The new year brought more change to the networks with organiser Karen Taylor stepping down from her shared role as London coordinator. Working alongside Tania Tay, Karen has delivered a variety of events and socials in the capital, one of the highlights being this year’s 2Oth birthday party, where members enjoyed charades and games, a poetry competition, and even got to showcase their work on a cupcake. Always friendly, enthusiastic and responsive, Karen has been an absolute pleasure to work with and she’ll be missed by all in the networks team. I’m sure there are many of you who would like to join me in thanking Karen and wishing her the very best of luck in the future. While we’re sad to say goodbye, she assures me that she won’t forget her SCBWI friends and we’ll still see her around at SCBWI events. Hooraah! You can read more about Karen and her role in the networks below.
Can you give us a flavour of what the London Network is like?The London Network is thriving. There’s always a buzz at events, with numbers exceeding expectations. Tania Tay is an excellent Network Organiser and people person. She’s full of inventive ideas and information and her friendly, likeable manner ensures the socials attract old friends and new.
What have you enjoyed most about looking after the Network?As well as enjoying working alongside Tania, I’ve loved being at the heart of such a creative network. I’ve met some lovely people and have learnt a lot along the way.
|Peter Bunzi and Karen waxing lyrical at the Xmas Social Poetry Competition|
Can you tell us about some highlights?Winning the opportunity to pitch my YA Thriller Off The Rails at the 2016 London Book Fair Dragon’s Den was pretty memorable. I wouldn’t have known about the competition if Tania hadn’t tipped me off! I was terrified beforehand and kept it quiet. But ‘someone’ had tipped off Scoobie stalwarts Andrew Leigh Syers and Janey Robinson and they were in the front row to support me. It was a surprise to see them there, but one which I really appreciated!
Karen pitching in the 2016 London Book Fair Dragon’s Den
Enjoying one of the many walks at the SCBWI Retreat at Dunford House in 2015
In addition, there were two stand-out SCBWI socials at The Lukin in Fitzrovia in 2016 – the Summer one to celebrate 20 Years of SCBWI and the Christmas one, when I stepped down. Both were terrific fun and I got to have my book and eat it too at the first! Tania made a spectacular display of book cover cupcakes as part of the anniversary celebrations.
Tania Tay’s scrumptious Book Cover Cup Cakes to celebrate 20 years of SCBWI
What have you gained personally from belonging to a SCBWI network?The network gave me a much-needed creative outlet in a transient time. I met lots of very talented people and learnt loads about the publishing world.
I wrote my first children’s book around 18 years ago, when SCBWI was in its infancy. I wish I had known about the organisation then. It would have given me so much valuable advice and support, at a time when I didn’t have a clue about the publishing world.
What would be your hottest tip for anyone who wants to take on the role of Network Organiser?Enjoy yourself! Thanks again to Karen and welcome to Larisa Villar Hauser who has stepped up to replace Karen as our new London coordinator. More about Larisa soon!