Warning! Attending SCBWI events may lead to publishing contracts

This weeks Celebrations may inspire pre-published authors to come along to a  SCBWI event soon...


I was extremely excited to find out that fellow retreatee Alex English, arrived home from last month's inspirational SCBWI retreat to some fantastic news. Waiting on the doormat was a contract for her first picture book, The Yak that said Yuck. It will be published by Maverick in the UK in 2014. 

Debut SCBWI author Alex English studied maths at university and worked as an actuary for several years before swapping sums for puns and retraining as a journalist. She has a passion for obscure animals and is thrilled that her yak will soon be coming to life. She lives in south east London with her husband and young son and is currently beavering away on more picture books and young fiction. She’s also one of the regular contributors at Words & Pictures. So hip hip hooray for Alex and The Yak that said Yuck – what a brilliant title, I can’t wait to read it! 

 A SCBWI workshop bagged Ruth an agent and a publishing deal! 

If you’ve joined SCBWI but never attended an event, then Ruth Fitzgerald’s story will encourage you to come along… Ruth has been a SCBWI member for three years but only plucked up the courage to go to an event last year. She was very glad she did go though as it was there that she met agent, Gemma Cooper, from The Bent Agency, and one of our helpful agents in the Ask an Agent column. Gemma loved the sample Ruth read out at the workshop and immediately asked to be sent the rest of the manuscript. Soon after, Gemma became Ruth’s agent and has also become a great advisor and friend. In May, it was announced that Gemma has sold Ruth's middle-grade novel Emily Sparkes and the Friendship Fiasco to Little Brown Young Readers in a four book deal. Woohooo! 

The novel centres on eleven year old, Emily Sparkes who thinks she has an awful lot to put up with having a new baby at home and zombie parents but the very worst thing is that her best friend has moved away. The story follows Emily's increasingly desperate attempts to get a new best friend in time for the school trip. Ruth loves tea, charity shops and chickens. She lives in Suffolk with her family. She is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing with Manchester Metropolitan University. 

 What an amazing story, let’s all say a huge hurrah for Ruth! 

That’s it for this week and don’t forget to send in your good news to celebrations@britishscbwi.org so we can say a big woo-oop woo-oop with you!

Tania Tay is an ex-advertising copywriter and has been published in Sable LitMag. She is writing MG and YA fiction, and is on the editorial team at Words & Pictures.


  1. Congratulations Alex and Ruth! Really good news.

  2. Congratulations Ruth and Alex!! :)

  3. My first book in the UK was a result of attending one of the early Prof Series events that used to run at Sara's place in the docklands. :) I whole-heartedly agree - it is a great place to network and meet people who truly support you.

  4. Yay to the Yak and Emily Sparkes and look forward to seeing the books!

  5. Brilliant news! And inspirational for anyone wondering about joining SCBWI!


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