Friday, 31 March 2017

Masterclass Report: Learning to ‘Build Worlds’ with Pam Smy

SCBWI's first Illustrator Masterclass of the year, Learning to ‘Build Worlds’ with Pam Smy proved to be an enormously popular event. Shana Nieberg-Suschitzky was there and offers this report.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Special Events Feature: Q&A With Literary Agent, Sarah Davies

Sarah Davies, founder of The Greenhouse Literary Agency, talks to Events Editor, A.M. Dassu about her role as an agent working across North America and what her agency looks for in a submission.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Debut and Day Job – an interview with YA author Sarah Alexander

Cover: Connie Gabbert
Many writers dream of giving up the day job. But recent articles in the Guardian and the Irish Times have highlighted shrinking advances from publishers and very modest royalties. It seems that writing while holding down a day job is the reality for many authors. I talked to YA author and full-time Senior Commissioning Editor Sarah Alexander, whose novel The Art of Not Breathing was published by Usborne in 2016.


Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 28th March

Logo by Melany Pietersen
Nick Cross writes:
Has it really been two weeks since the last Blog Break? I've been completely rushed off my feet and I'm sure many of you have too! So take a few minutes to relax, grab a suitable beverage (snack optional) and enjoy the best of our SCBWI-BI blog posts.

Monday, 27 March 2017


Cover art by Nathan Burton

Welcome to Debut Diaries One Year On, where SCBWI-BI members share their highs (hopefully lots of these) and lows (hopefully fewer of these) of the post-publication year. 

This month, Tizzie Frankish welcomes Olivia Levez, author of The Island, to join her for afternoon tea. After a whirlwind post-debut year, it’s a chance for Olivia to put her feet up, and share her insights over a cuppa and some carefully chosen sweet treats, which reflect the mood of the months following life after debut.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

FROM YOUR EDITOR Celebrity children's books *sigh*

Flanimals by Ricky Gervais, illustrated by Rob Steen
Few things rub the community of children’s writers up the wrong way more than the announcement of yet another celebrity putting their name to a children’s book. Words & Pictures Co-editor, Claire Watts, considers the debate.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Lines of Intent, by Anna Willett

Introducing a new comic strip for Words & Pictures! Anna Willett presents Lines of Intent.

click to enlarge

Thursday, 23 March 2017

London Industry Insiders: Skylark Literary Talk and One-to-One Opportunity - What We Learnt

On Tuesday 7th March, Amber Caraveo and Joanna Moult from Skylark Literary Agency held a marathon three-hour session of one-to-one meetings and gave SCBWI members an opportunity to learn from their immense industry experience and discover how to get their writing noticed. 

Here, Mandy Rabin and Terri Trimble tell us more about the event and the one-to-one experience.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Agent Confidential: Yasmin Standen

Name: Yasmin Standen

Agency: Standen Literary Agency

Genres represented: Children’s fiction, YA and some non-fiction

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Carnegie Story: “Writing is a transgressive act”

Author Mimi Thebo was long-listed for this year's Carnegie Medal. She talks to Helen Liston about the Carnegie, West Country living and the joy of the writing life. 

Monday, 20 March 2017

Ask a Picture Book Editor: Story Magic!!!

Add some fairy (tale) magic dust to your manuscript!

Sometimes, to make a really cracking picture book, you have to turn a story idea on its head and ask 
WHAT IF . . .? 

Sunday, 19 March 2017

My First London Book Fair:

The London Book Fair (LBF) – what's it really like for an unpublished author or illustrator?  Following on from our article, How to get the most out of London Book Fair as Writer or IllustratorHelen Liston shares her experience and what she learned at her very first LBF...

Friday, 17 March 2017

A book without which... 'Writing Picture Books'

Continuing our series on transformative books on the shelves of illustrators, Paul Morton gives an appraisal of Ann Whitford Paul's Writing Picture Books, published by Writer's Digest Books in 2009

Thursday, 16 March 2017

SCBWI Writers' Retreat: Tell Me More!

Dunford House
The hugely popular SCBWI Writers' Retreat returns to Dunford House this May. Here, Organiser Mel Rogerson, talks to Events Editor A. M. Dassu about the retreat and what attendees can look forward to.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Proofreading Tips: Contronyms

Header courtesy of
Also known as auto-antonyms, these are potentially confusing words with meanings that seem to be their own opposites. I’ve also seen these described as Janus words, after the two faced Roman god of beginnings and endings.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 14th March

Logo by Melany Pietersen
Nick Cross writes:
Happy Mother Tongue Day! That's if you're in Estonia, of course. If you're somewhere else, I'm afraid it's just plain old March 14th.

Still, never mind, because I have lots of great blog posts for you. (but none in Estonian. Sorry)

Monday, 13 March 2017

No Spoilers!

“Man Reading” by orionpozo is licensed under CC BY 2.0
By K. M. Lockwood @lockwoodwriter

Five years ago today, I had my first review published on Vivienne Dacosta's blog Serendipity Reviews. Reading and writing about so many books has taught me a lot. I'd like to share some reflections on my experience and suggest a few ideas to use in your own work.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

World Book Day at 20

World Book Day is 20 years old this year. Words & Pictures Co-editor Claire Watts takes a look at the event’s origins and aims.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Featured Illustrator: Pam Smy

This month's Featured Illustrator is Pam Smy. Senior Lecturer of the Illustration Course for the Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin University, Pam is an amazingly evocative illustrator in her own right, and as a writer is about to release her first novel. Tomorrow (11th March) she's running the SCBWI Masterclass workshop Building Words for Your Character at The House of Illustration near King's Cross in London. 

For more of her work, check her Featured Illustrator Gallery.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

SCBWI Writer Masterclasses: Tell Me More!

SCBWI have some interesting and exciting Writer's Masterclasses planned in 2017 to help you develop your writing. Here, Co-ordinator Alison Smith, talks to Events Editor A. M. Dassu about SCBWI Masterclasses and what we can look forward to this year.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Call Yourself a Writer?

Image by Dan Cooke
Are you ready to stand up and Call Yourself a Writer? Lorraine Cooke pokes her nose into the writing lives of SCBWI’s unpublished authors, to learn what made them set out on the journey to being a writer and what keeps them motivated.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Network News: London, Welcome to Larisa Villar Hauser

Last time in Network News we said goodbye to our joint London network organiser Karen Hart. This week we welcome Larisa Villar Hauser to the Networks team! Working alongside Tania Tay, Larisa has some exciting plans for the London network and we are delighted to have her on board. Larisa tells Gill James about herself and her SCBWI journey below.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Writing Across Boundaries

The apartheid era ended only in 1991
Five years ago, Natalie Yates was working with some GCSE students on poetry from other cultures. Amongst the poems the students studied in depth, was 'Nothing’s Changed', by Tatamkhulu Afrika, which describes the poet’s thoughts and feelings on returning to District 6, Cape Town, post-apartheid, only to find that nothing had in fact changed.  

One stanza in the middle of the poem states: ‘No sign says it is: but we know where we belong.’

From this inspiration, Natalie set out to write a YA novel set in South Africa. 

Whose Culture Is It Anyway?

by Patrice Lawrence

Seriously – what, actually, is it?

For me, it’s like having a name. A name is a legal requirement, but how and what we’re named depends on so many things. Perhaps it’s influenced by our family or faith or community traditions, our ethnicity, our national heritage, our perception of class. It can reflect popular culture or current fashion.  A couple of weeks ago, we were smiling at a storm called Doris because it’s an ‘old English lady’s name’.  Like Hilda, Gladys and Mavis, it hails from a different generation. Names change – maybe through marriage, civil partnership, anglicising, pseudonyms and um… witness-protection schemes.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Results - Slush Pile Challenge - January 2017

Sallyanne Sweeney, literary agent at Mulcahy Associates set this challenge.

'Best Beginnings'! 

First impressions are all important and I'd love to see the first page (500 words maximum) and paragraph pitch of a chapter book, middle-grade or YA novel. I want to be hooked by your voice and immediately drawn into the story from the opening lines. Open to any great stories and always drawn to humour, heart, voice and a great concept. Your manuscript must be complete

Friday, 3 March 2017

School Visits for Illustrators

© John Shelley @Godfox
What happens when an illustrator undertakes a school visit for the first time? What do you present? How do you work with a class? All these questions and more were finally answered when I  finally crossed that threshold - here's what happened. By John Shelley

Thursday, 2 March 2017

How To Become An Author: Candy Gourlay Opens SCBWI Wales 2017 Programme of Events

Given that the journey from Cardiff to Swansea began with a heavy mist hugging the M4, the glorious sunshine in Swansea was unexpected. Also unexpected was the sparkling, sweeping view of Swansea Bay from the Central Library where Candy Gourlay opened SCBWI Wales' 2017 programme of events with her talk around the theme 'How to Become an Author'. Stephen Burgess was in attendance and reports back.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Justin's Debut-Dance Ball: Corrinne Averiss

Illustration by Louisa Glancy @LouisaGlancy
Welcome to Justin’s Debut-Dance Ball, a virtual party to celebrate SCBWI-BI members’ debut publications. This month Justin welcomes Picture Book author, Corrinne Averiss to his ball, and invites her to take a turn on the dance floor, whilst he asks the questions only a newly-published writer can answer!