Book L(a)unch

What’s the difference between a Book Launch and a Book Lunch?

Once upon a time, in the year of 2013, I got an email from the warm and friendly Steve Bicknell of Maverick Books. His email said I was invited to a book lunch. Do I get to eat books for lunch, I wondered. I’m not that kind of monster. I do read books, I eat lunch and I could do both together. But eating books? That was a bit dry for even me, the vegetarian. Granted they were made of plant produce. But was the ink vegan? I digress.

You guessed correct! At a book lunch, you not only launch the books, you also get lunch. A great lunch – at the Palm Court Brasserie in Covent Garden. With champagne and dessert and fantastically literary company. Oh, I forgot to mention, you get a copy of the books. Now that’s what I call a book lunch.

I checked the email a few times – was it spam? Was I wrongly invited? Then another email popped into my inbox. From Julie Fulton who is part of my picture book critique group and said you will get an invite from Steve. Ah that explains it. And then another email from Alice Hemming. Another SCBWI member who I had met in a workshop.

On the 27th of September 2013, two British Isles SCBWI members were launching their books with Maverick Books. Right they are mavericks! Celebrating book launches with wonderful lunches and inviting a guest of honour like Julia Eccleshare and a nobody like me to sit next to each other. (Yes! My claim to fame – I sat next to Julia all through the lunch and heard her talk about books, reading, schools and more).

With blessings from Natascha Biebow, our wonderful RA, I accepted to represent SCBWI at the lunch. Someone had to. Wink, wink. 

What a way to send your book into the bookstores. With reviewers, TV producers and other book people like Viv Bird from BookTrust. What a way to say thank you to the people who put the books together – from editor Kim to everyone in the Maverick office. 

Speech! We asked Julie and she said

SCBWI had been an influence on her writing and getting published. Alice seconded that. And I was proud to be a SCBWI representative at that event. 

It wasn’t my book lunch! But I was proud to be there. That’s what SCBWI does to you. You’re part of a community of supporters. You are being supported. 

Chitra has published over 20 books in Singapore, UK, USA and India. She loves writing picture books, folktales and is also working on fiction for 7+ with a lead character brightly named Aurora. Chitra is a member of the Words & Pictures' editorial team, managing The Slush Pile Challenge for writers.


  1. What a lovely report, Chitra. It was brilliant having you at our l(a)unch - you are a star, definitely not a nobody! Alice and I had a great time. I can't speak for Alice, but I know I felt a bit small too, sat next to people like Viv Bird and Julia Eccleshare and all the others who were there to help us celebrate. Maverick might be mavericks, but they are a really supportive and innovative company to be a part of - as is Scooby, and that's what made it even more special, having one of my critique partners there to celebrate with me. Of all of the things I have done since dipping my toe in the idea of writing for children, joining Scooby has to be the best. Right - enough of the schmaltz, back to my usual Saturday morning grump about all the work that needs to be done on the allotment, in the garden, round the house.......

  2. Book lunches sound like the next big thing to me. Great that you all had such a wonderful time, and well done on the launch bit too.

  3. Congratulations Julie and Alice! And thank you Chitra for a lovely report - you are the perfect person to represent SCBWi at such an event - I wish you many more l[a]unches, I especially wish you your own.
    Yes, I love the idea of a book l[a]unch, aren't Maverick wonderful people!

  4. Hear hear! May we wish everyone in SCBWI more book launches with lunches


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