories followed by simple crafts”).

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Proofreading Tips - False Friends

False Friends 3

Here’s another batch of homophones, heterographs and easy-to-mix-up-pairs-of-words. 

Having used up all the obvious words that get mixed up in False Friends 1 & False Friends 2, I wonder anyone writing for children is using False Friends 3?

See False Friends One here  and False Friends Two here 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Ten-Minute Blog Break & Conference Blog Challenge

Logo by Melany Pietersen
It's that time of year again, when you're trying to concentrate on the things you should be doing, but you can't help being distracted by an imminent once-a-year event. No, not Christmas, silly - the SCBWI British Isles Conference in Winchester! And to that end, I've got a little challenge for you...

Monday, 16 November 2015

They come in threes

Image via Pratham Books
That vitally important triumvirate of Parents, Teachers and Librarians (which often intersect) are our theme of the moment.
 Especially for creators of work for younger readers, these are the people who put books into children's hands. Yet sometimes a less than friendly term is used for them collectively...

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Two new members of the team!

I'd like to introduce two new members to the Words & Pictures Team. Please give a very warm welcome to our new Slushpile Challenge Editor, Elaine Cline - who has taken over from Chitra. And to our new Events Editor, Vivienne Dacosta - who will be taking over from Lou in January. Lou will continue with her other role of doing a fabulous job of being joint Writing Features Editor with Julie.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Three for the Price of One!

Today we celebrate the power of three as picture book authors Rebecca Colby, Karen Owen and Clare Welsh celebrate their book birthdays. 

Friday, 13 November 2015

A Visit With the Kraken

©Viviane Schwarz, 2015

Viviane Schwarz is a CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal shortlisted writer/illustrator. She also designs games and interactive installations and runs workshops. Recently she set up Kraken Studio with theatre designer and artist Ellan Parry and poet/theatre-maker Sarah Grange. Helen Maier met up with Viviane at their South London studio to learn more about what Kraken do and how they got started.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Network News: Meet Your Network - Winchester 2015

If you are lucky enough to be attending the Winchester conference next weekend, then please come along and say hello to your networks team.
Our 'Meet Your Network' session, on Sunday morning, is a great way to ease yourself into the day. Enjoy a cup of tea with some friendly and familiar faces or play away from home and meet some of your neighbouring network organisers and volunteers. Network events are open to all members whether you live in that network area or not; this is a great opportunity to find out what's happening across the networks and to learn about the events you might want to attend. You can also find out more about volunteering for SCBWI.
The Meet Your Network event takes place from 9am - 9.30am on Sunday morning. Check your conference programme for further details.
The Networks offer SCBWI British Isles members a chance to get involved at a local level. Geared to the needs of members, they offer critique groups, workshops, socials, support, networking opportunities and much more. Visit to find out more.

Masterclass with Beverley Birch - Event Report


We sit in the function room of a central London pub. Downstairs a buzzy crowd is watching the rugby world cup, Wales vs. South Africa, to be precise. Occasional shrieks of excitement carry up the stairs. A whistle blows. There are distant sounds of heckling. Nothing more frustrating to a keen audience than a halt in pace. 

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Writers' Minds - Anthony McGowan

Illustration - 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.


Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 10th November

Logo by Melany Pietersen
I try to live my life in a circumspect fashion, carefully evaluating what I say and do to avoid unnecessary offence.

But sometimes, you have to be cruel to be kind...

Monday, 9 November 2015

Ask a Picture Book Editor

How many pages in a picture book? 

In June one of our blog readers, Anna, asked us how many pages in a board book were best and how this gets decided. It was a really good question! So this month we’re going to cover the physical construction of a board book or picture book and and how this impacts on how long your book will be.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Let us remember

Whether you believe it to be futile or just, war is a dreadful reality. For those of us fortunate enough to have never experienced war first-hand, the awful truth of war depicted in fiction is amplified somehow, taking on the stuff of nightmares, of worlds so horrific they become more chilling than the most hellish of dystopian fantasies.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

A Nomination for the Carnegie Award

By Charlotte Comley

I love being the Celebrations Editor for Words and Pictures; it is so nice sharing in your success, and nothing is more exciting than a nomination for the Carnegie Award. What an absolute delight to share Elizabeth Wein's news!

Thursday, 5 November 2015

The Hook Finalists!

The Hook is a Dragon's Den style pitching event where five SCBWI British Isles Conference delegates each have ten minutes to introduce themselves, pitch their work and receive feedback from a judging panel of five agents. The agents choose the most promising delegate then that delegate chooses their ideal agent from whom to receive up to an hour's one to one.

The London Book Fair ran a similar event in April - it was gripping and I'm convinced this will be too!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The Debut Author Series: Abbie Rushton


The Learning Curve - Insights from Debut Authors 

by Nicky Schmidt 

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. 

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 3rd November

Logo by Melany Pietersen
November has either rustled in like leaves on the wind or thumped in like a post-Halloween hangover (please choose the simile that best suits). It also brings with it the frenzy of NaNoWriMo - my encouragement/condolences go out to those of you attempting this particular writing challenge!

Monday, 2 November 2015

Three Independent Booksellers and How They Buy

November's Words and Pictures focus is on the adults in publishing–those who choose, edit, buy, and sell our books for young readers. 

We asked a sample of independent bookshops to give us a peek at how they buy children's books.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

The child within us

When adults view children as some kind of alien race, as if they themselves were delivered to the world as pre-formed grown-ups, never having touched down in the inescapable years of infancy - I smile wryly.