Thursday, 28 April 2016

Network News Wales: Cardiff Festival

by Zoe Coghlan 

The Cardiff Festival of Childrens Literature is in its third year, and this year the new SCBWI Wales network was there.

Social Event

First off was a Saturday social in Cardiff with special guest, Sibéal Pounder, author of the Witch Wars series.  We spent a relaxed couple of hours over lunch, talking about writing, publishing, and how to handle a workshop of sixty small children!  Thanks Sibéal for being such a lovely encouragement to us.

Event Report: Writing Non-fiction For Children Masterclass by Janey Robinson

Janey Robinson has written an excellent write up of the recent SCBWI Author Masterclass for Writing Non-Fiction for Children. 

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Opening Lines with Davinia Andrew-Lynch of ANDLYN


What grabs the reader's attention? 

What immediately draws you in and makes you want to read on? 

We are excited to welcome Davinia Andrew-Lynch from ANDLYN Literary Agency to Opening Lines this month. Davinia has taken time out of her busy schedule to offer professional feedback on the opening lines submitted by our brave SCBWIs. 

Monday, 25 April 2016

A Dark Horse

On this day in 1878, novelist Anna Sewell died.
She lived long enough to see the initial success of her only published work - but what a story it was.
Never intended to be solely for children, over 50 million copies have been sold world-wide.
No less than nine film or TV adaptations, a stage play and ten sequels involving related horses have been created.
Not bad for a disabled woman who had suffered from ill-health since she was 14.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Kerrine Bryan wins Bronze Wishing Shelf Award

By Charlotte Comley

I'm pleased to share some exciting news with SCBWI members.

Kerrine Bryan's Children's picture Book  "My Mummy is an Engineer",  won a Bronze Wishing Shelf Award for self-published Authors/Books.

Kerrine Bryan and her brother co-authored the picture book and set up a company,  Butterfly Books, to self-publish picture books aimed at raising awareness of careers to children from a young age. The books aim to reduce the problem of the national skills gaps as well as reduce gender bias in various professions.
The link to the awards page can be found here:

Friday, 22 April 2016

Open Sketchbooks - A Spring selection (Part 2)

JMW Turner's sketchbooks, early 19th Century
Rounding off our Spring selection of images, here are some more sketchbook pages from the ranks of SCBWI illustrator members, ranging from fantasy to working drawings, to observed sketches from life.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Network News: North West Pushing Boundaries, Flying Higher

Media City UK 9.00 a.m. 9 April 2016

On a bright and sunny Saturday morning, on 9th April 2016, what better place to be than at Salford University’s building for the Pushing Boundaries, Flying Higher conference. This conference investigates the nature on the young adult and the young adult novel. 

The Magic of Picture Book Creation by Louise Kelly

 Ever wondered what it’s like to take a picture book idea through to completion and see it on the shelf? As someone who’s concentrated on longer projects till now, I’m utterly intrigued. How can you tell a story in so few words? How do you know what would be best left to the pictures? Or if you're the illustrator, how do you make best use of your space and let the words do their job while you bring another part of the story to life? 

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Proofreading Tips - Oxford English Dictionary Editor Interview

This month Proofreading Tips brings you an interesting follow up to New Year New Words with an interview with Fiona McPherson, Senior Editor (New Words) at the Oxford English Dictionary.  

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Alphabet Soup – The Making of Max

Logo and all artwork
by Paul Morton
Nick Cross writes:
I recently collaborated with SCBWI illustrator Paul Morton on a highly-illustrated middle grade book called Max Tastic’s Guide to Internet Stardom. It’s the first time I’ve worked directly with an illustrator on a project, and it’s been a great creative experience for both of us. Because we live 160 miles away from each other, we do most everything via email, and writing this article was no exception. So first, Paul tells his side of the story and then you get to hear mine. Enjoy!

Monday, 18 April 2016

Ask a Picture Book Editor

What makes a great ending?

Last month we talked about beginnings and grand openings. This month we’re focusing on endings. An ideal ending will give your reader a sense of closure and a feeling of satisfaction. It often comes full-circle with the opening. It leaves readers wanting more and maybe gives them something to think about and consider, long after they’ve finished reading your book.

Below we’ve outlined some tips, tricks and things to consider, as well as giving some examples of our favourite book endings. We've deliberately tried not to give away too much of the ending so you can go and check these out for yourselves.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Success Story for Swapna

Twitter: @SwapnaHaddow 
By Charlotte Comley 

I can't wait to read Swapna's new children's book! The title is hilarious and I'm excited by the thought of my copy arriving in the post. So with great delight, I want to say well done and congratulations to Swapna.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Event Report: Getting To Know Booktrust

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to spend the morning at Booktrust. Alongside some other members of SCBWI and a few parenting bloggers, we got to see what really goes on in the world of Booktrust. Here is a write up of the event. 

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Writers' Minds - Melvin Burgess

Writers' Minds
Image 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.


This month’s Writers’ Minds is a big deal for me. Years ago, when I was a high school teacher in London, I chose to study a particular book with my students. We’d sneak off under a tree and read as a class for pleasure. 

Monday, 11 April 2016

In Defense of Fairy Tales

In January 2016, Royal Society Open Science published a paper whose dry title hid a fascinating discovery. Using scientific methods that trace evolution and mutations, researchers discovered that common fairy tales are far, far older than had been realized: older than the Bible.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Sara Grant's new series Chasing Danger!

I first met Sara Grant while doing my MA in Creative Writing for Children, she was one of the tutors at Winchester. She showed me how to polish my work and introduced me to SCBWI. In fact, I was so impressed with her abilities as a teacher, as well as a writer, that I enrolled on her Bookbound courses. Needless to say, I am absolutely delighted that Sara has a new series of books out.

I can’t wait to enjoy her new book, Chasing Danger.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Open Sketchbooks - A Spring selection (Part 1)

Ackerman Watercolour Box. c1830
Spring is here and with the warmer weather it's time to get out sketching! To set our brains buzzing into creative action here's the first of two instalments looking through recent sketchbook pages of SCBWI illustrator members.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Making sense of the social media blizzard: SCBWI Southeast Scotland teach-in By Anita Gallo

Whether we like it or not, social media is now an integral
SCBWI - SE Scotland
part of everyday life – especially for young people. As children’s writers, we ignore this at our peril. And if, like me, your first thought is phew, just as well I use Facebook and Twitter that’s not the whole social media story if you are serious about connecting with your target audience.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The Debut Author Series: Alex English


The Learning Curve - Insights from Debut Authors 

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.

So what is it like? Does life change? Do dreams become reality and with a deal to your name does it all become plain sailing? And what is the process from slushpile to contract to published novel actually like? I asked debut author, Alex English, about her journey to publication. 

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Alphabet Soup – Can Virtual Reality Transform Storytelling?

Rift headset image © Oculus
Alphabet Soup logo by Paul Morton
Nick Cross writes:
Virtual Reality (VR) has arrived. Again. Quite honestly, VR has “arrived” so many times over the last 30 years that it’s easy to be cynical about the technology. But this time, with the launch of the Oculus Rift headset, we’re promised that things will be different. With VR headsets also arriving this year from Sony and HTC, it’s clearly a cool new technology that kids will want to try out. But how might VR affect storytelling?

Monday, 4 April 2016

Writing as a Team: Joanna Nadin on Flying Bikes and Writing With an Olympian

Joanna Nadin has published more than 40 books, including the well-known series Rachel Riley, but writing with an Olympic cyclist was new to her! 

The now Sir Christopher Andrew Hoy has won more Olympic medals than any other cyclist, and more gold than any other British athlete.The first two books of their six-book series, Flying Fergus, come out this spring. 

Words and Pictures caught up with Jo for a brief Q & A in her busy life. What is it like writing a book with a partner?

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Small Big Celebration for Shalbey Bellaman

Charlotte Comley

Shalbey Bellaman dropped us a line to let us know that she is about to self publish her first book, Jack in the Wallows - the release date is this Merry Month of March. Obviously, she's got lots of work to do. Shalbey did most of the work herself with the exception of the cover and editing.

She asked for a big SCBWI hello!

Do you have a celebration story to share? Why not drop us a line?

Friday, 1 April 2016

Featured Illustrator: Lucy Farfort

It's always a privilege to introduce exciting new artists in our Featured Illustrator slot, and this month we welcome Newcastle based Lucy Farfort. A winning finalist of this year's Undiscovered Voices, Lucy's path has explored both traditional and digital areas of children's book illustration. See more of her work in her Featured Illustrator Gallery.