The Margaret Carey Scholarship Winners and Honorary Mentions 2014

Margaret Carey was a talented writer and illustrator and an  Undiscovered Voices winner in 2008. For many years, she organised events for both authors and illustrators in SCBWI British Isles with verve and passion. Her volunteering and amazingly generous spirit was recognized in 2010 when she received the inaugural SCBWI British Isles Outstanding Contribution Award. 

This Conference Scholarship was set up in memory of Margaret’s life as a children’s writer and illustrator and her large contribution to SCBWI British Isles.

Words & Pictures is delighted to celebrate with this years two winners Kim Hutson and Ali Oxtoby and four honorary mentions Emma George, Allison Friebertshauser Yasmin Finch and Dave Gray. Here are some of their reactions to the news…

Kim Hutson


My entry for the Margaret Carey scholarship was sent on a bit of a whim and in quite a rush. I didn’t think I stood a chance of winning but I thought I might as well enter. I was actually at quite a low point in the writing process – that point where you are convinced that it has all been a waste of time and everything you write is rubbish (I’m sure everyone knows that point well) so I flung in my entry and went away for the weekend. I was absolutely blown away when I was informed that I had won!

My book, The Times and Life of Mr M, is a story about a boy called Tom and his adventures with the enigmatic Mr M – a Victorian time travelling inventor. There’s pickpocketing, old rivalries, an asylum and even a dinosaur but the story is really about loyalty, family and trust.
Winning the scholarship has given me just the boost I needed and has given me confidence in my work. And, most importantly, it means that I can go to the SCBWI conference, which I could never have afforded otherwise. I can’t wait!
(Kim has just set up an author Facebook page.)

Ali Oxtoby

When I submitted my script for the Margaret Carey Award, I let go of the outcome. It's something I try and do, as it helps keep me sane. So the email telling me I was a winner was a wonderful surprise. I still can't quite believe it. As a writer we get so many nos and nearlies, it's hard to believe it sometimes, when we actually get a yes!

I chose There's A Bird On My Head to submit because it's my current favourite. It started off as a poem I wrote and performed. A bird lands on Molly's head. She doesn't like birds. Her father tells her to stay still while he goes into the house. Molly imagines all the things he might be fetching to help get the big scary bird safely off her head, while the bird inside her head grows bigger and bigger. She's not impressed when she sees what he actually comes back with.

Winning this award has done wonders for my confidence. I will be walking tall at the Conference, even though I am only 5ft 3 and a half! I went last year. It's intense, exciting and unmissable. And most importantly of all – extremely helpful. On a practical note, I can attend happy in the knowledge that I did not have to go into debt to be there. Many many thanks to everyone involved.

Emma George

The Dark Sky was written for my MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. It is set in the Potteries in 1934, a time when many people joined the British Union of Fascists – the Blackshirts. My main character, Violet, is one such person. When she falls in love with Jack, a beautiful Blackshirt boy, she is drawn deep into his web of fascism, manipulation and control.

I entered The Dark Sky for the scholarship at the last minute, without any thought of winning. I was thrilled to receive an honorary mention. Since finishing my MA, I have submitted the novel to several literary agents – so far, without success. I’d been feeling somewhat discouraged, so this is a real boost to my confidence. Thank-you!

 Allison Friebertshauser

Ghosts Underfoot is a teen novel about a group of friends involved in a fatal car crash and the trouble that one stubborn soul stirs up when he refuses to pass on. The reaper who drops into human form to close the case file ends up tangled in mortals and mayhem.

After years as an unpublished writer, it can become a struggle without any outside encouragement. It is an incredible affirmation for all that I have poured into a story that is ever evolving and especially heartening that this latest draft is hitting the mark. The best part by far has been celebrating with my critique group and writer friends, who are the most supportive and loving creative people I've met across three counties. I will also enjoy insisting that people call me the Honourable One. I'll let you know how that goes.

Yasmin Finch

Being awarded an honorable mention in the Margaret Carey Scholarship for Mr Mustachio was fabulous news. ‘Mr Mustachio’ is the story of a man, his moustache and the day his carefree roundabout ride ends in disaster.

To be picked out, of what I’m sure were a pile of strong entries, is such a boost. Writing for children is relatively new for me and makes a refreshing change from writing the PhD that I have just completed. This has encouraged me to keep going, keep writing and keep hoping.

Mr Mustachio swept into our lives one regular dinnertime. My two boys were causing the usual chaos in the kitchen and in the mayhem someone cracked a joke about a moustache. Suddenly the idea was there and I abandoned everyone to scribble down a rough draft. I’m really pleased I did.

Many Congratulations
Kim, Ali, Emma, Allison, Yasmin & Dave!


  1. BIG CONGRATULATIONS to both winners and all the honorary mentions! We had record number of entries this year and they were all of such a high standard that it is a real achievement!

    1. Thanks Sally. And a huge thank you too for the big part you played in the organizational side of things x

  2. Thanks so much Sally and to everyone at SCBWI!! I've just submitted Mr M as my MA portfolio, which concludes the course, so it's been quite a couple of weeks :-) I'm ecstatic! Can't wait to meet everyone at the conference.

  3. They all sound wonderful stories. Must have been so hard to make a decision! Congratulations to you all.

  4. Hooray to the winners! Lovely to see Margaret Carey's smiley face heading this opportunity. I think she'd have loved the feedback you had about giving the competition a go rather than fixating on winning or losing!

  5. Congratulations to all of you worthy winners. It's such a pleasure to see familiar names in the winning and honorary mentions, Ali and Dave, both of whom I was lucky to meet at this year's picture book retreat. Can wait to see the stories in print. :)

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