Network News: The Central West

by Julienne Durber

Julienne Durber
Juliet Clare Bell
Based in Birmingham, the Central West group was run for many years by Donna Vann and Juliet Clare Bell, but Donna Has recently handed her half of the reins to me, Julienne Durber (the one with the odd coloured face!).

We hold regular crit meetings every five to six weeks in Birmingham's towering Waterstones building, with Clare's group focusing on picture books, mine looking at novels and a satellite group organised by the fab Emma Greenwood into the grittier end of YA.

In the past we've held open critiqueniques to attract new 'critters' and entice them to join SCBWI, and these have been so successful that Clare and I are working on creating a crit-group match making service to create new groups, teach them how to best use their critting time and let them fly free (it's all very Yoda!)

Coming up we have a very special event open to members and non-members. 

Commercial Fiction:
Books that Sell and Sell Well
Saturday 18th May, 11am-2pm 
please bring your own lunch. 

£5 for SCBWI members 
£7.50 for non-members 
167 Newhall Street, Birmingham, B3 1SW
(ten minutes’ walk from the cathedral)

Lil Chase
Lil will speak briefly about what she has learned from working for Mills and Boon and Working Partners Ltd - arguably two of the most commercial creative businesses in the publishing industry – and about her own experience in getting that first book deal.

The session will be very interactive, mainly focused on your concepts. We'll discuss the all-important pitch, honing your story so that agents and publishers will be battling each other to work with you. By looking at your concept in the way that publishers will look at it - how it fits in the marketplace - we will find the best way to make your book sell, and sell well.

Lil led a similar SCBWI workshop in Manchester, earlier this year. There are still places left but the event is fast approaching, so if you are interested please email: centralwestATbritishscbwiDOTorg

If you are interested in joining or setting up a crit group please get in touch. We're more than happy to help get you started, match up authors by geography and/or genre, and give any advice.

Julienne Durber writes YA and MG adventure stories and is represented by Gemma Cooper at The Bent Agency.


  1. The Central West group is so cool that I've attended a couple of events - there are cheap trains from London! Kudos to you guys!

  2. Yes easy to get to from the East Midlands too! I can recommend the critiqueniques, they're good fun and very useful. Need to get along to another one soon.


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