Claire Watts
Claire has been a freelance writer and editor of non-fiction for children for the past twenty-five years, though secretly she was always messing around with fiction too. About six years ago, she decided to concentrate on fiction. Since then, she’s self-published three YA novels and she’s in the process of redrafting a fourth. Meanwhile, one of her other novels is doing the rounds of agents and was longlisted in last year’s Mslexia competition. She’s a member of two face-to-face crit groups and one online one, because she loves talking about writing. Claire moved from London to rural Scotland twenty years ago and yearns for the city when she’s at home and the country when she’s in the city. Her house is full to bursting with all sorts of books but children’s books are her passion.

Art Director

Bridget Strevens Marzo
Bridget loves playing between words and pictures, pencil and paint, colour and computer. After a Cambridge MA in Chinese and Art History, she moved to Paris where among other things she copied at the Louvre and earned a living translating art books.

After she wrote and illustrated her first picture books two decades ago, she worked for US, UK and French publishers on picture books, novelty books and games for children’s magazines.  She also shares her love of books with children, students and gives workshops for adults.

Co-hosting SCBWI international conferences earned Bridget a place on the advisory board as international illustrator advisor. Back in London, she's a contributing editor for the AOI's magazine Varoom and is working on two exciting new book projects.

Illustration Features Editor

John Shelley
John  studied illustration under Tony Ross and debuted in London, before zipping off to Japan and encountering cat walks, concrete jungles, haunted forests, and ocean bottoms, many of which have inspired his children’s book illustrations. To date he’s illustrated over 50 children’s books, for publishers in the UK, Japan and the USA.

Bilingual in Japanese, he's former Board member of SCBWI and Assisitant Regional Advisor in Tokyo, where he lived for 21 years before returning to the UK. Since then he’s been a key member of the British Isles Region Illustrator Committee and helps to represent SCBWI in the Central East Network, while continuing to work on titles for publishers in East and West.

Writing Features Editor

Louisa Glancy
Louisa comes from a fine art and English Language teaching background. She has also worked in a museum, bookshops and run a market stall. She lived in Madrid for eight years, where she taught English and worked for a magazine. These days she lives by the sea in Kent, but often misses Madrid and speaking Spanish. Louisa's day job is writing and editing for English Language publishers. She is the organiser of the Canterbury Coffee and Chat SCBWI group and is currently writing a middle grade book.

Writing Features Editor
Julie Sullivan

Julie is American and has lived most of her life in Europe, mainly in France and Germany. Her four children all went to school in the U.K. and two still live here. She moved to London this year from Paris and is looking forward to working on Words and Pictures. 

Blog Network Editor

Nick Cross
Nick is a man of many hats - he works in publishing (leading the charge towards digital), writes middle-grade fiction & short stories and volunteers as Webmaster for SCBWI British Isles. He's also been blogging about writing and publishing for over three years at

In 2010, Nick was a winner of Undiscovered Voices with his zombie comedy Back from the Dead. Though he now tries to write exclusively about the living, he's resigned to being introduced as "that zombie guy."

Celebrations Editor

Charlotte Comley
Charlotte is owned by a small West Highland Terrier who is used to getting his own way. In between his walks and caring for her adorable two children, she works as a freelance writer, professional storyteller and tutor. She's had eleven educational resources published as well as various pieces of fiction, non fiction and radio work.

Charlotte is currently studying an MA in Creative Writing for Children at Winchester University. She enjoys writing for the five to eight and middle grade age range. But she's excited about writing her first YA novel.

Writing Competitions Editor

Elaine Cline
Elaine is the Writing Competitions Editor and coordinates the quarterly Slush Pile Challenge. She loves to write picture books, middle-grade and teen books. She lives by the sea and has two soft and silly cats.

SCBWI Events Editor

A. M. Dassau
Three years ago, whilst writing some copy for a friend’s website, A. M. Dassu rediscovered her love of writing for an audience. Since then she has become a featured writer for The Huffington Post and written for the Times Education Supplement. Her first piece on The Huffington Post was featured on the front-page, alongside Barack Obama and Lenny Henry. Her previous work experience includes project management, marketing and some editorial work at Reader’s Digest. She became a SCBWI member in 2015 and has since written five picture books and a contemporary teen novel. She loves planning school workshops and as a lover of hats, she spends a lot of her time choosing which hat to wear.

Feature Writer

Jools Abrams
Originally from the North West, now living in Hertfordshire, Jools is an award-winning writer of short stories for children and adults and has read at Word Factory and Birkbeck events. The latter is where she completed an MA in creative writing and children's literature with Michael Rosen as her tutor. She's also a ghost memoir writer for The Story Terrace in London and a writer of novels for young adults, currently mentored by The Golden Egg Academy. She's written screenplays and worked with The Script Factory in London and self-published a book on outdoor pursuits inspired by her women's group - She Who Dares. Jools is a qualified primary teacher with over 20 years experience in all settings, a forest school practitioner, has worked in independent cinema and the arts and mother to two older teens.

      Feature Writer

Lorraine Cooke
Lorraine has been a SCBWI member since 2011. She writes MG and YA fiction and has won a few prizes for short stories. After three years as a Words and Pictures sub-editor, she has enjoyed delving into the writing lives of fellow unpublished writers via Call Yourself A Writer.

Feature Writer

Justin Davies
Like Superman, Justin leads a double life. He flies around the world in his role as cabin crew (although not in a cape and pants combo). But when not dishing out food, drinks and theatrical winks (and eavesdropping on passengers’ conversations), he writes. Justin’s main focus is middle grade comedy, although he’s been known to dabble in adult flash fiction and poetry. Justin lives in Fife and is part of the South-East Scotland SCBWI network. He blogs – sporadically – at

Feature Writer

Tizzie Frankish
After having spent most of her 20’s travelling and studying or travelling to study, Tizzie settled back in her home town of Coventry and into a 15-year career in further education; teaching ESOL, English and assessing learners with dyslexia. By day, she is a mum to two boisterous boys and a part-time university tutor; by night, an agented writer who is plagued by her characters. She has dabbled in poetry, picture books and has short stories published in anthologies, but is currently working on a number of young fiction stories. Her works are often humorous and more often than not include animals; even if she starts out thinking they won’t. Tizzie is an Assistant Writer for Writing West Midlands; Spark Young Writers, the founder of Mighty Writers: Creative Writing Workshops and in 2016 she was selected for the Teachers 204 Writers Development programme. The only time her mind is writing free is when she is exploring her make believe worlds or doing yoga in this one.

Feature Writer

Philippa R. Francis
Philippa, writing as K. M. Lockwood, was once a primary school teacher, became a graduate of the MA in Creative Writing at West Dean College in 2011 and now, as well as being a regular contributor, is the official Words & Pictures Tweeter. Her story The Selkies of Scoresby Nab was short-listed for the Mslexia Children’s Novel Competition and long-listed for the Times Chicken House in 2012/13. She was born in Yorkshire but now lives by the coast in Sussex. Her writing shows her deep fascination with British folklore and the sea. Her interests include reading, keeping a B&B and belly dancing, though not at the same time.

Feature Writer

Liz MacWhirter
Liz MacWhirter spends most of her nights writing fiction, mostly YA. Black Snow Falling, her first novel, is pitched as Wolf Hall meets His Dark Materials and is currently out on submission through Lindsey Fraser of Fraser Ross Associates. The Fairy Pools was published in an anthology by Scholastic in 2008. She joined SCBWI several years ago and joined the Words & Pictures team as a feature writer. Her day job is writing for an advertising agency in Edinburgh, and she has won 25 international and national creative awards over almost as many years. In a good week she squeezes in walks/runs through woods, followed invariably by eating far too much cheese, which could account for her wild imagination.

Feature Writer

Catriona Tippin
Catriona has been a member of SCBWI since 2006 and helps organise venues for SCBWI North East. Details of her writing and illustrating can be found here. She proofreads study guides, house magazines and publicity material for national educational organisations, in addition to working on a variety of proofreads and copyedits for the growing self-published world. Her monthly column Proofreading Tips is intended to give you food for thought, remembering “Any correction of the speech or writing of others will contain at least one grammatical, spelling or typographical error” (McKean’s Law, named after its inventor Erin McKean, editor of the Oxford American Dictionary).

Feature Writer

Kate Walker
Kate is a feature writer for Words & Pictures. She mainly writes MG fantasy as well as dabbling in picture books whenever a character grabs her imagination. Kate lives in Kent with her two children who are addicted to stories just as much as she is.

Illustration Features Writer

Paul Morton
Paul Morton, full time professional freelance illustrator and aspiring Picture Book writer, lives in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. He runs Hot Frog Graphics illustration and design studio - recently celebrating 30 years in the business. Paul works for local and global clients alike and has his artwork on many chocolate bars, cereals and ice cream packaging. For children, Paul has produced the artwork for 40 or so games, plus illustrated many educational books and a series of 52 mini pocket picture books. He currently has 3 Picture Book apps on the Apple Appstore. He lists his hobbies as mountain biking, where he catches up with his muse, wild mushroom picking, cooking and eating. He's also a keen amateur magician and performs  tricks at friends' parties.


Marianna Reed Barber
Marianna is an active member of SCBWI within the critique group in Tunbridge Wells. Having attended conferences, retreats and masterclasses, she is a keen advocate of SCBWI events, with their scope to support writers and illustrators at all stages in their careers. She is studying the MA Writing for Children at the University of Winchester.


Helen Dougdale
Helen is a writer based in Manchester and for the last ten years she has run her own PR and writing agency, Scribble. She has written one children’s story and she’s busy finishing a series of first chapter books, that she’s on the hunt for a friendly agent or publisher to fall in love with. Her exciting new role with the Words & Pictures Events Team is as promo writer. So, I will be interviewing and writing articles about authors, agents and editors about forthcoming SCBWI events. She loves asking questions and could talk about children’s literature all day long, so this new role is just perfect.


Annette Edge @edge_am
Annie started out scribbling short stories for adult readers then morphed into writing YA and MG. She’s even tried her hand at picture books. She’s short, thin-haired and often finds herself up-staged by something or other.

Advisory Team 

Regional Advisor

Natascha Biebow
Natascha has been RA since 1998 and really enjoys supporting authors and illustrators. She's loved watching the region grow from 30 members with informal meetings to a 500 strong membership offering a whole host of events. She feels lucky to work with a fabulous team of volunteers.
Natascha is a full-time mum, author and founder of Blue Elephant Storyshaping, a coaching service empowering writers and illustrators to fine-tune their work pre-submission. She is also the author of Elephants Never Forget and Is This My Nose?, and the editor of numerous award-winning children’s books.

Assistant Regional Advisor

Louise Cliffe-Minns
Lou has moved about a bit, she grew up in the North West, but then moved to Leicester, Cambridge, London, Northampton and Sydney. She now lives between the UK and Australia with her hubby and three kids who force her to enjoy the Great Outdoors. When not grappling with deadly spiders and chasing kangaroos she writes middle grade and YA fiction.

Lou has been an English and drama teacher, briefed MPs for Keynotes, written content for E-learning and has dragged reluctant CEOs around prisons and homeless shelters. She has an MA in creative writing, has been a member of SCBWI BI since 2011 and is a part of the Muddle Graders on line critique group.

Illustration Co-ordinator

Anne-Marie Perks
Anne-Marie is a published children’s book illustrator of several books who has also worked in editorial, advertising, and product illustration as well as storyboarding and character design for agencies.

She loves storytelling of all kinds crossing all genres and mediums and aspired at one time to be on the stage! Growing up, Anne-Marie enlisted her brothers and sister to act, dance and sing with her on sets she created and often in costumes she made. Later in life, she finished a degree in Fine Art and went to work as a graphic designer, then art director for a high quality magazine publisher in California.

After the birth of her third child, she decided to focus on illustrating for children and joined SCBWI in 1991. It was only after she was published and moved across the ocean with her British husband and their two daughters that she decided to get another degree, a BA Hons Illustration degree and then an MA in Children’s Illustration from the North Wales School of Art and Design. She has been serving as SCBWI Regional Illustrator Coordinator in the British Isles since 2001.

Website Designer

Candy Gourlay
Candy Gourlay is a former journalist who designs websites and makes YouTube videos. She joined SCBWI in 2002 to learn how to get published. Her compulsive volunteering for SCBWI won her the Outstanding Contribution Award in 2011.  In 2008, she won a place in the first Undiscovered Voices anthology competition which led to the publication of her debut novel Tall Story in 2010. Tall Story won the Crystal Kite Prize for Europe in 2011 and the National Book Award in Candy's native Philippines in 2012.  It has been nominated for the Carnegie Medal and has been shortlisted for 13 prizes. Her second novel, Shine came out in September 2013.

Assistant Regional Advisor (Finance)

Kathy Evans

Kathy Evans is an all round star volunteer for SCBWI. She created the W&P celebrations editor role,  has recently taken over the British Isles' chapter's finance from outgoing ace ARA Benjamin Scott and is again organising this year's conference badge competition. She is also South East Network Coordinator with Mariam Vossough and is represented by Sophie Hicks at Ed Victor. Her first novel, More of Me, was published in 2016.

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