Welcome in the New Year with the Margaret Carey Scholarship winners

We get 2014 off to a bang this week, and celebrate with Katrina Charman and Clare Welsh who won the Margaret Carey conference scholarships last year. Katrina is also on the UV longlist and we hear a few words from some of the other UV longlisters who are still biting their nails…

Margaret Carey

The Scholarship was set up in the memory of SCBWI volunteer Margaret Carey, a talented writer and illustrator who was a UV 2008 winner, and who in 2010 won the inaugural SCBWI BI Outstanding Contribution Award. The Scholarship helps to fund a place at the SCBWI BI annual conference for a fiction writer and an illustrator or picturebook author.

We were all fizzing with excitement when Katrina, our lovely Words & Pictures joint features editor, told us she'd won the scholarship. Katrina lives in a small village in South East England with her husband, three daughters and a manic depressive hamster.

 She tells us: “I have never been able to make it to a SCBWI writing conference before, so when I saw the call for submissions for the Margaret Carey Scholarship, I thought, why not, I've got nothing to lose. But, to be honest, I never thought I'd have a chance, so I sent off my submission and forgot all about it, until I got the email saying I'd won! I was gobsmacked, and danced around the house for the rest of the week. If it hadn't been for the scholarship, I would never have been able to attend, so I am beyond grateful to the SCBWI BI and all of the conference organisers, for the opportunity. The conference was a blast, from the extremely useful Friday Night Critique, to the closing remarks on Sunday. I came home absolutely exhausted, but bursting with inspiration and motivation, and the main thing that stuck with me, was to never give up on your dreams, and that the world of publishing is rapidly changing, so there are more options than ever out there for writers now.” 

 Less than a month later there was more amazing news for Katrina…

“I found out that I had made it onto the longlist for Undiscovered Voices. Again, I was in complete shock! I had to keep re-reading the email to make sure I hadn't misread it! I am still a bit in shock to be honest to be in such amazing company, so fingers crossed for everyone on the longlist. I wish we could all make it into the anthology!!"

Now let's drink a toast for Clare Welsh whose picture book impressed the judges of the Scholarship. And since attending the conference led to Clare joining the Words & Pictures team, we are extra excited she won! 

Clare would love to say that becoming a writer has been a life-long ambition. Although the words of her infant school teacher, Mrs Marshall, "Never stop writing stories", have permeated her thoughts every now and again, her ambition, in fact, was to become an early years teacher, in which she succeeded in 2008. In February 2013 she became a member of SCBWI.

Clare Welsh
Clare says: “As well as offering support, guidance and allowing me to network with other aspiring authors and illustrators, both locally and on-line, I was eager to attend the 2013 Winchester Conference. But unfortunately working part-time, with two three year olds meant that I simply could not afford to go. Coupled with this was a lot of self doubt. Whilst a kind teacher must have seen it in me 25 years ago, I found myself wondering, did I really have the talent? So I decided to write a picture book story that had been on the backburner of my brain about a thief who is terrible at stealing and wants to be burglar of the year. I entered it to the Margaret Carey Conference Scholarship. And then I forgot all about it”. When she received the email, she says: "I could literally be found screaming to myself every few hours! ...for days!” And the excitement didn’t falter. Encouraged that someone somewhere had seen something in her writing, Clare was determined to make the most of this opportunity, gaining industry contacts and interest in her picture book at the conference... and has also joined Words & Pictures to give something back to SCBWI.

 Good luck to everyone on the UV longlist!

A little bird told me the results are out next week... And here are a few words from some of the excited UV longlisters… 

Catherine Jacob juggles writing with being a mum to two little girls and her work as a now-freelance television correspondent. She says: "I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to be on the UV 2014 longlist. Even now, I have to keep reminding myself that it really has happened (and occasionally I sneak a look at the email telling me the news, just to make sure it's all real!) Whatever happens next, I've had a wonderful few weeks up on cloud nine, and am immensely grateful to the judges at SCBWI for deeming my extract good enough to be on such a prestigious list. Thank you!" 

Rose Deniz is a farm-girl turned expat, and writes from a neighborhood full of roses in Turkey. She holds an MFA in painting and says she carries a fistful of paintbrushes in one hand and a pen in the other. Rose says about being on the UV longlist: “It feels incredible. The news made my day, year, life! Seriously, I am thrilled, and totally honored. After years of plugging away, I feel one step closer to seeing my book published. I love being a part of SCBWI and its incredibly supportive community. I’d like to say a big thank you to the team who run the competition.” 

Farina Ackerman teaches and writes for young people in Oxford, where she prowls the same streets as many of her favourite literary characters. She says: ”I am absolutely stunned and thrilled to have been selected for the Undiscovered Voices longlist. The characters are very close to my heart so I am glad that others have enjoyed a little snippet of them. I shall now try not to chew my nails away completely over Christmas while we wait to hear who has made the shortlist. I wish everyone the best of luck and would like to say a big thank you to the team who run the competition.” 

Olivia Palmer
On the illustrator longlist is Olivia Palmer who says: "I’ve been drawing and painting for most of my life. I was amazed and thrilled to find out I was on the Undiscovered Voices longlist! I so enjoyed creating my entry, and felt very happy to have a new piece for my portfolio, but never expected to get this far! Thank you to SCBWI for organising this competition and all the other fantastic events and services you provide!” 

Please join me in saying a huge congratulations to Katrina and Clare and all those on the UV longlist... fingers crossed everyone and we’ll definitely be cracking open more bubbly next week!

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


  1. Ooh many Congratulations Katrina and Clare, it's wonderful to have such talented people on the W&P team! We are so lucky:)))

  2. ... And many congratulations too Catherine, Rose, Farina, and Olivia, and lots and lots of good luck because that's all you need right now - you are all good enough to be lucky!

  3. Thank you Tania! And also thank you Jan for your kind comments. I am very excited to be working with such lovely, supportive people. Big congratulations to Katrina and the UV long listers, too!

  4. Thank you Tania, and huge congrats to Clare and all of the UV longlisters :)

  5. Well done to Katrina & Clare on winning the scholarship. It was lovely to see you both at the conference! Also, congrats to all the UV longlisters - brilliant achievement!

  6. So much great news to start the new year with! Well done everyone :)

  7. Shana Nieberg-Suschitzky4 January 2014 at 17:22

    Well done to you both Katrina and Clare, having two children myself I know how hard it can be to be able to do something for yourself and how exciting it is to get the opportunity. I got a great vicarious thrill from your touching recount. & Good luck to all of the UV longlisters, well done for getting this far!

  8. Huge congratulations Katrina and Clare. Two children AND a manic depressive hamster... and I thought my life was hectic! Thank you for the good luck messages and the very best of luck to my fellow UV longlisters. I almost wish I hadn't just discovered that the shortlist is announced next week as I suspect sleep has gone to the devil for me for the next few nights. *chews what's left of fingernails... Catherine J

  9. What a bumper round-up. Good luck UV hopefuls!


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